Letter of Prescience
Less than two months after the University of Tennessee hired Lane Kiffin in November 2008 to replace Phil Fulmer as the head coach of the Vols, the Oakland Raiders’ legal counsel, Jeff Birren sent a letter dated January 22, 2009 to UT president Dr. John D. Petersen and legal counsel Catherine S. Mizelk. The letter was released to the media around the time of Kiffin’s deposition in March 2009 as part of his grievance with the National Football League over the salary he claimed that the Raiders still owed him on the three-year contract after being fired in September 2008.
In light of the entire Vol Nation feeling flayed, betrayed, and pretty much ready to kill the traitorous twerp after Tuesday, one of the most shocking days in the history of Tennessee Football, here are some excerpts from that letter of almost one year ago.
“During the interview process Mr. Kiffin professed to know about the history and tradition of the Raiders, espoused it and said that he believed in it. He also said he would carry this forward with a high-powered offense, that he had great respect for the defensive coaches and publicly stated that the Raiders had great players. Yet… Mr. Kiffin was found to be someone who broke NFL rules and made false statements that mislead the media, Raider fans, and the entire team.”
“[A]t the press conference that announced the hiring of Mr. Kiffin, Mr. Kiffin and your athletic director went out of their way to laugh at the Raiders, and referred to the team as “dysfunctional” and as always in a state of crisis. It is our view that any such dysfunction was brought about by Mr. Kiffin during his period of time with the Raiders.”
“Please also be aware that since your employee filed an arbitration claim in which he is seeking payment pursuant to his contract with the Raiders, the Raiders have made a request for all of his employment agreements with the University, not only his employment contract but any and all collateral agreements. It is highly likely that these various agreements will be the source of deposition and/or arbitration proceeding questioning in this matter. It is also quite possible that during the period of time for which Mr. Kiffin is seeking compensation from the Raiders he was also actively supplying information about the team to its opponents.”
The matters of character and commitment, among others, were at the heart of this letter. Living in Raider country, I know that one should be wary of the messenger here. But, if there is a shred of truth in Al Davis’s paranoia — and knowing Al, that’s a difficult bit of reality to come to grips with: Al Davis and Reality — we Vols will just realize that we got smarmed, circle the wagons, lick our wounds, suck it up, and move on to God Only Knows What.
Ball’s in Mike Hamilton’s court. Based on his recent performance, I’ll just assume a pretzel position with fingers crossed, shotgun at the ready, pointed near the temple.
Kippy Brown, recently hired by Kiffin as an assistant, and once assistant to Johnny Majors, will serve as interim head coach until a permanent head coach is hired.
FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE, O BETRAYED ONES