A butterfly flaps its wings and…. a hurricane is created. In 1871, Mrs O’Leary’s cow kicks over a lantern and…. Chicago all but burns to the ground. The largest of catastrophes have their genesis in the most insignificant of events.
In the Spring 2010, a serendipitous man-child named “Marvin” tweets about a party and….
Before you can say “Choo Choo”, thousands upon thousands of semi-normal people go stark-raving gonzo pointing fingers, cussing, screeching, lamenting and bloviating all manner of absurdities. Blue people and red people, young people and old people, people with PhDs, people with the IQ of pea gravel, people in fancy houses, people at Wal-Mart….. united in hysteria by “a tweet”.
That tweet let in a sliver of light revealing the not-very-innocent world of UNC Football – Butch style. Many sure do wish Marvin had never tweeted. “Just Win Butch – we don’t care how you are doing it.” Other folks DID care “how he was doing it”. There in lies the rub.
Folks from one partisan extreme to the other partisan extreme, and plenty of folks in between, will read this column. Every single one of you is absolutely convinced your astute analysis re: The Great Unpleasantness is right on the money. You are certain you know who the bad guys are….. who the innocent victims are…. who shot Liberty Valance….. and who put the bop in the bop shu bop. By golly ain’t nuthin’ that crazy ol’ BobLee is gonna say gonna change yo mind….. NoSireeBobLee!
Your undying Love For….. OR your undying Hatred Of – The University of North Carolina allows you to divine Truth from a series of labyrinthian contradictions involving all sorts of dubious characters, involving events at which you were not present nor have the slightest clue what really happened. BUT you are convinced You Know. Yeeee-freakin-Haa!
Bearing the burden of the above, I shall continue.
Holden Thorp will never accept my calling him The One & Only Hero in all this. Given a “do-over”, he should have fired Butch Davis eight months earlier than he did. BOTBob Winston and his cronies (aka Butch’s Buddies) kept intervening to persuade Thorp “We can ride this out. We can beat this rap.” “Beat this rap” is how then Chairman of UNC’s Board of Trustees wanted to play it. Going against BOT Chairman Winston would have been costly for the young Chancellor. “Going along” until the moment BOTBob stepped down has also proven costly.
The Verdict, viewed in totality, is “just” – commensurate to the various Sins of Omission and Sins of Commissions that have transpired. The litany of penalties, suspensions, firings, scholly losses, endless embarrassments including the ridiculous Deification of Dickie has paralyzed an entire University for two years. The damages much much greater than No Christmas In Shreveport next December. Only pure fools would say otherwise. There are plenty of “those” saying otherwise.
I’ve written dozens of columns on this gosh-awful ooey gooey mess. I have described the precise chronology of events…… I have named names calling out cowards who continue to hide in the weeds…… I have incurred the wrath of some quite self-important individuals and the toothless wrath of countless “big hat – no cattle” yahoos…… I have watched this perp parade and pointed out the nekkidness of the pompous and the arrogant.
On a few occasions I guessed. Even my guesses were bullseyes. DAMN, must be all those detective stories I’m always listening to. Holy Sherlock, Batman! It isn’t all that confusing. Simply take off partisan-tinted lenses and cutback on the Karolina Kool-Aid.
Why have Butch Davis, Bob Winston and Dickie Baddour skated out of this mess so cleanly? The three people most central to the mess from the get-go.
That answer is: Chancellor Holden Thorp felt no good would come from exposing these three men’s crimes of omission and commission to the public light.
To do so would expose them and their families to the threats and abuse that The Thorps continue to endure.
Had I been Holden Thorp I’d a dragged those three spineless weasels into McCorkle Place and nailed their worthless hides to The Davie Poplar. Adding Uncle Julius’ cheating hide to the tree too. Good thing Holden Thorp is Chancellor; not me. Huh?
As Chancellor, he felt he must assume full responsibility for their collective incompetence. In a corporate sense, perhaps he is right. Damn few men would exhibit such courage. For a geeky Chemistry Professor, that Holden Thorp has plenty of “sand in his gizzard”. More than any man I know.
The Verdict is in. Thank goodness, there will be no appeal. The pissin’ & moanin’ and stale jokes will have a life of twenty years minimum. That’s traditional in these parts.
Bubba, you and Larry have the Herculean task of cleaning out UNC’s Augean Stables. No one watched as the mess was being created. Everyone will watch as you clean it up. Your Chancellor is a combat veteran with the scars to prove it. Prove worthy of the trust he has placed in you. Your predecessors were quite unworthy.