What started as a funny story has now turned into one full of regret.
Former Notre Dame and now LSU head coach Brian Kelly was featured in an ESPN column that resurfaced this week where he invited a pair of then graduate assistants, Robert Saleh and Matt LaFleur over to his house back in 2004.
The two young coaches thought they were invited as guests to a party, but instead, they were invited as workers. For hours on one wintry night, they were tasked with snow shoveling and valeting cars for guests that were actually invited to the party.
In that ESPN column where this story was revealed, Saleh told LaFleur later that night when they’re in that position as a head coach “we’re never going to treat people the way we got treated.”
On Wednesday, December 1, the resurfaced story was brought back up to coach Saleh for further comment:
“I feel terrible that whole thing was taken out of context. When you’re coming up in this profession, part of that article was to tell a funny story of Matt and me as GAs. There is a right of passage as a GA and that wasn’t an indictment on how Brian treated us. He is a phenomenal man and it was supposed to be a funny story that people took in a negative light and maybe shame on me I should have worded it better.”
Okay, it seems like it was all just a misunderstanding and taken out of context, except according to one man it wasn’t.
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Shots Fired and a Double Down
After Saleh told his side of the story and seemingly clarified things, Rob Demovsky who wrote the original piece caught wind of Saleh’s backpedaling and decided to give his side of the story:
“Saleh didn’t have a problem with it two and a half years ago when the story ran. The anecdote was EXACTLY how he told it.”
He then added an additional nugget saying a mutual friend of Saleh and LaFleur’s even prank called the New York Jets head coach “pretending to be Kelly’s lawyer threatening to sue.”
This Isn’t the First Time and Probably Won’t Be the Last Time
This is the second time that coach Saleh got in a public tiff with a football coach. The first one transpired a few weeks ago between ex-Jets head coach Rex Ryan and himself.
In that particular exchange, Ryan called out Saleh’s coaching ability and his team’s heart. The two were ultimately able to squash their beef and everything worked out.
Kelly was back in the news this week for the questionable handling of his exit from the Fighting Irish and leaving his team high and dry. Apparently, that wasn’t the only time he treated people poorly in his coaching career.
An amicable outcome seems a lot less likely between the three parties of Saleh, Kelly, and the writer of the column Demovsky in this situation.
Only in New York can you have two separate spats in the span of a few weeks between your own head coach and several in the media. Go figure.