So, if you’ve been paying attention to the ridiculous shitstorm that has been brewing surrounding the West Virginia football program regarding the treatment of alumni - specifically the 2007 Fiesta Bowl team reunion that was held during the Oklahoma State game - you would have seen that Matt Kirchner’s article about the situation managed to grab Pat White and Steve Slaton’s attention.
Pat and Steve, along with co-host/producer Matty Staudt, start this week’s episode off addressing the article. While most of what they addressed in the article was fair, there is one thing I feel needs a response from the Musket. As Matt said in the article, we are in complete agreement that former players should be treated with the respect they deserve when they return to the school for events.
According to Pat, the way former athletes have been treated isn’t something specific to the Dana Holgorsen regime, which I feel wasn’t communicated clearly in the original article published by Bob Hertzel - but that’s a whole other beast in itself. Pat recalls a time when West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons was denied access to an event because he wasn’t recognized. I’m not sure how that happens but, as Pat says in the podcast, the cause of these issues is something that needs to be addressed.
Now, on to the one thing I said that I want to address from Matt’s article. Specifically, these two sentences that I added in before I published it.
The Varsity Club was directly responsible for putting the 2007 reunion together for the Oklahoma State game and if Pat White and Steve Slaton feel they weren’t welcomed, that’s an issue that needs to be addressed with Shane Lyons and Dale Wolfley. Not blasted out for every average joe to hear on your podcast.
Somehow, that last sentence there was interpreted completely different than I intended. After Staudt read that sentence on the podcast, he and Pat both pointed out that it was their podcast and they could “talk about whatever the fuck they want”, which we’re not arguing against. The next part is what really cut me. Slaton responds with “I guess we shouldn’t be taking a knee during the anthem either, is that one of his rebuttals too? That’s kinda the same thing, isn’t it? Complain where I don’t have to see it?”
As I said, those words were mine and not Matt’s, and that was not at all what I am implying. The point was that if this issue is as big of a deal as it is being made out to be, it should be taken up with the University first before putting it out and letting a reporter, who already seemingly has an ax to grind, turn it into something it’s not. I don’t have an issue with you talking about it on your podcast, and I definitely don’t have an issue with athletes using what they have available to them to speak up for the social and racial injustices that are going on in the world today.
In response directly to Steve Slaton: No, Steve, that’s not part of my rebuttal. I, and the Smoking Musket as a whole, have stood up in support of former Mountaineers taking a knee or sitting during the National Anthem to the point that we risked losing a significant portion of our audience. So, miss me with that.