Tuesday, January 27, 2015

DaiShon Neal Says Something About Husker Fans They Won't Admit

I don't follow recruiting, but an early morning meeting found me in the car at the moment Omaha Central's DaiShon Neal reaffirmed his commitment to play football for Nebraska.  And, of course, I was listening to KOZN-1620 AM radio's "Sharp and Benning in the Morning" as I do pretty much every morning (except probably next week during the Worst Week of the Year. But that's another topic - for next week.)

Most Husker fans hit on the following quote from Abe Hoskins, Neal's father:
“Michigan was a powerhouse, they came in and they stormed us. … They made one bad statement and ruined it,” Hoskins said during the “Sharp and Benning Show” in-studio visit. “They said without football DaiShon wouldn’t be able to go to Michigan, like we couldn’t afford to send him there or we couldn’t get him (in) academically.”
Neal interjected: “They basically tried to call me stupid in front of my face.”
Hoskins continued: “Once he said that, we pretty much escorted him out of the house.”
Make fun of Michigan?  Hey, that's always lots of fun for Husker fans.  It's easy to hate on the Weasels in Maize and Blue.

What I found much more interesting is the following quote, which fans are ignoring.
“The reason everything started is because I had a good relationship with the old coaching staff,” he said. “I really committed to Coach Kaczenski. He was a great coach and I loved what he said to me. Then the fan base got rid of the entire coaching staff. So, I mean, you can’t be mad at me just for looking around.”
Neal said the same thing later in the interview, so it's not like it was a misquote.  I highlighted the entire quote to give you context. And I understand why Husker fans would ignore those statements; it's uncomfortable to admit their own role in the end of the previous coaching regime.  Point the thumb?  That was supposed to be for Bo Pelini, not us.  You heard Bo's blasphemy.  How can he say that the fans were against him, when we have sold out Memorial Stadium for 51 years?

It's not all fans, of course.  But a large group of fans, former players, and media played a definite role in creating the toxic environment that resulted in Bo Pelini's dismissal. That's not to say that Bo Pelini didn't have anything to do with it either.  He did.

Just don't deny the reality that many Husker fans turned on Pelini. Pelini wasn't wrong when he said that in that team meeting.  DaiShon Neal saw it firsthand.

It's too late to do anything about that now. But it's something to think about how we respond when Mike Riley loses a big game.  It doesn't mean we can't be critical.  It just means that we have to be a little more fair and make sure our criticism isn't just venomous anger.

We saw where that got us.

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