I had something else completely different planned for this corner until … Saturday. That’s when the sky started falling in on some curious tweets traced back to University of Redlands football coach Mike Maynard.
Thirty-two years on the sideline.
Two-hundred six wins.
Dozens, if not hundreds, of graduates via football.
Seems he was reacting to some recent protest-related tweet ⎯ violent, perhaps, in nature ⎯ while responding to a friend.
Maynard apparently tweeted a response to an explosive detonation inside a car during a protest in Riverside, “What kind of bomb? I want one of those.”
Maynard was, thus, placed on leave for an “insensitive tweet.”
Gotta keep it fair. He’s since apologized.
His words: “Let me apologize for an unintentional reply I made (in error) to a friend who messaged to tell me to be careful, stay inside and defend my property,” Maynard tweeted before the account was removed.
“Those who know me know that I believe in criminal justice reform and that all men are created in that awesome likeness of God.”
Athletic Director Jeff Martinez, who has been at the university a bit longer than Maynard’s 32 years, is caught right in between. Over the years, he’s been as eloquent with Maynard ⎯ dating back to his pre-A.D. days when he was trainer ⎯ as anyone has on that campus.
Martinez works for the brass, of course, which means ⎯ at most ⎯ he can vouch for his longtime coach. It’s pretty clear the direction he’s received is to place the longtime coach on leave.
Over the years, both men have served Bulldog athletics without a questionable moment.
I, personally, don’t know the brass. I don’t know the campus president, Dr. Ralph Kuncl. I don’t know Dean Donna Eddleman. Nor do I know Christopher Jones, the senior diversity and inclusion officer. I know a few members on the board of trustees, each of whom has a mind of his or her own.
Probably very few of those folks were on board when Maynard took over as coach way back in 1988. It’s when the Brockton Avenue field house was a virtual closet with a few showers and urinals. Maynard’s early success allowed one time president, Dr. James Appleton, to double down, and even triple down, in getting the school to increase its endowment riches.
Those aforementioned folks will be deluged with an awfully high number of commentaries in support of Maynard.
I’ve marked this assault on Maynard ⎯ and it’s truly an assault on him ⎯ by a simple factor: Articles published in USA Today and Bleacher Report have brought this to light.
When did either of those publications show up on Saturday nights during the fall months to cover Bulldog football? All of a sudden, they’re on the doorstep? That type of journalism is questionable. They haven’t played their way into this dilemma. So keep them out.
On the Internet site, “change.org,” there was a chance to show a force of strength on this issue. That site had other such brilliant petitions in which to become involved:
• “Bring back Wienerschnitzel Shaker Fries.”
• “Change Baby Yoda’s name to Reggie.”
• “Ask Blue Bell to bring back “Tin Roof” flavor.” It’s an ice cream.
See what we’re dealing with here?
Reaching out to Maynard, of course, was problematic. He can’t comment. Under orders, no doubt.
“Apologies,” he messaged me. “Wish I could.”
Maynard didn’t assault, threaten or injure anyone. All he’s done is educate a bunch of hard-hitting, education-oriented, honest young people in pursuit of a great life. A comment that was misunderstood has grown into someone’s concocted propaganda.
I could start, alphabetically, with those who’ve been in contact with me on his behalf in recent days. Note this: There wasn’t a single naysayer.
Over 32 years, he’s built up a front line of partnerships with ex-players, ex-coaches, ex-students, a group of folks that’ll form a large buffered circle around him as he walks to any comprehensive hearing.
This could be a very important moment in campus history, folks.
Maynard’s more than a football coach. Losing this guy under these circumstances could result in losing far more than a coach.
His tweet? It’s not even questionable in my mind. It’s like calling a sweep left on third-and-three when an off-tackle right would’ve gotten the first down.
All of Redlands ⎯ both sides of the street ⎯ should stand behind Maynard on this one. While you’re at it, make plans to jam pack Ted Runner Stadium for the Bulldogs’ next home game.