The Pride of Pahokee

Lane Kiffin attempted to remove the last of his foot out of his mouth by apologizing to Pahokee High School head coach Blaze Thompson and the town of Pahokee for basically calling them a bunch of backward crooks. I'm sure Kiffin's intentions were never to insult Pahokee, just like his intentions were to never call Urban Meyer a cheater.

I still think this exercise by Kiffin is meant to energize a fanbase that spent more time eating Krispy Kreme and watching women's basketball this season. However, in his attempt, he was slapped around by the two most powerful men in the SEC (Jeremy Foley and Commissioner Mike Slive). He has also insulted a man named "Blaze" and the number one export of Pahokee (two being sugar).

At USC, Kiffin never had to deal with a town like Pahokee. Outside of the south, depressed and rural towns are not filled with five star recruits. Kiffin probably thought Pahokee was no different than Fresno or Bakersfield. But all Pahokee has is football. Towns in North Florida like Mayo and Hawthorne may feel the same way about football, but those cities compete with each other. When they play a Gainesville school, there is some gap between the programs, but not like in Pahokee. When Pahokee travels an hour east, they face West Palm Beach teams from some of the richest zip codes in America. That Pahokee is so talented, even playing games on ESPN, is a credit to the kids there that they haven't let the economic and criminal climate get to them. (How many other high schools had a player killed in a drive-by the night of homecoming?)

Kiffin's smart ass comment was a slap in the face of a town that can't seem to catch a break. While Tropical Storm Fay left most of South Florida unscathed, Pahokee's City Hall and sewer system were knocked out. The Everglades buyout to repair the flow of water in South Florida actually could hurt Pahokee because of the loss of sugar jobs. All they have left are their football players.

Kiffin can get over insulting Meyer and once Meyer lays 60 on him, most will be forgotten. But that won't happen in Pahokee. Kiffin's crime was never insulting Meyer, it was insulting the only thing Pahokee's got; pride in their football team.

 

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