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Opinion

Readers React: A Trojan war over Steve Sarkisian

USC Coach Steve Sarkisian

USC Coach Steve Sarkisian yells at a referee during a game against Washington.

 

(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I am neither a USC alumnus nor a fan of USC sports. Further, I am truly weary of a sports culture in which pompous coaches wax philosophical about the virtues of building character in student-athletes when the only true objective is to win. (“USC dismisses troubled coach,” Oct. 13)

Major colleges and universities live in a world so lopsided that distinguished faculty — Nobel laureates and the like — and even institutional presidents are rewarded with salaries that are only a fraction of what a major collegiate coach commands.

Despite this backdrop, I am dismayed by the way USC and The Times have responded to the Steve Sarkisian chapter of the “Legends of Troy.” If substance abuse is a disease — I will leave that to health professionals to debate — then was it appropriate for USC to “shark the Sark,” tossing him overboard?

I am in no way excusing Sarkisian’s behavior, but if he truly has dependency issues, wouldn’t early intervention and, if needed, some sort of leave of absence (not one day) been more appropriate and compassionate?

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Terry Damron, Glendora

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To the editor: In The Times’ front-page story, USC star Adoree’ Jackson is quoted as saying that Sarkisian was “a good person, but bad things happen in life that you can’t have control over.”

This statement apparently was “echoed” by “many team members.”

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These extremely talented young men should understand that each individual is responsible for the decisions he makes.

Russell Prince, Upland

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To the editor: Everyone loses here. Football and coaching are said to build character. Unfortunately, the result now is the sullied character of a football coach and a sullied tradition at a school striving to get things right.

How many times does it take? It cannot be that hard.

How in the world, with all the resources available to USC, did this even start? Was the coach properly vetted? And why did it end with Sarkisian being thrown under the bus in a time of extreme need?

So much for the “Trojan family” support. From leave of absence to fired within about 24 hours? On a weekend? Not in person? Perhaps the tarmac was unavailable.

Michael A. Meczka, Los Angeles

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To the editor: Slurred words and expletives at a college rally, acting strangely during games and not showing up for practice? Ah, give the guy a break — he’s only human. And hey, it’s football.

But slurred words and expletives at a college rally, acting strangely during games, not showing up for practice — and losing?

Something clearly had to be done.

R.C. Price, San Clemente

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