Thursday, April 11, 2013

Steve Alford's Pierre Pierce Statement: The Ultimate Spin Move

New UCLA coach Steve Alford and his athletic director, Dan Guerrero, released a statement today designed to finally stop people nagging him about former Iowa star Pierre Pierce, whose repeated legal issues and multiple cases of sexual assault were a major black eye to the Hawkeye program during his abbreviated career.

Unfortunately for Alford, all the statement has done is fan the flames higher, serving as a spin move more flamboyant than anything the former Indiana Hoosier legend ever uncorked on the court.

In the statement, Alford delivers the usual canned mea culpas about growth and learning and not accusing sexual assault victims of fabricating stories. He admits to "instinctively and mistakenly" coming to Pierce's defense and denying all accusations before Alford himself knew the facts of the case.

In short, all the things that a grown man should understand not to do.

The week prior, when Alford was introduced as UCLA's new scapegoat coach, the second question he fielded from the press regarded Pierce and Alford's handling of the case.

His response, per the Des Moines Register:

“That was an instance that happened years ago,” he said. “I followed everything that the University of Iowa, the administration, the lawyers that were hired … I followed everything that I was told to do.”
So, the university told its coach to run screaming into the breach to shout down any claims that one of his star players was a sexual predator?

HawkCentral writer Bryce Miller was quick to call bullshit, and produced a piece casting Alford as a petulant, petty child who took every slight personally and carried grudges to the ends of the earth.
Unlucky Pierre.

Former Johnson County Attorney Patrick White, who prosecuted Pierce's original case in 2002, later volunteered in the Iowa sports marketing department after retiring from office. The gig routinely meant crossing paths with Alford, of which White tried to make the best by being cordial to a fellow university employee, as one does.

White claimed Alford never spoke to him, shut down an appointment designed to clear the air and replied to a congratulatory e-mail by blaming White for turning the fans against him.

Miller's colleague Pat Harty was similarly put on blast by Alford, a tale which he recounted the day after the UCLA presser. Essentially, Alford was pissed about a critical column when Harty was the one with serious grounds for anger.

Since, after all, Pierre Pierce had nearly committed a second assault only weeks after the firstagainst Harty's niece.

The program refused to address any concerns from Harty or his brother Frank, a former Iowa football player. Alford would later make the aforementioned call to Harty and use the word "evil" to describe a columnist writing a justifiably critical column.

Alford had a buddy affiliated with Athletes in Action reach out to Pierce's victim and attempt to lure her to a "prayer meeting" with Pierce, which would certainly be a come-to-Jesus meeting in more ways than one. The intent was to encourage forgiveness, especially of entities (the Iowa basketball program and Pierce in particular) more powerful than her.

A man with that sort of Machiavellian streak referring to a columnist as "evil" is certainly a case of we-can-smell-our-own. It's like Marge Schott calling and berating you for making bigoted comments.

Ignoring the original case. Doing everything in his power to ensure that a criminal is restored to the team because he led the Big Ten in steals (and not just of cameras and laptops). Trying to suppress, or at the very least tamper with, a witness. Berating anyone who dares criticize his handling of matters on or off the court. And finally, so many years later, blaming it all on the school.

But the canned, prepared statement which some SID intern will likely frame and put on his/her wall as his/her finest written work is supposed to be the true depiction of Steve Alford's character?

Sorry, Steve. This statement is easily spotted for what it is. Someone finally got through that thick skull, the epic head of hair that tops it, and what has to be an obscene amount of product to make it register that blaming former employers for your attempts at smothering a criminal investigation is a very dumb idea.

The California media will soon discover what Iowa writers and at least three young women already know: Alford won't let anything or anyone stand in the way of his program winning.

Some will admire that quality. Some will call him a scumbag (and some already have).

But this fake-as-Hollywood-tits statement tells no one anything except stale platitudes.

Steve, I'm sure that some days you think you just can't win. This is likely one of those days.

But if you think the Iowa media were "evil," just wait until you get a load of L.A. Spin all you want, but those people will just make you even dizzier.

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