Alabama talk radio host and newspaper columnist Paul Finebaum was slated to appear on Tuesday’s edition of Outside the Lines on ESPN (2 p.m. Central). The topic is likely to be Auburn’s disastrous hiring of Gene Chizik as head football coach. Finebaum always has an opinion, and you can bet the mess at Auburn will inspire entertaining commentary.
Chizik was hired over Buffalo’s Turner Gill. Gill was wildly popular with Auburn fans if you judge based on posts on the Internet. However, passing over the successful Gill for the questionable Chizik prompted charges of racism.
Charles Barkley on ESPN (and in an Associated Press interview you can read below) declared racism was involved in Auburn’s decision. “I believe race had a factor. Of course I do,” Barkley, a former Auburn and NBA star, said Monday in a phone interview with The Associated Press hours after Chizik was introduced. “First of all you can’t compare these two, their records. That’s not even close to being fair. I look at things from a commonsense standpoint, how do you interview Turner Gill and pick Gene Chizik over Turner Gill?”
Auburn denied the decision to hire Chizik had anything to do with race. Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs said he hired the “best fit” for Auburn.
No word on whether “best fit for Auburn” excludes persons of color.
While racism is getting major play, there are other topics being examined on Internet message boards and in the media:
â€¢The influence of Pat Dye on the Chizik hiring, and shaping of Chizik’s staff.
â€¢Are the Neil Callaway rumors true?
â€¢The role Auburn trustee Bobby Lowder played in the ouster of Tuberville.
â€¢Fallout of the hiring on Auburn president Jay Gogue.
â€¢Fallout of the hiring on the recruiting trail.
â€¢How soon will Auburn fans rally behind the new head coach?