In sports, as in life, it's best to avoid unforced errors. Don't fumble the snap. Don't foul the three-point shooter. Don't walk in the winning run. And for the love of God don't, 15 years after the fact, piss on the graves of a dozen college kids who died in an unbearably tragic accident.
Had Greg Featherston been thinking in sports metaphor last week, he'd probably still have a job. As it was, TCU's assistant athletic director of compliance apparently didn't realize the utter stupidity of mocking the 1999 Texas A&M bonfire tragedy on Facebook until it was too late.
The post went up on Wednesday. It linked to an article about A&M's plans to leave 12 seats empty at Kyle Field to honor the fallen students and reads, in full:
A&M to leave 12 seats empty to honor the 12 students who died in bonfire collapse. I didn't write the response below ... but I could have:
That makes good aggy sense. If the number of students that were victims of what amounted to drunken, negligent homicide on the part of that cow college didn't match so perfectly with the cult's favorite number, I doubt you would have seen anything like this done. Same thing with their campus "memorial". This allows the aggy admin to continue martyring them in an effort to cover their part in those people all being crushed to death by a big pile of logs that should have been either (a) never built or (b) built by professionals. See, this way it's a passive tragedy that "happened" rather than an active atrocity that was committed. This fits into the real aggy honor code of lying, cheating and stealing.
By Friday, the post was splashed all across the Internet, prompting Featherston, a 38-year-old UT grad, to issue an apology for his "lapse in judgment."
But the outrage machine was at full churn by then and wasn't going to be stopped by a mea culpa. On Saturday, Featherston felt compelled to resign.
TCU didn't try very hard to convince him to stay. "We have accepted Greg's resignation and wish him the best." TCU Athletic Director Chris Del Conte said on Saturday.
Here's hoping Featherston hasn't ruined Aggie jokes for everyone.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.