It still makes me squirm nearly two days later as I read it. The transcription says I was laughing as I told Coach Friedgen his response was “hurtful”, but I can tell you it was a nervous laugh. More of a “I can’t believe you just said that” type of laugh.
Immediately after finishing the conversation, I turned to my Executive Producer Ryan Chell and told him to be prepared for some bounce back from the interview. I will admit I was probably still a bit distracted as I talked to Baltimore Ravens Safety Haruki Nakamura later in the hour.
After chewing on the interview for some time, I have a three thoughts I believe are worth sharing.
One-the words Coach Friedgen used WERE hurtful.
While it is well known that I never actually FINISHED my degree at the University of Maryland, simply my acceptance letter from the University of Maryland was a significant moment in my life. I wanted to go to the University of Maryland from the moment I knew what college was.
Make fun of me all you want, but when a group of Terrapin athletes came to Chapel Hill Elementary School to speak about pursuing dreams, I told my 4th and 5th grade friends that my goal in life was to attend the University of Maryland. It never changed.
I understand why Ralph Friedgen is hurt. I understand he felt he deserved better from the University than to be dismissed after a successful season. It doesn’t make it okay for him to say he “burned his diploma” from the University of Maryland. That’s hurtful to everyone who cares about the University around the globe.
If he wants to support Georgia Tech right now because he feels more appreciation from Yellow Jackets fans than he does from Maryland supporters, I have no problem with that. It doesn’t make it okay to suggest it acceptable to “burn your diploma.” That’s really strong.