Big 12: Cleveland Cavaliers

Pelini tells fans to back off LeBron James

June, 4, 2009
6/04/09
4:15
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Griffin

The Twitter rage is mushrooming through Big 12 circles and several coaches have set up accounts to comment on various events in their lives.

My favorite has to be Bo Pelini's. I feel like I'm learning something new about the Nebraska coach every day. (Hat tip to Steve Sipple of the Lincoln Journal Star.)  

I've already learned that Pelini likes to post at a Starbucks in the morning and that he is following the NBA playoffs more closely than many fans. 

But I was particularly intrigued by a post he made a couple of days ago about the end of the Orlando-Cleveland series.

Pelini, a native of Youngstown, Ohio, was of course rooting for the Cavaliers.

But it was still surprising to see his comments about the postgame criticism received by superstar forward LeBron James after failing to shake hands with Orlando players after the series ended.

"By the way - people need to get off Lebron - shaking hands is overrated," Pelini said in a Tweet.

That comment is a little bit of an inside joke. Pelini garnered some headlines back in 2003 for his postgame confrontation with Kansas State coach Bill Snyder after Pelini felt that Snyder had run the score up on Nebraska second-stringers at the end of the game.

Pelini didn't shake hands with Snyder that day. And I doubt he would if his team would have lost a bitter game or series like the Cavaliers.

But it still doesn't send the right message. I believe part of being a true coach is being able to serve as a role model for your team. I think you should win and lose with class, taking the time to congratulate your opponents after the game.

How you react after you get to the locker room is one thing. But I believe that a show of on-the-field sportsmanship is important. And Pelini should be teaching his team the importance of it rather than joking that he doesn't believe in it.   

James was wrong in how he handled the Cavaliers' series loss to Orlando.

And Pelini was wrong in how he condoned James' actions.

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