Mora in unsafe territory with comments
August, 10, 2012
By Ted Miller | ESPN.com
Jim Mora, not unlike his dad -- "Playoffs?!" -- is not known for biting his tongue, even when he should sometimes.
And so we have the first dust-up between him, as UCLA's new coach, and USC.
Mora, talking about recruiting with Roger Lodge on KLAA 830-AM in LA on Wednesday, took an inappropriate shot at USC.
"When you're talking about UCLA, it's one of the great schools in the world -- not just America, but in the world," Mora said. "It's a safe, beautiful campus in a great area of town. I mean, we don't have murders one block off our campus."
In April, two USC students were killed near the USC campus.
In an interview Thursday with the Los Angeles Times, Mora denied that he was speaking about USC or that he knew about the murders. He would later apologize.
"After learning the details of the shootings downtown earlier this year, I can understand how my comments on the radio yesterday could be interpreted as insensitive to the victims and their families," Mora told reporters. "The interviewer and myself were talking about UCLA football and the tremendous attributes of the UCLA campus and I truly regret and I'm sorry if my words caused any pain. That was not my intention."
If you've been around this rivalry for a while, you know that there is a regular back-and-forth about the communities surrounding USC and UCLA. While USC is located in South Central Los Angeles, USC officials regularly point out crime rates around campus are lower than in more scenic Westwood, where UCLA is located.
I have walked around both campus -- written plenty of stories from coffees shops around them -- and neither area felt terribly threatening.
The lesson here is simple, despite some dimwits on the UCLA side of things acting like there's nothing to see here: You don't make flippant comments about murder. Simple as that. If you can't see that, you are missing a screw.
That is why Mora apologized. And so we can move on.
At least until the week leading up to Nov. 17, when, yes, this shall be resurrected to stir things up between the Bruins and Trojans.