We all love redemption stories, yes? It's satisfying when a jerk redeems himself by: 1. Admitting he was a jerk; 2. Ceasing to act like a jerk.
Unfortunately, former Washington State quarterback Ryan Leaf's redemption from being a jerk, for which he is seeking attention, is incomplete.
We know this because Leaf called Oregon State coach Mike Riley "an idiot" this past week as he tried to drum up publicity for his new book.
Said Leaf: “I know the Chargers made mistakes, but I made a bunch of mistakes myself, and I’ve got to take responsibility for that. I mean, Mike Riley is an idiot, but I can’t do anything to change that. He wasn’t supposed to be a head coach in the NFL. Why was he there?”
No. 1: I know Riley is not an idiot. I've never heard Riley's intelligence called into question by anyone. And, by the way, I was there when he was about to get fired by San Diego.
No. 2: Leaf's intelligence — intellectual as well as emotional — has been called into question by just about everyone who has known him throughout his life, even by those who defended him, such as former Washington State coach Mike Price.
Leaf is not qualified to call someone an idiot. The life he has led, from an NFL bust, to blaming everyone but himself for being a bust, to pleading guilty to felony drug charges, to calling a truly nice guy an idiot, shows that his bulb continues to burn dimly. Saying such a thing so publicly only makes Leaf look crass and petty and juvenile.
Leaf told Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune that he wants to pursue a career as a motivational speaker, particularly working with young people.
“I don’t want anyone to ever feel how I felt,” Leaf said. “I was just miserable. I wasn’t happy with who I was.”
So, Ryan, if Riley cared about your opinion, how do you think he'd feel about being called "an idiot"?
The problem with redemption is the person seeking it actually needs to be redeemed, and not just trying to get some attention so he can sell some books and maybe pick up an easy paycheck for a speaking engagement.