We’ve all seen (as VaWolf82 summarized) numerous examples of Lee Fowler making thoughtless and insulting statements about the people who, in the aggregate, pay his salary.
Fans unhappy with the 8-38 Periclean Age of Herb Sendek, for instance, were a “lunatic fringe” consisting of “50 people on the Internet.” Just yesterday, when asked to name the “greatest challenge facing NC State athletics,” Fowler did not (as one would hope) respond with “my own general ineptitude.” No, according to “Coach,” the biggest challenge to NC State athletics (other than getting a new football coach) is fan message boards on the Internet. Hapless football teams, winless volleyball teams, and bottom-seeded soccer programs are, one must assume, comparative small potatoes.
Fowler’s enthusiastic bashing of NC State fans has, sadly, had an effect. When an athletic director makes regular attacks on his own fans – and no athletic director in the country has done so with the consistency and vitriol of Lee Fowler – it inevitably gets picked up in the media. Combine Fowler’s gas attacks with the generalized media love for Herb Sendek, and you have an ever-growing myth that NC State partisans are a uniquely terrible bunch, a collection of red-clad Peck’s Bad Boys who drove the noble Herb to the Valley of the Sun. And much of this bad rep, again, is due to Fowler, the sports administration equivalent of the Dixie Chicks (shut up and work, Mr. Fowler), attacking the fans with monotonous regularity.
Still, there was a line that even Fowler didn’t cross, and it was accusing fans of criminal and threatening behavior. No more. Fowler nimbly leaped that Rubicon in an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch, in which he asserted that NC State fans “drove [Sendek] away for the security of his family.”
What the hell?
Is there credible evidence – any at all – that Herb Sendek’s family was truly threatened by the NC State fan base or members thereof? For that matter, is there any credible evidence that Sendek himself faced threats other than continued domination by Roy Williams and Coach K?
Fowler’s comment is an irresponsible, inappropriate, and absurd allegation by someone who, stripped of tinsel, is a contract employee of NC State. Enough, I suggest, is enough. Given that Fowler appears incapable of controlling his own statements, it is high time – past time – for the Board of Trustees to step in and muzzle him.
Fowler’s comments are sufficient reason to dismiss him from employment right now. Failing that, Fowler should be told in no uncertain terms that his continued employment is premised on a complete and permanent cessation of his attacks on the alumni and fan supporters of this university and a similar end to his media pining over the departure of Herb Sendek. Failure on Fowler’s part to comply would lead to his immediate termination for cause.
This university, and its supporters, deserve better than Lee Fowler and his runaway mouth. The Board of Trustees must act.