Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Rhymes With Witch

Is it snitch? Is it bitch? Maybe both.

The person who ratted out Pokey Chatman has been unveiled. And it's Pokey's former assistant coach, Carla Berry.

LSU's position is that "any allegation pertaining to the coach/student-athlete relationship calls into account the trust of the university and parents place in the coaches of sports teams. It is a fundamental principle that coaches are caretakers and surrogate parents to the student-athletes."

But the university confirms that although Chatman is alleged to be involved in multiple incidents, they concerned former student(s) only. When did these alleged inappropriate relationships even happen? How big of a deal is it that Chatman got with a former athlete? They are both (presumably) consenting adults. And although it is inappropriate for coaches and athletes to hook up, part of that label of inappropriateness is about unfairness to the other athletes. So, in the case of former athletes, maybe the unfairness test doesn't apply. Who did Pokey harm?

I want to know more, but the case remains shrouded in mystery. LSU refuses to give details or name the athlete(s) involved. Pokey hasn't commented. But LSU undertook a seemingly shady investigation of Pokey once Berry made her accusations. LSU sent an athletic department employee to shadow Pokey on road trips - without Pokey's knowledge. The whole situation didn't come to a head until Berry decided to tell Pokey that she had gone to The Man with her accusations.

It seems premature to put Carla Berry on a pedestal just yet. Is she a protector of the sanctity of the coach/athlete relationship or a mere snitch? According to LSU's statement, Berry, "recently acquired the information." Unlikely, given that Berry had been a teammate and co-worker to Pokey for many years. Berry was a teammate of Chatman's at LSU from 1988 to 1992 and joined Chatman's staff as an assistant in 2001.

It's hard for me to believe that such scandalous improprieties were a complete secret. Still, LSU praises Berry's courage in the matter.

"I commend Coach Berry for her actions, including her disclosure to Coach Chatman of her knowledge of the allegations and the actions she had taken. Having been a teammate and assistant to Coach Chatman for many years, this has been no easy task for Carla."

I don't know what Pokey did or didn't do, but she should come out of hiding. If she did something wrong, she can apologize. If she didn't, she can explain. I hope she's just waiting until the LSU ladies complete their stay in the NCAA tournament. Until then, I anxiously await what Pokey has to say.



MCBias said...

I have coached teams and taught classes that had females in them. There is a sweetness about the teaching/coaching relationship, in that the coach learns to motivate the player, and the player allows themselves to be motivated by the coach and even tells the coach how this is best done. That sweetness, though, is achieved only if its sanctity is respected.

Personally, I still have grave concerns about starting up relationships when the class/season is over. Yes, I may have come to understand that beautiful girl by interacting with her in practice. But I have had the position of power the whole time. She (and her parents, if she's not an adult yet, which was true of most of Pokey's players!)has entrusted me with that so I could teach her something and make her a better person. She didn't entrust me with that power to learn how to best seduce her.

It's the power relationship that matters here. So what if Pokey isn't really their coach anymore. Don't you still feel a little intimidated to see coach X or teacher Y, even now that you don't go to school? Yes, you do. Carla may have had mixed motives for turning her in, but I think that Pokey was clearly in the wrong. Pokey had no excuse to prey on her own players instead of going out and finding a romantic partner of her own.

Gangsta D said...

Well, we don't know that Pokey did the preying. It could've been the other way around, but I see your point. It would be nice to have more info, at any rate.

The Rover said...

At least we know that the "Stop Snitchin'" video isn't popular in Baton Rouge...