This Week’s Holiday-Shortened Menu:
Christmas-Season Message Good Year-Long Advice;
Apology For Initial Reaction To Pelini ‘Firing’

As I have at Christmastime in past years, I offer this week relatively few comments, with the hope that you will find time to read them these busy days or will find them interesting if you turn back to them after the holiday season.  (Earlier columns are available on this website.)

Now, a thought which I have shared at the Christmas seasons in years past.

Whatever your religious beliefs, I believe the Christmas season every year should remind us to be grateful to the preacher named Jesus of Nazareth.

A simple foundation for a good and useful life can, I believe, be found in the words of Jesus of Nazareth:

‘Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.’”

* * *

‘Do Unto Others’ Good Advice For Me;
Pelini ‘Firing’ Raised Questions From The Start

My reaction to the news that Cornhusker football Coach Bo Pelini had been “fired” should have made this veteran journalist skeptical from the start.  It was one of those surprising stories which possibly, and perhaps very likely, had another story behind it.

Instead of being a skeptical journalist, I quickly criticized Athletic Director Shawn Eichorst’s reported fire-Pelini decision with the presumed approval of Chancellor Harvey Perlman.

I pointed out that Pelini’s Huskers had just beaten traditional foe Iowa and assured Pelini and the Huskers a seventh nine-victory season with a chance to go 10-3 with a win over Southern Cal in the Holiday Bowl.

As a veteran journalist, I should have remembered that when a major development in the news appears to lack a satisfactory explanation, the journalist should look for a story behind the story.

In this case, the story behind the story was that Pelini wasn’t fired in the customary sense but offered to leave a job in a state which he seemed to hate if he was paid as much as $7.9 million for what could be publicly represented as a breach of his contract.

The facts have come out, primarily because Pelini didn’t have the good sense to go quietly to Eichorst and say he wanted out of his contract (which Eichorst had extended, with a substantial pay boost, after Nebraska’s upset victory over Georgia in last year’s Gator Bowl).

With a very unhappy coach on their hands, Eichorst and Perlman reacted responsibly when they quickly agreed to Pelini’s request that he be freed from his contract even though it could cost $7.9 million or more for what Pelini could allege was a breach of contract.

But Pelini couldn’t resist talking, although not for the public record, about his desire to leave a job and a state where he was very unhappy.  That word quickly got around, and it soon became clear (although not widely known to the public) that he was angrily fed up with Eichorst and Husker football fans and talk of conference championships and national championships as in years past.

So a deal was negotiated to get rid of a coach who wanted to be fired if the price was right.

I would say it was a bargain for the University of Nebraska, the Husker football program and the “Husker Nation” fans across the country.

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