This Guy doesn’t get it.
It looks like this Guy does — and now says — what he wants.
Here’s the bigger question: Will Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour do anything about this Guy, or will she continue to be walked on by him?
Because, to this point, that’s what sure looks like is happening.
On Friday night in a game against Michigan State, Guy Gadowsky — the head coach of Penn State men’s hockey team — signed off on the idea of his squad wearing ‘409’ decals on their helmets. The number symbolizes the win total the NCAA restored the same day to late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who was fired by the university in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case that rocked the program and university.
How one could not understand support for Paterno — by affixing such number to their helmets — could cause controversy is beyond me.
Anyhow, moving on from that point of the debate, common courtesy — and cursory logic — would yield that if you were the leader of a program and wanted to make an alteration to the uniforms of the team you lead, a quick call to your boss (Barbour in this case) would be in order.
In this case, apparently Gadowsky didn’t deem it necessary. His program unilaterally decided to wear the ‘409’ stickers against Michigan State.
Afterward, it didn’t appear Barbour — again, Gadowsky’s boss — was too pleased.
She tweeted, in response to someone questioning the stickers: “Agree with you. Inappropriate and insensitive. It’s been corrected.”
If the buck were to stop there, if it were simple miscommunication or Gadowsky and his team getting their message across and then being stopped by the athletic director, so be it, I guess.
But then came Monday morning — where Gadowsky doubled down on all of this.
Amazing, isn’t it? The gall of this Guy.
Gadowsky went on TSN 1050 radio in Toronto and appeared defiant when contrition (or at least an acknowledgement that he and his athletic director were now working to get on the same page) should have been the order of the day.
Gadowsky was asked during his Toronto interview about Barbour’s tweets decrying the stickers.
“That’s something that I will talk with my Athletic Director about later,” Gadowsky said.
That’s something he will talk with his athletic director about later?
Which leads to a logical question I have: Hasn’t Barbour talked to Gadowsky yet? Hasn’t she made clear to him – because she did so on Twitter – that she wasn’t happy with the stickers?
If she hasn’t, shame on her.
If Gadowsky was told by the athletic director she didn’t like the stickers (or even made privy to her tweets) and he is rolling with the notion that he will talk to her “later” then, well, shame on him.
At the very least it is miscommunication; at most it is insubordination.
From this vantage, it gives the impression the coach is doing what he wants without a care of what the athletic director says. And, fundamentally, isn’t that why Penn State is in all of this mess to begin with; because a coach was more powerful than his bosses?
Anyhow, as Gadowsky continued the Monday morning radio interview with the Toronto station, he offered his version of validation for wearing the stickers.
“It was to recognize something our student body felt really good about,” Gadowsky said. “It was something to help them feel good about their institution. Remember, they had absolutely nothing to do with anything … and it was something in support of them.”
The answer deserved a follow up and the hosts in Toronto offered the perfect one.
“What do you think the [sex abuse] victims would feel about this?” Gadowsky was asked during the interview.
Eighteen seconds worth of uncomfortable silence.
He had no good answer.
When he finally wrangled the nerve to answer, Gadowsky said, “Again, you’re moving it toward the victims. This was a symbol in support of our student body, it wasn’t toward anything else. It was for the support of the students who could finally feel good and try to move forward.”
Gadowsky and others should try moving forward themselves — because their clumsy plan to slap a ‘409’ sticker on some hockey helmets did nothing but look back.
It also showed me this Guy doesn’t, and maybe never will, get it.
Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can read his bio here.