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What the lawsuit says about Kiffin

Lane Kiffin (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Lane Kiffin can't seem to avoid public relations trouble wherever he goes.
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Kalani Simpson

Kalani Simpson is an award-winning journalist who has earned national recognition as a sports columnist at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and editor at Nebraska Sports America magazine.MORE>>
 
   
 

You knew it was going to happen. Somebody's actually sued Lane Kiffin.

Who had "Monday" in the office pool?

Remember when Al Davis was ranting and raving about Lane Kiffin and we all thought Al sounded like a crazy old man?

POLL

  • If you're the judge, whose side are you going to rule in favor of?
    • Lane Kiffin
    • Titans

Right now, I'd believe anything Al Davis says about him.

And Al isn't the only one saying it. Not anymore. There are people who are disliked in every industry, and it's whispered about. Or grumbled, behind their backs, behind closed doors. There are people who are disliked and outsiders may never hear about it. Sure, they are disliked. But it would be gauche to say so out loud.

Lane Kiffin has apparently passed that point.

And this happens right after USC made a big show out of "turning over a new leaf." Of no longer making the wrong kind of news.

Oops.

They got rid of the Reggie Bush Heisman. But they've still got "Fast" Lane Kiffin.

The Titans — who are irked that Kiffin coaxed one of their assistant coaches to leave Tennessee for USC shortly before NFL training camp began — didn't need to sue here. They're upset, sure, but they didn't need to sue. They could have huffed and puffed a little. They could have bitched for a news cycle or two, then moved on. At the end of the day, this is really a lot of time, energy and hassle over a running backs coach.

But that's not what this is. This is someone saying loudly, publicly, "I don't like that guy." And, "This guy is such a jerk, I want it entered in some kind of court record."

Jeff Fisher, if you've forgotten, is a USC guy. (He was in the same USC secondary with Ronnie Lott, Joey Browner and Dennis Smith.) This is exactly the guy Lane Kiffin should be winning over.

Fisher is an alum. He's a rich alum. He's a former player. That's 0-for-3.

He's also a big wheel in the NFL -- you know, that place Kiffin is telling all these recruits he can get them.

That's 0-for-4.

That's not a good day at the yard.

And it seems to be that maybe this is just who Lane Kiffin is, this is what he does, this is how people react to him, this is the chaos that seems to swirl constantly around him. This is what you get when you hire him, along with Monte, his much beloved football genius of an old man, and Ed Orgeron, perhaps the best recruiter on God's green Earth.

You get this. I mean, this isn't a pattern. This isn't connecting the dots. This is a mosaic!

First there was the Raiders, and we all dismissed Al Davis' complaints upon Kiffin's exit from that team's head coaching job. But now …

Then came Tennessee. There, Kiffin openly admitted playing the role of some kind of pro-wrestling villain, getting in as many scraps as he could, because the University of Tennessee wasn't high-profile enough. He had to attract attention somehow, right?

Well, fine. That's ridiculous. Tennessee is a big-boy job unless you're comparing it to Florida. But whatever.

MORE COVERAGE

 
USC
Sports by Brooks has some interesting revelations about this situation and additional details about the lawsuit.
 

Now he's at USC. And still, stuff happens. Still, he stirs the drink. Not as a straw, the way Reggie Jackson did. No, Lane is more like a blender with the top off.

And he just splattered all over Pat Haden's first week on the job.

Look, Lane. Buddy. Sweetheart. You're at USC now. You don't have to try so hard.

It's OK to tweak people, to be a little bit of an instigator. See Spurrier, Steve.

It's not OK to actually get served with legal papers.

Let's try this. Just let Dad coach the defense and shut people out. Let Orgeron bring home the studs. Put the "personality" in a desk drawer. Put a lid on the blender. Try to go a full season without accepting another job. Try to let Haden go a week without his blood pressure hitting the roof.

Read "How to Win Friends and Influence People."

Turn 36.

Just concentrate on football. Try not to look like you're trying so hard. It's USC.

Of course, if this latest incident tells us anything, maybe it's that Kiffin just can't help himself.

People ask what Kiffin has accomplished in his chaotic, star-crossed career. What has he actually done? Well, plenty. In fact, he's accomplished the impossible.

He's gotten us to consider the possibility that maybe Al Davis hasn't lost it after all.

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