Goodbye Lincoln Riley

It is easy to enjoy Sen. Bill Coleman’s requested legislation to properly “honor” Lincoln Riley. The bill request asks to name the last three inches of the westbound lane of State Highway 325 in the panhandle as the “Lincoln Riley Highway”.

National sports writers, the first in media to prove regular bias of reporting, weighted in with even Golf Digest and Yahoo Sports on topic. The New York Post, began with, “Oklahoma doesn’t seem to be taking its breakup with Lincoln Riley well.” They miss the point. This was not a breakup, but a betrayal and plunder, apparently begun during OU’s by-week. Thus the last games of the season did not have Riley’s full attention nor were they in his self-interest to win – a sin on players and fans to say nothing of his tax supported paycheck.

Senator Coleman said, “I felt the State of Oklahoma needed an appropriate goodbye to this former head coach whose sudden departure left many in shock, including a team of young, dedicated college players. I found the tiniest section of our most desolate of highways to pay tribute to Coach Riley’s exit from Oklahoma football and the state,” Coleman said. “This is only fitting as this is the last three inches one sees before leaving our great state heading west.”

Under the bill, any signage would be paid for by the Ponca City Republican senator. Tulsa Today will contribute.

To understand Oklahoma’s strong sports tradition, first know that sports are one of the few things in modern life where victory is earned on merit if the Zebras don’t interfere. Second, most admit Oklahoma does not have state brags like California – which in taking Okies during our dust bowl raised the average IQ and work ethic in both states.

Long ago as the public relations guy for a minor league professional basketball team here, I took a call from a scout of the New York Nets. His first words to me asked if Tulsa had airline service? After immediately dropping into a thick hick accent and spinning a yarn about biplanes landing on wheat fields… in my normal voice, I explained that Oklahoma had high-tech before New York knew the term – how else do you think we harvested energy from deep in the earth to power the industrial revolution? Our children live on both coasts and often return when quality of life becomes more important than cheap glitter and fleeting fame.

Riley is welcome to enjoy the homeless camps, drug abuse, overpriced housing, single party political rule and all that comes with California. We love Californians and are welcoming more each day. We are friendly, generally helpful and kind people, but we do value loyalty which must work both ways. Piss us off at your own risk.

“While we are all free to pursue employment elsewhere, there is a level of professionalism that is expected to be adhered to,” Sen. Coleman said. “From all indications, professionalism was pretty much absent in how this departure was executed.”

The bill request could become law during the next session that convenes Monday, Feb. 7.

Oklahoma fans are happy the university hired Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables, whom we know and have always admired. He was on staff under Bob Stoops as co-defensive coordinator from 1999 to 2003, and defensive coordinator from 2004 to 2011.

Venables is a better fit for the Oklahoma Sooners and we are delighted to give Riley his three inches of fame – about the length of our middle finger.

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