You want to win in college football, you have to recruit some criminals.
So said Notre Dame radio broadcaster and former player Allen Pinkett.
“That’s how Ohio State used to win all the time,’’ Pinkett said Wednesday on “The McNeil and Spiegel Show’’ on WSCR-AM 670. “They would have two or three guys that were criminals and that just adds to the chemistry of the team.’’
So, Pinkett said, maybe it’s a good sign for the Irish program that several players are venturing into the area of “bad citizens’’ or “criminals.’’
That sets the bar low, yeah, but at least there’s a bar for Notre Dame in Pinkett’s view.
Co-host Matt Spiegel gave Pinkett two chance to reword his stupidity -- specifically, “criminals’’ -- but Pinkett stood firm.
“Oh, I absolutely meant that,’’ Pinkett said. “Chemistry is so important on a football team. And you have to have a couple of bad guys that sort of teeter on the edge to add to the flavor of the guys that are always going to do right.’’
When pressed again, however, Pinkett said he didn’t want mass murderers or rapists.
“I want guys that maybe get caught drinking that are underage,’’ Pinkett said, “or guys that maybe got arrested because they got in a fight at a bar, or guys that are willing to cuss in public and don’t mind the repercussion of it. That’s the type of criminal I’m talking about.’’
Yes. Well. A program must have standards.
This is embarrassing when you’re representing the sanctimonious hucksters in South Bend. The sanctimonious hucksters in South Bend, see, often have trouble with the truth, and right on cue, the sanctimonious hucksters in South Bend issued a statement calling Pinkett’s suggestion “nonsense.’’
Which, of course, is nonsense itself. There is a lot of truth to Pinkett’s idea, either in actual criminals or in the spirit of lawless, reckless players. You know, crazy guys. Because you have to be crazy to play a game that includes criminal acts on every play.
Yeah, it’s a cynical view, but there’s a history of national champions and contenders with rap sheets.
Like, I don’t know, Notre Dame. Like, when the oily Lou Holtz refused to suspend quarterback Rick Mirer and linebacker Demetrius DeBose after their arrests at an off-campus party just before the 1991 opener.
And don’t forget how much NCAA trouble the Irish faced in the wake of Holtz’ reign. So, there you go: The Irish produced good teams when breaking laws and rules.
Kind of makes Pinkett’s point, doesn’t it?
Or at least it made his original point. Later Wednesday, Pinkett issued a statement apologizing for telling the truth.
Here’s the deal: Pinkett used the wrong words for Notre Dame, but he nailed the analysis for anyone who has been watching.