Listenbee needs Dallas more than HBO
By Mac Engel
April 25, 2018 05:18 PM
Former TCU wide receiver Kolby Listenbee had his moment on HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on Tuesday night and the net effect is two field goals when trailing by three touchdowns.
Listenbee is suing TCU head football coach Gary Patterson, TCU and the Big 12 Conference. His attorneys have been lining up interviews with whomever in an effort gain support in the public, and to pressure the school.
The first large national outlet to give Listenbee a platform was ESPN’s Outside the Lines, and it was a miss for the player.
The Real Sports segment was not entirely about Listenbee, but part of a broader piece on “abusive relationships” between players and coaches on the NCAA level.
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Listenbee fared far better in the interview that aired on Tuesday evening, and scored some quality shots at both TCU and Patterson.
Listenbee’s best chance, however, is not in the court of public opinion, but rather just a court room in Dallas.
Listenbee needs his case to be tried in a Dallas County court room. There is a reason his lawyers included the Big 12 Conference as a defendant, and it has nothing to do with the actual culpability of the league. Because the league has nothing to do with this case other than “guilt” by association.
The Big 12 office is located in Dallas, and by including it as a defendant Listenbee’s lawyers can have the case tried in that county.
Having this case tried in Dallas is the part to this scenario that makes TCU squeamish. You can bet if/when this case actually does go before a judge, a motion to have it moved due west will be filed.
If the case is tried in Tarrant County, forget it. As it stands now, Listenbee’s case in the court of public opinion is not going well. So far, nothing has worked, and Listenbee has found few supporters to back his claims of abuse.
The Real Sports piece offered nothing new that could potentially prompt the school to cave and write Listenbee a go-away check.
Why aren’t people grabbing this story and expressing outrage? Because it’s football. Because it’s an obvious cash grab led by lawyers hoping to exploit a rich target. Because our outrage only lasts about 10 minutes any more before it’s replaced by the next headline.
The worst part of the piece was an alarming X-ray of Listenbee’s injury that shows several pins in place needed to play. That and the former TCU receiver saying he received “five shots” of pain killers at halftime to play a game.
TCU coach Gary Patterson entered the stands during the Horned Frogs’ spring game on Saturday. Stefan Stevenson
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Listenbee also said Patterson told him that if TCU lost a game that he did not play in, it was going to be his fault and that he would not be allowed back at TCU.
Do I think Patterson said that? At this point, nothing would surprise me.
Do I think Patterson would follow up on such an outlandish claim? No.
Listenbee’s claim to Real Sports that by returning too soon to play from his injury cost him “millions” is a wild, slightly preposterous, swing for a giant check that he was likely never going to see even had he never been hurt. Most guys don’t make millions in the NFL.
From the dawn of sports, coaches have manipulated their players through a variety of mind games and tricks in order to get them to play, to play harder, and/or play “through” something. The relationship between the player and coach, especially on the collegiate level, is inherently imbalanced.
Other than to transfer or quit, players have no power. They know it.
The pressure to win now is so great that stories of “abusive” tactics coaches use on their players is no longer a surprise, and there is virtually nothing a university, or the powerless NCAA, can do to deter such behaviors.
The court of public opinion has accepted this flawed paradigm, which is why Listenbee’s best chance is a Dallas court room.
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