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Column: Give Bates The Time He Deserves

Assoc. Sports Editor

Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

While watching last Saturday’s loss at Wake Forest, I noticed a number of tweets directed at @BCBradBates, the feed for Boston College’s new athletic director. I think it’s great that our new AD has become accessible to the fans in social media outlets, and it’s already given people confidence that he will work hard for the people. With that said, I have one comment to some of those people directing their comments at Bates: stop complaining. Your whining isn’t going to answer anything. You’re trying to make yourself bigger than the program, and to be honest you’re giving our newest member a bad impression of our school.

I read on as people threatened to give away their tailgating spots, not show up to the Notre Dame game, and give up their season tickets. Some were constructive with their comments, but most jumped to the conclusion that Brad Bates is Gene DeFelippo and therefore they should lash out at him until he takes action against Frank Spaziani. To be quite blunt, the loss of your presence in BC football is not going to end the program. We’re all upset that Spaz has led our team into a spiraling downfall, but your threats to give up on BC football really don’t matter. You should be excited that we have a new change in the addition of Bates, but it continues to be the same old complaining. He wants us to voice our opinions, but this manner of addressing him with so much hostility is not right. Does anyone really think that Bates would come walking through the doors of Yawkey, slam open Spaz’s office door, and fire him on his first day as AD? If you did, then you’re delusional, and probably shouldn’t be allowed to voice your opinion on public forums. Twitter might not be the place for you.

Where do you get off questioning Bates’ decision making this early? If I remember correctly, Bates has been here for less than a month. He’s not keeping Spaz around to spare his feelings. He’s just reasonable for looking at all of his options and not jumping to any quick actions. He has been entirely open during his tenure, including his presence on Twitter. However, people have taken advantage of this in the wrong way. Bates did this to hear people, and give them access to him. But some people have decided to look at this as a forum to tell him how to do his job, and even let him know their intentions of not going to games. Honestly, you’re not doing anything positive. You’re acting like Bates has no idea that our football program is a mess, and that your tweet will awaken him from his blindness. I hate to ruin it for you, but you don’t know more about college football. Bates is going to make changes, but it’s not going to be because of your whining. It’s going to be for the betterment of the program and the University.

The comment that really upset me the most, though, was one that said something along the line of  “I hope @BCBradBates is watching this #firespaz #iknowsomuchmoreaboutbeingtheathleticdirectoratbostoncollege.” Seriously? Do you think for one second that Bates isn’t watching the game? Yeah, you’re right. He’s probably back at Chestnut Hill thinking about excuses for how he can justify retaining Spaz next season. Maybe you should write a book for him on how to be the athletic director of a university!
In all reality, Bates was at the game. I saw this first hand. At the end of the game, he stood by the visiting locker room, and encouraged his new team with a handshake, pat on the back or word of encouragement to each and every player. He’s fully invested in bringing BC football back to its winning ways. He’s not going to sit by and watch his newly acquired program continue to fall into shambles. But we have to be patient. He can’t just come into his new job and fire the head football coach. Critics will say that it would make the point that Spaz doesn’t deserve to have his job. In all honesty, firing Spaz at this point in the season would cause more problems than solutions. The team would be even more chaotic in the hands of an interim coach. You think we look bad now? Who’s to say that we won’t look even more embarrassing under the guidance of an inexperienced coordinator? Bates has literally just begun his job. He’s still trying to get the lay of the land, and people taking to Twitter and telling him what to do is giving him a bad impression of our community. There’s a thin line between voicing an informed opinion and coming across as overly dramatic.

I look at the addition of Bates as a chance for this athletic program and this football program to take a turn for the better. We have the opportunity to see major change, and can have a positive impact on the process. Right now, though, people are going about it the wrong way. They’re already treating Bates like an enemy, threatening him to do his job a certain way. You’re not true Superfans. You’re overlooking this new era of athletics at BC, and  selfishly putting yourself ahead of the program.

So if anyone is going to give away their football tickets or sell their tailgating spot, please feel free to contact me. I have a feeling that some big changes are coming, regardless of whether or not you’re a part of the BC faithful. For me, being able to write and talk about the sports teams I grew up watching has been one of the biggest blessings of my time here. As an editor for The Heights, I have become close to the athletic program here and come to appreciate the goals of our program. I will never take for granted the experiences of watching my favorite Eagle teams, win or lose, and at the end of the day, I am entirely grateful to have had the chance to share my college athletics experience with some of the best fans in the country. Let’s not forget who we are, and remember to support our teams through the good and the bad. Go Eagles, and good luck, Brad.


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