I'm getting a kick out of the sanctimonious sports writers who are attacking Greenwich businessman Robert Burton for writing a scathing letter to UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway about not being part of the process in the search for a new football coach.
Burton has been described as a petulant child, a bully, classless and an egomaniac. And that was just one writer. It's as if Burton's character has been placed on a kicking tee, and every sports writer in America is lined up and ready to take a whack at him.
Here's a news flash for writers, Hathaway and anybody else quick to kick Burton to the curb: Don't bite the hand that feeds you! Now, is that such a hard concept to figure out?
It's not as if Burton contributed a pittance to the UConn football program. He estimates he has donated $7 million to the program over the years and helped fund the team's training center. He is asking for a $3 million refund. Hey, that's still a pretty good return for the school.
All Hathaway had to do was involve Burton in the process. Is that too much to ask? The school sent out a release that says Burton and others were included in the search for new coach. Given the venom included in Burton's letter, that hardly seems to have been the case.
Some speculate that Hathaway has other donors willing to step in to replace Burton. Really? Why haven't they been contributing before? And couldn't the school still use Burton's money? I don't know too many colleges in these economic times that can thumb their noses at millions of dollars. But then again, this is UConn, so they'll probably just raise the school's tuition and taxes anyway. Our residents can afford it, right?
The whole Paul Pasqualoni debate is another matter. Why did Hathaway have to go there, knowing Burton would object? The guy is 61 years old, hasn't been a head coach for seven years and went 16-20 in his last three years at Syracuse. Many people already questioned his hiring. Oh, and you're going to anger your biggest donor, too?
Seems to me Hathaway blew this one. He should have included Burton in the process, get his input. It seems clear Burton has a vendetta against Pasqualoni (and now Hathaway). For $3 million, it would have been worth Hathaway's time to at least hear him out. Some people view this whole episode as a public relations nightmare for Burton. On the contrary, it's a disaster for UConn. It's also one that could've been easily avoided.
Do you think UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway made a mistake in hiring Paul Pasqualoni?
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