First, let me say that I saw this tweet the other day and chose not to speculate further by what Lyerla meant:
Give an inch and they'll take a mile.
Turns out he was referring to the misrepresentation of what was reported about the Saturday/Sunday conversation Lyerla had with a member of the media. As Colt said yesterday the intent of what he said to Quick was not to complain about Helfrich's statement being unfair, but in how the interpretations of the statement were unfair. The reporter, of course, was one of the first to jump on the speculative bandwagon and tweet out his speculation shortly after Saturday's post game presser.
And, you know what, Colt is right; give them an inch and they will take a mile.
It was irresponsible for the media to tweet out speculation. It was irresponsible for Lyerla to speak with the media before speaking with the coach.
But, was it irresponsible for the coach to use the world "circumstances" instead of a different statement? I would be inclined to say it was save for one problem; when he used the same word; the same EXACT word, two weeks prior to describe Erik Dungy's absence nary an eyebrow was raised and no one was calling the coach irresponsible or accusing him of "trying to be too funny" or "too cutesy" with his answers to the media.
Why is that? Because Lyerla is a star?
No. The reason it became an issue is two fold. One, simply put, a media member decided to make it an issue. But the second is the manner in which it resonated with the fans. Colt Lyerla has been something of a local legend for quite some time due to his incredible athletic prowess. His youtube videos make him a sensation.
Because of his practically mythical status amongst Oregon fans, all 60,000 in attendance seem to feel a sort of "insider" arrangement with Lyerla and his past. Everyone, it seems, knows something about him. Or claims to know something about him.
Rumors have swirled since the moment he announced at the Army All-America game that he would be choosing Oregon. Some said he would never graduate; others said he had "influeces" talking him away from football. If Lyerla had been from California, no one in Oregon would be claiming this "inside" information; and no one would be speculating every time he misses a practice.
To show just how silly some of the speculation it, there were those that speculated he missed the game for academic reasons. Do any of them realize that summer classes had already been cleared prior to fall camp and that fall classes had not yet started?
The reality is that the television broadcast had already talked about the illness that had affected several players for the team.
But, information is not enough for some people. The feel it necessary to create a salaciousness to draw attention to themselves; or their employer.
Mark Helfrich, for his part, did address the situation publicly yesterday with this quote:
“Certainly to Colt and the other guys I’ve used (circumstances) with in describing them ... in no way, shape or form was that ever intended to be negative.”
Do you see what he did there? He pointed out for those in media and the public in general who are too dense to see the light that he has used the term "circumstances" to describe the absence of other players.
The situation is resolved. Sort of.
Calling a player directly, regardless of what method you acquired his phone number, violates Oregon athletic department policy. I am sure some private action has already taken place between the athletic department and those involved who violated policy.
For the rest of the Oregon fans, it should be enough to know that Helfrich and Lyerla have "hugged it out."
All is good. We can carry on with our lives. Well, at least until the next "insider" decides to speak.