Wednesday, December 24, 2008

You're out of order...

A lot of people are talking about Rob Parker, the columnist for the Detroit News who asked Rod Marinelli if he wished his daughter had married a better defensive coordinator. Marinelli blew off the question during the press conference that followed Detroit’s 42-7 loss to the Saints but later he expressed his anger and now that people have taken his side he’s expressing it more. Anything to distract people from the fact that his team is 0-15 on the year thanks in large part to a defense that gives up a lot of points. A defense that happens to be coached by his son-in-law.

Now Marinelli gets to play the role of concerned father. He’s putting his foot down and won’t allow his daughter to be attacked by the likes of Parker which is what you expect a family man to do…except for the fact that Parker didn’t say or imply anything about Marinelli’s daughter.

The object in question is Marinelli’s judgment. His daughter might be a great girl and her husband, Joe Barry, is probably a swell guy who’s only guilty of not being able to coach a defense. Rob Parker isn’t casting aspersions on either of them. The issue is whether Marinelli is letting his love for his daughter interfere with the business of football. The Lions are on the verge of becoming the first 0-16 team in the history of the NFL. If Marinelli is compromising his staff because of nepotism it’s a valid topic for discussion.

Terry Bradshaw threw a bit of a tizzy over the question and a lot of other people are chiming in. They think Parker should be fired because he made it personal.


Marinelli made it personal. This issue is why most successful companies have very strict policies about the employment of family members. It’s hard to fire your son-in-law. Parker’s question is just a snarky way of asking why if Marinelli is letting his personal relationship with his staff affect his managerial decisions. It’s a valid question that deserves an honest answer. Rod Marinelli gets paid a lot of money and he has to answer for his team’s performance.

Instead, Marinelli saw an opportunity to throw his daughter in front of the question and pretend it was an attack on her. The reality is that nobody cares about the little tramp. We want to know if Marinelli is more willing to face the consequences of an 0-16 season than he is to face his daughter when her husband is staring down a 30% cut in pay.

I think Rob Parker’s question was funny but I’m not surprised Rod Marinelli didn’t see the humor in it. When you’re 0-15 you shouldn’t find the humor in anything, but you also don’t get to throw a pity party for yourself because your daughter’s marital status was the subject of a question.

There’s been some speculation that Marinelli might retain his job after this season is over. A lot of people believe that the Lions were hamstrung by Matt Millen’s ineptitude as a general manager and there’s no question that Rod Marinelli had his work cut out for him but 0-15 is simply inexcusable. Since he’s clearly not doing his job as far as winning football games, the least Marinelli can do is explain why he is not.

I can’t get behind Marinelli on this. He gets paid a lot of money and part of the job is answering tough questions. Rob Parker’s job is to ask them. Parker might have been snide in the way he asked the question and it’s possible that the question was actually rhetorical but it wasn’t out of line. The people who are upset with Parker are out of line. That goes double for Terry Bradshaw…stick with being the comic relief on the frat party Fox passes off as NFL analysis. Leave the real work to people more qualified.

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