Notre Dame radio analyst: 'Criminals' make teams better

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer
Tommy Rees was suspended one game following an altercation with the police in May. (Getty Images)

Allen Pinkett spent the 1982 through 1985 college football seasons playing running back at Notre Dame. He left the school as its all-time leading rusher, and now currently serves as a radio analyst for Notre Dame football games.

Though apparently all that time on the radio didn't help Pinkett choose his words better when doing interviews. Pinkett appeared on The McNeil and Spiegel Show on Chicago's 670 The Score and said he thinks having more "criminals" on your team leads to success.

“I've always felt like, to have a successful team, you gotta have a few bad citizens on the team,” Pinkett told the show. “I mean, that's how Ohio State used to win all the time. They would have two or three guys that were criminals. That just adds to the chemistry of the team. I think Notre Dame is growing because maybe they have some guys that are doing something worthy of a suspension, which creates edge on the football team. You can't have a football team full of choir boys. You get your butt kicked if you have a team full of choir boys. You gotta have a little bit of edge, but the coach has to be the dictator and ultimate ruler.”

Pinkett would then clarify what he meant by "criminals."

“I don't want any mass murders or rapists,” Pinkett said. “I want guys that maybe get caught drinking that are underage, or guys that maybe got arrested because they got in a fight at a bar, or guys that are willing to cuss in public and don't mind the repercussions of it. That's the type of criminal I'm talking about.”

In other words, Pinkett doesn't want "criminals" he wants college kids acting like college kids.

Understandably, Pinkett is taking a lot of heat for his remarks.

First of all, referring to any kid who gets in trouble with the law as a criminal is just a terrible choice of words. There's no defending that.

Secondly, having kids getting into bar fights isn't what leads to football teams winning games or better chemistry in the locker room. Having more talent and better coaches leads to football teams winning games.

This whole "criminal" notion is just idiotic. When you have 124 FBS teams handing out 85 scholarships that means there are 10,540 football players on scholarship in FBS. Some of them are going to get arrested, just like a certain number of 10,540 writers or accountants would get arrested.

You don't become a better accountant by getting pinched for a DUI.

UPDATE: Pinkett released a statement about his comments on Wednesday evening.

"In reviewing my remarks from a radio interview Wednesday, it's clear that I chose my words poorly and that an apology is in order for these inappropriate comments. My words do not reflect the strong pride and passion I have for the Notre Dame football program.

"I am deeply sorry and did not intend to take away the focus from the upcoming season opener. I especially would like to offer my sincere apology to the current members of Notre Dame's football team, including Coach Kelly, the entire Notre Dame community, the IMG College Audio Network and the Ohio State football program. As a proud Notre Dame graduate, I wish nothing but the best for our football team and the University.

"I understand that there may be consequences to my actions and accept whatever discipline is imposed."

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