Being a great fan is difficult. We are constantly inundated with images of teams winning championships, players making money, and clichés about "the heart of a champion." It is such a fast paced environment that it operates in an out of sight, out of mind fashion. How many times did you think about the LA Kings in August? My guess would be very few.
Even though it is difficult to avoid moving from season-to-season, coach-to-coach, star-player to star-payer, the USC community needs to stick with Steve Sarkisian.
Offensive coordinator Clay Helton is the new interim Head Coach. After this season there will be a permanent hire. USC will win games and recruit high-end players as they always do. But we cannot just move on from this debacle. Not this time.
Say what you will about his football coaching abilities, but this issue is deeper than football and Coach Sarkisian deserves our support as he works through his drinking problem.
Like many, I thought his offseason drunken tirade was a case of having a few too many drinks with boosters. Anyone can have a bad night. But clearly this issue runs much deeper. From high cost Tequila bills to reports of drinking on the job (Pat Haden was also quoted of saying on Sunday that it was "clear to me that he was not healthy"), news of Sark's drinking kept surfacing. The LA Times published a fantastic piece on his drinking problems at Washington, which can be found here, claiming that Sarkisian's drinking at UW became a "running joke" among players. All of this showed me one thing: Steve Sarkisian has a serious problem.
According to SB Nation, Sark checked into rehab following his leave from the USC football team. It is the first step in facing this head on, and the best thing for him. USC could have been a release for Sarkisian, but could also have been a distraction. A distraction from his illness. An excuse to avoid seeking help.
By releasing Sarkisian from his coaching duties, USC is allowing and helping him to regain control of his alcoholism. It is now up to USC and its fan base to encourage and support their former coach.
Pat Haden's decision is the start, but WE are the continuation.
The USC Trojans of 2015 and 2016 are better without Steve Sarkisian on the field. His issues were apparent and his team was underperforming. But we cannot forget Sark. We cannot leave him behind in the heap of failed Trojan coaches. USC is a tremendous community of leaders, donors, and genuinely good people. I believe Sark is a quality individual. His life is at stake, both figuratively and literally. We cannot let him down. We must support him.
Steve Sarkisian gave the Trojan football team everything he could. We owe him nothing less than that as he battles his illness.