Dear Hugh Freeze,
This past weekend, you apologized to the Ole Miss family with an open letter about your failings and hopes for the future. The apology was a well-formed statement from a downtrodden coach who could have stayed in the dark, living off the riches success at Ole Miss provides.
To your credit, you didn’t. You said you believe you owe the Ole Miss family an apology for the pain and disappointment you’ve caused us. We agree.
The honest truth is you don’t “owe” Ole Miss much. You gave us victories over Alabama (twice). You gave us first-round picks and five-star recruits. We could see what you were building when your teams won seven games in your first year, eight in your second, nine in your third and 10 in your fourth.
We finally had well-founded hope in consistent winning seasons and a bump-up to the SEC’s first tier. And then the NCAA showed up and proved things that look too good to be true often are.
There is another truth to this story, though. You are right. You owed us an apology, and you have since July 20, 2017. Where was it?
For two months since your resignation, we’ve listened to rumors about your well-being and the NCAA. We have spent two months trying to concentrate through a storm of off-field controversies about a hopeful football team with your fingerprints all over it.
We have spent two months deserving more than this apology you gave us, and we deserved it sooner.
In fairness, you have struggled with apologies in the past. Your first remarks after you resigned were cheesy, typical and focused on you and your image. This apology goes further, but not as far as we expected. So it appears you acknowledge your mistakes only to try to defend your image once again.
Saying, “While some of the things being reported about the matter are inaccurate, or in some cases completely false …” is hurtful. There is no room for this line in a sincere, purposeful apology.
It shows you’re still worried about your public image, and that begs the question: Was the apology just a publicity act? Were these your actual, heartfelt words, or is a publicist helping you find a new job? There are a lot of question marks.
That being said, we still believe in you, Hugh Freeze. A lot of us hope you are a good man who is struggling with — but solving — some issues in your life. And after two months, you finally gave Ole Miss fans the chance to forgive you for your personal failings, and you acknowledged that there is not a good answer for the pain you’ve caused.
Hugh, we have moved on, and though it may take some time, all will be forgiven eventually. But you’re right. There isn’t a good answer to any of this. We just had hoped there was a better one. We deserved a better one.
The Ole Miss Family