Those are the take-aways from Greg Sullivan's piece in today's Tennessean. Implicitly, the piece is also about what a hoser Randy Edsall is.
Here's what Franklin said on 104.5 the Zone, yesterday: "I don’t like innuendos and comments being made about tampering and things like that." He went on to say, "You guys know me. I’m the type of guy, I’m going to have relationships with my players. I hope to have relationships with the guys that play for me for the rest of my life. But the fact that people would make accusations that we tampered or did this or did that, again, I’m just going to defend our program and defend our character and how we do things. But I think it’s ridiculous to think that I’m not going to have relationships with these kids after I leave places.” Take that, Randy.
Vice Chancellor Williams defended his coach, saying James Franklin had not done anything wrong. But here's the money quote: "I know the AD at Maryland (Kevin Anderson) really well. I’m sure if that were the case he would pick up the phone and call and let me know . . . I would be somewhat surprised if that is a restriction on them. I’ve been surprised before, though." The story goes on to say that Kevin Anderson declined comment through a spokesmen.
This quote is great for a couple reasons: first and foremost, VCDW has given Maryland and their Athletic Director an out and perhaps more importantly, a way to save face. Edsalls's coverage throughout the Washington areas has been well documented (if you haven't already, read Sally Jenkins' piece in yesterday's Washington Post to see how far Edsall's stock has fallen) and was bad before he started holding these 3 players hostage. As I wrote yesterday, there is still time for Kevin Anderson and the Maryland Athletic Department to do the right thing. VCDW is giving them the opportunity to do so in an magnamious way. Second, with this statement, VCDW is personally calling out Anderson and saying "man up." Personal relationships are often over-looked in sports, and Williams and Anderson are, in many respects, in the same fox hole. Moreover, you know Williams and Anderson have some kind of relationship since VCDW needed to call him to get permission to talk to Franklin in the first place. Finally, by saying he'd be "surprised," Williams is applying moral pressure to the situation. Whenever you say something to the effect of, "that's not how we do business," you are implicitly looking down on those people who do do business that way. There's a reason Kevin Anderson refused comment through a spokesmen.
It should be said that I would be surprised if there are 10 people in America who were bigger fans of David Williams than I am (excluding those who aren related to him by blood or marriage, of course). With that in mind, I hope you will excuse my cheerleading. But just because I'm a VCDW-homer doesn't mean I'm wrong. With these statements, Williams is putting the screws to Kevin Anderson and Randy Edsall in a particuarly deft way.
This thing is far from over, and the comments in today's paper say to me that Vanderbilt is very interested in joining the fray.