Mike Leach might’ve officially lost it.
Late Sunday night, the Washington State head coach tweeted out a doctored video of President Barack Obama and then spent the next four hours fighting with random accounts over the veracity of the video. As of Monday morning, Leach’s original tweet is still up; you can see a screenshot below for when it inevitably gets deleted. Neither Washington State’s president or athletic director responded to Deadspin’s request for comment.
The video linked by Leach is below, in which a clearly doctored audio track is used to make it seem as though President Obama told the crowd on-hand that, “ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, but order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign.”
Just to be clear, here is a link to the actual transcript of the speech, which Obama gave in Brussels in March 2014. The small-minded bit was part of a larger point the then-president was making against the idea that the average citizen shouldn’t handle decisions (emphasis mine):
Those ideals have often been threatened by an older, more traditional view of power. This alternative vision argues that ordinary men and women are too small-minded to govern their own affairs, that order and progress can only come when individuals surrender their rights to an all-powerful sovereign. Often, this alternative vision roots itself in the notion that by virtue of race or faith or ethnicity, some are inherently superior to others, and that individual identity must be defined by “us” versus “them,” or that national greatness must flow not by what a people stand for, but by what they are against.
In many ways, the history of Europe in the 20th century represented the ongoing clash of these two sets of ideas, both within nations and among nations. The advance of industry and technology outpaced our ability to resolve our differences peacefully, and even among the most civilized of societies, on the surface we saw a descent into barbarism.
And to be clearer, here’s a video breaking down just how someone designed this clearly fake video.
The most troubling part isn’t that Leach tweeted out the fake video. Leach’s feed looks basically like that of an uncle who’s starting to show early signs of brain rot by meme—in the span of 24 hours, he retweeted Sebastian Gorka, Donald Trump, and Jim Rome. Depressingly, even for someone insulated by wealth like Leach, one’s checking account doesn’t determine how susceptible a person is to this shit (that’s determined by your average Fox News intake).
No, the worst part is that the Cougars head football coach, the highest paid public employee in the state of Washington, with $3.5 million in annual salary, spent the next four hours battling with Twitter users, never admitting the video was fake. Again, these tweets are still up and you can check them out on Leach’s feed here; just in case they get nerfed, here’s an archived feed of the madness (start on page 14):
In most cases like this, when someone in power sips on the Sunday evening whiskey a bit too long, a caring friend or groggy PR flak will rush over and snatch their phone. This did not happen, and now this is how I’m starting my week, truthering Mike Leach about the NWO.
Update (12:17 p.m. ET): Leach responded to the uproar this morning, positing that the video he posted was “incomplete,” but that “discussion on how much or how little power that our Gov should have is important.” Again, the video Leach posted was not “incomplete,” it was edited and stitched together to pass along a false message designed to enrage and engage those foolish and lazy enough to believe it on first pass. As Leach proved, it worked perfectly.
Update (1:01 p.m. ET): Two updates, actually. First, Leach deleted the original tweet. Second, and more surprising, Washington State spokesperson Phil Weiler passed along the following statement, side-stepping the matter completely:
Thanks for your inquiry. As a private citizen, Mike Leach is entitled to his personal opinions. Coach Leach’s political views do not necessarily reflect the views of Washington State University students, faculty and staff.