A little more than a year ago, I wrote a post titled "Chris Rix Takes Irony to the Next Level." A copy of that post ran on BlogCritics Sports the following day. You see, I had stumbled upon a website for the Champion Training Academy, operated by former Florida State
disaster quarterback Chris Rix.
Anyone that follows college football remembers the absolute calamity that was his time as a Seminole both on and off the field. The irony of this Academy was simply amazing to me, so I took a few moments out of my evening to make light of the fact that someone widely remembered as a screw-up and team disappointment was attempting to mold young quarterbacks into champions and, most astonishingly, leaders.
Chris Rix was an amazing athlete coming out of Santa Margarita High School, and, clearly, he possessed a good deal of natural talent. But that’s what it takes to play Division I football, and, particularly, start 4 years at Florida State. At least, it used to. But unless you’re one of his loved ones, it’s fair to say that natural talent notwithstanding, you know that his career was a comedy of errors. Sure, he could throw an 80 yard touchdown but leadership? Unless you call missing the Sugar Bowl because you slept through your finals "leadership," I don’t think so.
So a week after my post appeared on BlogCritics I received a patronizing e-mail with the subject line "no hard feelings" from one Chris Rix. I shared it with a few friends for laughs but it didn’t go any further. It seemed like a complete waste of time. But thanks to today’s events, that e-mail is coming out for you all to enjoy (I particularly liked the randomly erroneous use of quotation marks). Click to enlarge:
Now, what I wanted to say here was that the only people that he should be praying for are the parents too foolish to realize that they’re throwing their money away. Signing your kid up for leadership training with Chris Rix makes as much as sense as sending him to Ryan Leaf for mental toughness training.
But I refused to get into an email war with a guy that uses quotations around words to insinuate that they aren’t actually real. Look Chris, putting quotes around the word "mistakes" doesn’t erase your laundry list of screw ups at Florida State University.
In any case, all was quiet for 14 months and then this afternoon, I received this:
So not only did he lie about that "no hard feelings" business, but Rix has also proven that it really is too hard to focus on the positive. That must’ve been a sobering realization. Maybe he needs some prayer. That wouldn’t be patronizing to offer that, would it? Nah. But you know something, I can’t say I blame Rix for getting upset with me. When you’ve always been told that you’re great and believe it because you blocked out four seasons of memories in Tallahasee, it’s only natural to develop a sense of entitlement that enables you to threaten to sue people because they have the audacity to disagree with your opinion of your career. But I’m sorry to say that this is not how the world works. Maybe it did in Iraq circa 2002 when Rix was dropping yet another game to Miami, but not in America. The same America that allows him to teach leadership skills to children after failing miserably at it for so long, also grants me the right to share whatever opinion I please.
And in my opinion, the only person that ought to receive a lawsuit threat in this situation is Chris Rix for teaching things he’s never demonstrated an ability to do. That said, if parents are stupid enough to pay… but I digress.
So I laughed at him in a public forum? What, like I’m the first? The things said in my post pale in comparison to the vitriol (both fair and unfair) spewed about him both in print and the internet from 2001 – 2005. Are federal subpoenas en route to all of the other message boards, web sites and blogs out there? While it’s pretty clear that Rix doesn’t know how a subpoena works or what it actually is, maybe they’re also receiving threatening e-mails full of tough talk, bold font and capital letters as I type. I know "IMMEDIATELY" sure scared me into submission. Then again, maybe Rix wields the authority of the federal government to dispense justice. If so, I must have missed that memo but please allow me to throw out a "my bad" if that’s the case.
Now, if my posts contained libel, I’d understand his threat. But I didn’t make up lies about Rix or Champion Training Academy. I simply questioned the qualifications of Rix, who, as a primary instructor, claims to teach young quarterbacks qualities that – in my opinion – he never mastered. If Jim Kelly wrote a book titled "Winning the Super Bowl," or Michelle Wie ran an academy called "Making the Cut on the PGA Tour," I’d be within my rights to say, "Hey Jim? Uh, Michelle? Excuse me, but you know nothing about that."
I know this is all pretty painful Chris, but that’s how life goes. But I suppose if you don’t like it, you can get a Delorean and have a go at a career do-over, thus changing all of these posts into praise for your work at leadership camp. But since I don’t think Doc Brown will be rolling up to your house any time soon, you might want to grow thicker skin and get over yourself. I am not the first person to mock the fact that you’re running a leadership academy nor will I be the last – especially not now.
Like I said before – If you want to run a camp, fine. You were/are an exceptionally talented quarterback who clearly didn’t become the player you were supposed to be; I’m sure you have a lot of knowledge to impart to the youngins. But when you spend a career disregarding four of your own rules for being a champion quarterback, it is in my opinion that you forfeit the right to impart said "wisdom" on children who think you’re putting them on the fast track to the next level.
But who knows? Maybe some good can come of this little ordeal between you and I, Chris. After this attempt at intimidation goes nowhere, maybe you can start up another training academy called, "How to Successfully Sue People with Opinions Based on Valid Observations."