Maybe it would be more of an uproar if more students here knew who Paul Palmer is and the type of legacy he brings to a football program that continues to shoot itself in the foot.
Athletics director Bill Bradshaw, who has been instrumental in trying to boost the football program, was the one who pulled the trigger this time.
For those unaware, Palmer was fired from his position as a sideline reporter during Temple football radio broadcasts after an incident that occurred following a 45-17 loss at Toledo two weekends ago.
Bradshaw dismissed the school legend after Palmer let his emotions get the best of him when his girlfriend was not given clearance to board the team’s charter flight after the Owls lost to the Rockets.
According to reports and an article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Palmer went on a tirade when he was informed his girlfriend wasn’t allowed on the flight.
Ultimately, his bitter words toward his boss cost him his job. The school was paying him a small fee for his work.
One source said Palmer had asked someone in the program weeks beforehand about the arrangement, but that he never checked back again until the weekend of the game. Palmer had tried to check with others within the program, but Bradshaw is the only person who had final say.
Efforts to reach Bradshaw for comment were unsuccessful.
Palmer’s girlfriend was in Toledo on business, and he was told to check back with the administration about getting her on the flight back to Philadelphia following the Toledo game. The same source indicated that Palmer did not do that.
But was it that big of a deal for Bradshaw to at least show a little latitude toward one of the program’s all-time greatest players?
Palmer is arguably one of the most extolled players in the program’s history.
A running back who played for the Owls from 1983 to 1986, he set 16 records, including the all-time rushing mark of 4,895 yards. The next closest player to him is Tanardo Sharps, a 2002 graduate who is a distant second with 3,260 yards.
If you can believe it, Palmer’s exploits earned him national recognition as a Heisman Trophy candidate in 1986. He then played three seasons in the NFL and one year in Europe.
Sure, Palmer is 18 years removed from his collegiate success, but the accommodation could have been made. The flight did have available seating, too, even if it was to accommodate larger players on the team.
Bradshaw might have figured that if he allowed Palmer’s girlfriend to get on the flight, other people within the program might also think it was OK.
Evidently, Bradshaw was trying to set a precedent. That’s understandable.
But while the season trudges along with one lopsided loss after another, this snafu doesn’t help matters for a program in dire need of repairs.
Coincidentally, as this issue tries to subside, Homecoming arrives Saturday with a 1-4 Temple team taking on Pittsburgh at Lincoln Financial Field. The Owls have lost their four games by an average of 33.7 points.
Though Palmer didn’t pursue the matter in a professional manner, it doesn’t look good for a struggling program to fire one of its all-time greats at a time when nothing seems to be going well.
It’s not as if Palmer was always asking for favors on a frequent basis and that this was the one request that broke Bradshaw’s back.
In the Inquirer, Bradshaw said Palmer’s girlfriend “did not meet the criteria” to be on the plane. What exactly does that mean?
It would have been a small favor for a person who represents something positive about the program. Apparently Bradshaw didn’t see it that way.
Jason Haslam can be reached at email@example.com.