Ex-USC Coach Steve Sarkisian Is Making A Joke Out Of A Terrible Disease
According to HR Hero,
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination against disabled workers... The ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) expands upon the interpretation of the ADA's coverage and the definition of what disabilities are covered under it.
It's important you read the above statement clearly, so that you can make an informed opinion about former USC head football coach Steve Sarkisian.
Yesterday, news broke that Sarkisian is suing the University of Southern California for over $30 million for wrongful termination, among other things. Sark is claiming the school fired him instead of trying to get him help for his alcoholism.
The suit alleges USC "kicked him to the curb."
Sark's attorney, Alan Loewinsohn, said,
Alcoholism is a recognized disability under California law. So firing somebody because of that disability is against the law.
The 41-year-old Sarkisian was fired via email by athletic director Pat Haden on October 12, just a day after he had an apparent intoxicated meltdown at a USC football facility.
According to Sarkisian's lawsuit, he wasn't drunk at the October 11 team meeting, he had just been drinking the night before and only appeared smashed because he took perspiration medication before the meeting.
#TurnUpSC — Steve Sarkisian (@CoachSark) July 18, 2014
This was not Sarkisian's first alcohol-related issue during his less-than-two-year stint as SC's head football coach. The Trojans got a whiff of Sark's problems at last August's Salute to Troy, an annual USC football kickoff event attended by numerous big-time donors.
At that event, Sarkisian slurred his words during his speech and then dropped an f-bomb while attempting a rally cry. He was escorted off the stage before he could finish.
According to his lawsuit, Sarkisian claims he consumed two light beers and prescription anxiety medication, which is why he appeared absolutely smashed at the event.
The lawsuit also claims athletic director Haden met with him afterward and had Sarkisian sign a letter apologizing and promising to meet once a week with a therapist.
USC has responded to Sarkisian's suit with a written statement, saying,
Much of what is stated in the lawsuit ... is patently untrue. The record will show that Mr. Sarkisian repeatedly denied to university officials that he had a problem with alcohol, never asked for time off to get help and resisted university efforts to provide him with help.
Before taking over as head coach at USC in 2013, Steve Sarkisian led the University of Washington football team for five seasons. Those familiar with that program know that what's transpired at USC over the last few years is simply more of the same for the troubled Sarkisian.
The LA Times interviewed more than 24 people with knowledge of Sark's tenure at Washington and combed through numerous records, all of which paint the picture of an alcoholic looking to take advantage of the legal system, the University of Southern California, the general public and others who suffer from alcoholism.
The following is what the Times discovered:
In September of 2010, during a one-night recruiting trip, Sark dropped $125.01 at the lobby bar of the Hyatt Regency in Long Beach.
In July of 2011, he racked up a one-day total of $170.47 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. He was reportedly in town for the ESPYs.
On May 7, 2011, Steve Sarkisian ordered room service at the JW Marriott at the L.A. Live, which included a $90 bottle of Veuve Clicquot champagne, six beers and chocolate.
On June 5, 2011, the 41-year-old paid a bill for $722.52 at the Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Washington. That tab included 83 beers and 12 shots of Grey Goose.
At a 2012 Pac-12 meeting, Sarkisian totaled $106 in minibar charges at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix.
In April of 2012, at the Duchess Tavern in Seattle, Sarkisian gave an alleged drunken speech at the annual alumni gathering before Washington's first spring game.
Bill Resler, a University of Washington professor who attended that event, said,
When he got off the bar, he was unsteady, looked like he had been over-served, and sat down, looked a little embarrassed that he was in that state.
On January 8, 2013, Sarkisian and three coaching assistants headed to Rippy's in Nashville, where they downed four shots of Patron Silver, four shots of something else and five beers... all before noon.
In March of 2012, and again in March of 2013, Steve Sarkisian expensed $1,023.00 in alcohol at Don Diego's in Indian Wells, California. There were at least 91 shots of tequila consumed at those gatherings, much of which was Patron Silver.
After the incident with Sarkisian this past August, Danny Shelton, who currently plays for the Cleveland Browns and was one of Sarkisian's most-talented players at Washington, tweeted,
I would've made him run the stadium with a 6 pack since he wanna drink so much lol.
Michael Hartvigson, another of Sarkisian's former players, also wasn't surprised to hear about what happened to his former coach.
Coach Sark is still having fun at USC! #ThingsHaven'tChanged — Michael Hartvigson (@OneMike84) August 23, 2015
Frankly, the University of Southern California shouldn't have been either.
The only thing USC appears guilty of is failing to properly look into the background of Steve Sarkisian before hiring him to lead young men and set an example for them.
The LA Times and numerous other publications did their homework, why didn't Pat Haden and SC?
The ambiguities of the ADA will undoubtedly be tested by Steve Sarkisian's legal counsel in the coming months. Through this process, though, let's not forget about the 88,000 deaths that are attributed to excessive alcohol use every year.
Sarkisian claims he's now sober and ready to return to coaching.
He says he was inspired to seek help after seeing the likes of CC Sabathia and other high-profile athletes, which is a direct insult to Sabathia and those who sought help and came forward in order to inspire others, not make a small fortune.
Steve Sarkisian has a problem, and awarding him $30 million and allowing him to coach college football again is not the answer.
Citations: USC calls Sarkisian lawsuit claims 'patently untrue' (Los Angeles Times), Receipt Sarkisian, 3 other Washington coaches bought 8 shots and 5 beers before noon (Los Angeles Times), STEVE SARKISIAN SUES USC YOU FIRED ME OVER MY DISABILITY Wants More Than $30 Mil (Update) (TMZ), Documents, former players point to Steve Sarkisian's alcohol use at Washington (Los Angeles Times)