Like many of you, I woke up this morning and read the story in the Star-Telegram about Patterson having berated the team doctor during the SMU game about Ed Wesley's availability to play (I linked to the story in this morning's Dump, but here it is again).
Before you form an opinion on the matter, it's probably wise to also read the story that spawned the story, so here is Kevin B. O'Reilly's article from American Medical News.
If you really want to get worked up about this, my advice to you is to visit message boards and blogs for SMU, Baylor, Tech, BYU, etc, etc. They are going to have a field day with this, and will probably be saying a lot of terrible things about Patterson and the TCU program. It's just what happens on the internet, and we've certainly done that to other programs when they've had bad press.
How far will it go beyond internet chatter? Concussions are definitely the "it" story right now, and American Medical News and apparently the Star-Telegram have both already decided to capitalize on the news flavor of the month by casting Patterson as a villain. So what's to stop ESPN, Sports Illustrated, 60 Minutes, etc, from further sensationalizing and inflating this story? Probably nothing. When the media wants a target, they usually get it.
If, and I think that's a big if, this story ends up blowing up, it will more or less follow this script: they'll label Patterson as a coach that doesn't care about his players' safety, and they'll portray him as a tyrant who doesn't respect the opinions of anyone else. They'll also try to draw comparisons to the Mike Leach situation at Tech, because nothing would help continue the story like a dispute over the job status of a high-profile coach.
But I highly doubt Patterson wants to jeopardize the future of his team (and make no mistake...the next two years will rely heavily on Wesley's ball-carrying ability) by endangering the health of his running back. Should he have so publicly berated the doctor? Probably not, but is it really news that Patterson has a temper? And is this the first time a doctor has ever experienced any sort of resistance when they've made the call to sideline a star player? Hell, my high school coach yelled at our team doctor if anyone was shut down during a game...for anything.
As for the comparisons to the Leach situation, remember that the administration at Tech didn't like Mike Leach and was looking for a reason to fire him. They also had super helicopter parent and national media bitch Craig James on their side. TCU loves Patterson, and if he's gonna have a few Woody Hayes moments along the way to glory, I think they can live with that.
I do think that Patterson could use this as a learning experience and, in the future, be a little more diplomatic with the medical staff. That being said, I don't want a watered-down GP roaming the sidelines handing out gold stars and lollipops. He's a high-intensity guy, and everyone involved with the program (the doctors included) have benefitted from his success.
I despise people who demand apologies from other people, so I won't do it. I do think he could, like Andy Pettitte, make this whole thing go away with an apology. Or he could just go out and take care of business against Air Force on Saturday. I'm betting on the latter.