Second chances are over rated. They are especially frivolous when the transgressor is a 57-year old man who has been forewarned by his boss and has watched others suffer the consequences of their own misbehavior. It doesn't require a great deal of wisdom for a man to learn from his mistakes. And frankly, you don't have to be all that smart to learn from the mistakes of others. And by the time one ripens to the age of 57 years, a man would have to be a real dunderhead to have failed to learn the lessons that Mike Price failed to absorb.
During his tenure at Washington State University these sorts of difficulties never manifested themselves. Or, at least, they never made the newspapers. But then, there aren't that many topless bars to choose from around here. Virtue is easy in the absence of temptation.
Mike Price complained that he didn't get a second chance at the University of Alabama. But what exactly did Mike Price expect to learn from a second chance - that getting drunk in topless bars and propositioning strippers is wrong? I strongly suspect that Mike Price has known that for a long time. The only lesson he might have learned from another chance is the limit of this boss's tolerance. And how would that have helped Mike Price to grow? That's not a lesson in morality. That's a lesson in expediency and that lesson doesn't make one a better person - just a more calculating person.
The whole scene, as it is being reported in Sports Illustrated, seemed to have been choreographed in omens. The stage name of the topless dancer with whom Mike Price became alcoholically enamored performed under the stage name of "Destiny Boudreaux."
"I offered him a table dance. He tipped me $60," Boudreaux told Sports Illustrated. "Then he asked me to take him to the semi-private dance area. He got a little bad there. We have rules, and touching is not allowed.
"He told me I was the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen. He kept telling me he had a room at the hotel, and he wanted me to meet him there late that night. He was definitely persistent. I told him my husband was coming to pick me up after work, which he did, by the way."
Frankly, from the pictures I've seen, his eyesight is every bit as bad as his judgment. Oh well, as the old country song goes: "I never went to bed with an ugly woman, but I sure woke up with a few." Or, as another crooner opines, "The girls all get prettier at closing time."
So, the trouble started when he tried to arrange a rendezvous with Destiny. How much bolder could the writing on the wall have been?
I am more inclined to accept Mike Price's version of events in the hotel than Sports Illustrated's. Sports Illustrated reports that, after his topless bar escapades, Price had sex with two women in his room. Price claims he woke up (or came to) in his room fully dressed. I have my doubts about whether a drunken 57 year-old man could accomplish the feats Sports Illustrated credits him with.
But it's the denial of a second chance that so many of Price's allies bothered. Price's players at Alabama thought he deserved probation. A few of them are probably on probation themselves. His former players and assistants at WSU wonder why he wasn't given a chance to repent and repair.
"Whatever happened to a second chance in life?" Price asked. "I've been doing this for many years, and you don't have to go very many places to ask my players about second chances in life."
But, according to Alabama president Robert Witt, Mike Price was on at least his second chance. ''Coach Price had been warned several weeks before about his public conduct," Witt said. ''His conduct in Florida was not consistent with the warning he received."
Would a third, a fourth or a fifth chance have been enough?
Aside from the pain this episode has caused Mike Price's family, the really sad part is that Robert Witt will not hold his faculty to the standards he demands of his football coach. And in the end, what is a university really supposed to be about?