Texas lineman Moro Ojomo on a break after speaking to the media

Moro Ojomo denounced Texas' team culture, much to the dismay of coach Steve Sarkisian.

Moro Ojomo denounced Texas’ team culture, much to the dismay of coach Steve Sarkisian.

As a journalist, I’m always skeptical when someone isn’t allowed to speak. So when I read that Texas senior defensive lineman Moro Ojomo was taking a Steve Sarkisian-mandated break from speaking to reporters “for a while” after criticizing Longhorn’s culture, my immediate reaction was to ask me why.

First, here’s what Ojomo had to say about his young teammates and the general vibe in Austin (by ESPN).

They are young people aged 18 to 22 who want to chase women, money, alcohol and they don’t see the future. They are distracted by what is in front of them. It’s such a hard thing, especially guys who haven’t been in a winning culture.

They always talk about coming here and changing stuff. It’s like rooted. You uproot, what? 10 years of shit that was just let loose.

Now here’s Sarkissian’s explanation for cutting off a fifth-year senior who’s been in college longer than him.

“It’s kind of disheartening for a guy to make a statement and all of a sudden we have a team full of guys who like to do things outside of the program that we don’t buy into.

“He shouldn’t have done that in public. If you’re a family, you don’t go out and talk about family matters. You take care of things internally. I think his intentions were good, but the delivery and the forum he used were poor.

I largely agree that calling out teammates in the media creates a distraction, and it wasn’t fair for Ojomo’s teammates to speak on their behalf. That said, he didn’t name anyone in particular, and that kind of honesty means a lot more coming from a peer than from a coach. And Ojomo said it, according to 247 Sports.

“Whatever senior class is game-changing for Texas is going to be hugely memorable because it’s the players. Coaches come and go. Players have to take a stand and say, ‘Enough. Seven and six BS Texas don’t happen more. We’ve got the ability. We’ve got the talent. Have the right mind. We’re going to win.'”

It looks like Ojomo is pleading for some responsibility, but he’s the only one who has it. Also note that Sark did not categorically deny the accusations made by his player. If this culture hasn’t already been addressed internally, it should be. If so, it clearly didn’t take because there is definitely a problem. The long list of embarrassing stories and the even longer list of embarrassing losses are more than enough evidence that the program lacks direction and leadership.

In the 2021 season alone, they had something called #MonkeyGate, when an assistant coach’s stripper girlfriend’s pet monkey attacked a cheater. (She blamed the kid.) A coach lost his shit on the team bus after their loss to Iowa State, and his tirade was caught on video by one of the players he was berating, who posted it. Sark and receiver Joshua Moore had an altercation in training. Moore transferred. So does starting quarterback Casey Thompson. The team finished 5-7 despite consistently busy recruiting classes. That record was good for seventh place in the Big 12. Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Baylor, Iowa State, and West Virginia all finished the season ahead of Texas.

That said, a bunch of old withholding donations because they are upset that they cannot sing the racist school song before every game speaks to a raving fan base. Disappointing to downright bad teams have been the norm in Austin since Mack Brown left, so maybe they don’t know their team is a clown show despite the circus going on in front of them.

If I’m Sarkisian, I’m glad one of my seniors is sick of his teammates acting like they’re God’s gift to football and emphatically expressed his dissatisfaction with their legitimate behavior. Sark doesn’t have that kind of dressing room juice, and neither does Ojomo. (Although he can now.)

Monsignor, somebody give this defensive lineman a podium and a microphone and get outta here. He said something true, and now what are you going to do, close his case?

No, promote him to team captain, line him up to appear on a few podcasts, support him, listen to him. Anything but silence him.

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