Steve Sarkisian stumbled out of the gate during his introductory press conference at Texas. The 46-year-old head coach fully jumped into the turbulent waters surrounding the song "The Eyes of Texas" and may have drowned his tenure in the process.
When asked about the controversy surrounding "The Eyes of Texas" Sarkisian responded forcefully:
That's going to go over like a lead balloon with his players.
Remember, over the summer, Texas' athletes came together and called for major changes to the university's athletics department. That included removing "The Eyes of Texas" as the school's signature song. The song has a history rooted in racism and players did not want to be associated with it, let along be forced to stand for and sing it after football games.
At one point during the 2020 season, Texas' players were forced to stand during the song after games, though many refused to sing and didn't look thrilled about it. In the weeks before that, some players had stayed on the field for the song, while others went to the locker room.
The fact that Sarkisian went out of his way to energetically support the song instead of allowing his players to make the decision was a massive misstep on the first day of his tenure. An easy solution would have been saying he was willing to listen to what his players and leaders at the university had to say before making a decision, etc. Or even just dodging the question by saying he needed to look into it more deeply. Instead, he stepped into a huge pile of sh*t during his first day on the job.
The fact that Sarkisian said his team is going to "sing that proudly" is disturbing, especially given the racist history of the song. It won't be long before he wishes he could take those words back.