Swann Song

Lynn Swann is a former NFL wide receiver who was inducted into pro football’s Hall of Fame in 2001. He has been athletic director at the University of Southern California since 2016. This past week Swann has been heavily criticized by LA media for refusing to fire USC football coach Clay Helton after the team finished a losing season in which it was badly outplayed in most games. The implication seems to be that if Helton is going to be retained, then Swann should be fired.

Maybe so. It might be noted that, at a time when African-American athletes, especially pro football players, have taken very public stands against police brutality, the prison industrial complex, and the inequalities that define American society, Swann has kept quiet.

That comes as no surprise. Lynn Swann says he would like to have as much money as Bill Gates. Gates’s foundation is a major investor in private prisons. Swann, after having often introduced President Bush when he ran for re-election, ran unsuccessfully for governor of Pennsylvania in 2006 as a Republican on a program of lowering corporate taxes even further. His running mate, mortgage banker Jim Matthews, was later convicted of perjury. Swann, who’s served on the boards of Hershey and H.J. Heinz, didn’t even bother to vote in the majority of elections in which he could have participated.

Swann endorsed presidential candidates John McCain, Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush. Lynn Swann may have four Super Bowl rings, but he is an all around loser. With him as athletic director, look for USC football to continue to follow him down that path, a once proud program now stumbling in the dust.

Lee Ballinger, CounterPunch’s music columnist, is co-editor of Rock and Rap Confidential author of the forthcoming book Love and War: My First Thirty Years of Writing, interviewed Honkala for CounterPunch. RRRC is now available for free by emailing Ballinger at: rockrap@aol.com.