April 16, 2009

Texas Tech's Leach talks about Somali pirates

LUBBOCK, Texas - After Texas Tech's practice on Wednesday, coach Mike Leach, whose enthusiasm for pirates has become part of his identity, was asked about the growing number of piracy acts off of the coast of Somalia.

As usual, Leach did not disappoint with his answers.

"I get texts once and a while [about the incidents]," Leach said. "I've got to believe that even their Somali pirate friends are going to kill some of those folks that messed with American ships. Because, up to this point, they hadn't really done that.

"It can't be much tougher than Grenada to straighten that situation out, I wouldn't think. We'll see what happens."

Leach was then asked, jokingly, if he would be willing to act as an intermediary during negotiations.

"I don't think they need an intermediary," he said. "They need somebody to go clean that deal out. Whoever that leader of the SEALs is, I think he's got it right. I think you ought to get the Navy SEALs out, have a long weekend, and go have their fun."

Though it may have just entered the public consciousness recently, with the capture and subsequent rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, pirates have been active off of the coast of Somalia since the early 1990s.

"I'm surprised it's gone on to this point," Leach said. "You just pay them off and the rest. But if you stabilize the government, and they're able to feed their people, that stuff is less likely to happen. At some point, then you put criminals in jail. I don't know, we'll see.

"Americans do have the ability to ruthlessly get behind their causes for a short term. I think these pirates are a short-term problem. I don't think that it's going to turn out well for them."


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