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COLUMN: A spell-check of a name, and we’ll take it

by FRITZ NEIGHBOR
Daily Inter Lake | October 15, 2021 1:36 AM

About five minutes into his introductory press conference this week Rich Bisaccia gently corrected a writer on the pronunciation of his name.

“Bis-SOTCH-ee-uh,” he said, peering over his reading glasses, a 61-year-old taking his first questions as an NFL coach. “Bis-SOTCH-ee-uh,” he repeated.

We all know what happened with former Las Vegas Raiders coach Jon Gruden, with his murder doll face and his lack of a) respect for diversity and b) intelligence RE: paper trails.

Good riddance to Chuckie, and let us get the pronunciation (and spelling) of Bisaccia nailed down. I’m no Raiders fan — this is a Denver Broncos house from the days of Floyd Little bouncing out of tackles — but I can root for this guy.

The other guy? A shocking display of bigotry has been uncovered, or leaked, and more disturbing to me is how comfortable he was exchanging these views with the president of Washington’s football team and God knows who else up and across the NFL.

One wonders what more those 650,000 emails might expose — if we might have to burn the league to the ground and start over.

In his opening statement Bisaccia noted that he owes a lot to the former Raiders coach, who hired him as special teams coordinator at Tampa Bay the year the Buccaneers won their first Super Bowl. They remain friends; they go back a long way.

“That being said,” Bisaccia continued. “We have to be accountable to our words and our actions. The Raiders have always stood for diversity, inclusion and social justice. It’s important to live those ideals and carry them into the future.”

In 17 minutes the interim coach wandered away from the microphones, wandered back, took a question from somebody covered in Raiders garb and all in all made you feel better.

Asked if he envisioned being a head coach when his career began, Bisaccia said, “Not at Wayne State. In the summers I was still working at Waldbaum’s egg factory.”

That was then. He’s been an assistant head coach at this level for most of his 19-season NFL career, which means he’s the guy the players love. Now he has to try on a new hat, but his message is clear.

“We have a good team,” he said, and it's easy to forget the Raiders began 3-0 before losing two straight. “We have 12 games left. We feel like a lot of our goals are still in front of (us).”

So if you, like me, still don’t trust the NFL to get things right — that the league was glad to settle its collusion suits with Colin Kaepernik and Eric Reid because hello, emails — you could appreciate this guy even before he emotionally thanked his parents.

“My dad was the head coach of the New York Giants,” he cracked. “He just never told anybody.”

Bisaccia. Bis-SOTCH-ee-uh. I’m getting it down.

As for the former guy, it’d be nice to know the racism was enough to get him gone. Whatever his name is. I’m already having trouble remembering how to spell or say it.

Fritz Neighbor can be reached at 758-4463, or fneighbor@dailyinterlake.com.