Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly is in hot water after his John McKay-inspired joke fell flat and failed to generate some good, old chuckle. Instead, what his “joke” got were criticisms about the awkward and inappropriate nature of his statements.
After the Fighting Irish beat Florida State in their season opener on Sunday, Kelly was interviewed about their comeback following a near epic collapse from his squad. Notre Dame was on the lead 38-20 heading to the fourth quarter only to see the Seminoles score 18 in the final frame to tie the game and bring it to overtime.
Kelly’s squad eventually closed the contest with a 41-38 win, but it prompted the head coach to talk about their performance and reference a McKay quote about being in “favor of execution.” Unfortunately, his attempt at rumor went awry after he mentioned that his players should be “executed” for their poor play.
The said “joke” didn’t sit well with several fans, players and media personality. In fact, former NFL star Pat McAfee and Fox Sports commentator Skip Bayless questioned Brian Kelly for the awful remarks about his Notre Dame players.
Did BRIAN* Kelly actually say, during a live interview, that his entire team should potentially be executed tonight?
This dude’s wild pic.twitter.com/7OTl7ZzKYk
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) September 6, 2021
In his postgame interview, Notre Dame's Brian Kelly tried paraphrasing a great old John McKay line about an all-time bad Tampa Bay team concerning "execution." Kelly's attempt fell flat, did not work. Hey, coach, your team JUST WON AT FLORIDA STATE. And that deserves "execution"?
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) September 6, 2021
For what it’s worth, Brian Kelly tried to defend himself in his media availability later after the contest, emphasizing it was his attempt at humor following an up-and-down night for his team.
“It’s an old John McKay quote. I was kidding,” the Notre Dame tactician shared, per Adam Rittenberg of ESPN. “I was being tongue-in-cheek. … It wasn’t funny? I was making a joke about it. It was taken serious. Are you people crazy?”
Despite his explanation, though, fans and experts alike were not happy with it and made it known on Twitter. In this day and age where everything we say–especially those with influence–can be interpreted differently, several people think Kelly should have thought about the timing of his joke and have chosen his words carefully.