ThinkFest Recap: Buzz Bissinger Calls Chip Kelly a “Fraud”

Friday Night Lights author offers wide array of profanity-laden opinions.
Buzz Bissinger at ThinkFest.

Buzz Bissinger at ThinkFest.

Eagles coach Chip Kelly is a “fraud,” Friday Night Lights author Buzz Bissinger said during a Friday morning appearance at ThinkFest.

“I hate that fucker. I shouldn’t say fucker. I think he’s a fraud. Don’t laugh — look at the record,” Bissinger told the crowd, suggesting that Kelly’s winning record during his college years was deceptive, built on the backs of players with academic problems who nevertheless never won national championship.

“He’s arrogant. He’s always throwing people under the bus,” Bissinger said of Kelly. And he suggested that Kelly will soon — despite his disavowals — return to the college game.

Other highlights from his wide-ranging, often profane chat with Philly Mag editor Tom McGrath:

On his notorious story for GQ detailing his addiction to shopping, sex, and more. “It was the last straw in trying to destroy every relationship I had, including my children,” Bissinger, clad mostly in leather, said. “I went into rehab the day the story came out. I was there for 60 days. I’m not perfect, but I’m in a better place in my life.”

“I knew it was a cry for help, but these were things I was going through. What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be woman?” he said of the story. “If you’re in for a dime you’re in for a dollar. There’s so much fucking spin in the world … let the chips fall where they may.”

He added: “I hate the labels gay, straight, bi, transgendender, you should be what makes you happy. … I have a leather fetish. Big fucking deal. We all have a leather fetish. It’s not being an asshole to your friends, it’s not doing drugs, it’s fucking leather.”

On his Vanity Fair story introducing Caitlyn Jenner to the world. “It (the GQ story) gave us common ground. Since the story came out, she has inspired me. She’s inspired me to talk more about gender, how it doesn’t matter.”

Jenner, he said, “ seems very happy to me. Just because you transition or whatever you do, some aspects will never change. She’s self-absorbed, but athletes are often self-absorbed. … Before she did this, she was living a life of loneliness and desperation.”

On how Philadelphia has changed since his book, A Prayer for the City: “Philadelphia is so different from what it was. It is vibrant, it is filled with young people — the brain drain was significant — there are great clubs, there’s a joie de vivre.”

The flip side? “The impoverished have become invisible. They have no voice. No one’s fighting for them. The poverty rate in Philadelphia is horrendous.”

And he seemed less-than-impressed with Mayor-elect Jim Kenney. “He ran a good campaign, he obviously has a handle on the city. He’s not Ed (Rendell) — Ed was once in a century.” But: “He’s not inheriting the city Ed did.”

On what’s next: “I’d like to leave a legacy of one more really good book.”

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