Malik Zaire's father cools after angry Facebook posts

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

Not long after DeShone Kizer informed reporters Wednesday night that he would be Notre Dame’s starting quarterback for Saturday's game against Nevada, Malik Zaire’s father, Imani, expressed his displeasure on Facebook.

One post read in part “what do a brother gotta do to get some respect around here… damn damn damn.” The words served as a caption to a photo of his son.

Imani Zaire also shared a video of a man being beaten in public. Above the video, he wrote, “This is what should happen to a certain coach for lying to folks.”

Imani Zaire expressed frustration with Notre Dame's coaching regarding his son, quarterback Malik Zaire. (Screenshot via Facebook)

Following Notre Dame’s 50-47 loss in double overtime to Texas on Sunday night, in which his son played only three series that produced 40 yards, Imani Zaire posted the following:

“How the hell can you have any success with running the same 4 plays into a defense set and ready for them..and the other guy the entire play book? Now you got the nation thinking the other guy is a superstar and the other is a bum. This is bs!”

Imani Zaire expressed frustration with Notre Dame's coaching regarding his son, quarterback Malik Zaire. (Screenshot via Facebook)

Imani Zaire, who has coached various levels of youth and high school football, watched the game from Mesa, Ariz. Seeing his son struggle and sit most of the second half was certainly painful. He took to Facebook to vent his frustration.

When Kizer was named the starter Wednesday, Imani Zaire reached out to offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford for an explanation.

"He knows I'm not a helicopter dad,” Imani Zaire said Thursday when reached by the Tribune. “I'm not going to be calling Coach and trying to get on the field all the time. I don't do that. As a coach, I understand how parents can bother you ... So I let the coach coach. But when I don't understand something football-wise, I'll ask."

The answers for his son's decreased role, Imani Zaire said, included a lack of consistency and a need to improve on pre-snap adjustments.

After getting a better perspective in conversations with his son and with Sanford, Imani Zaire took some of the heat off the words Thursday that he first shared online.

"Now getting more information — and cooler heads have prevailed — I'm not necessarily angry anymore,” he said. “And I wouldn't even say it was angry, just very disappointed.

"I'm sure anybody who reads what I put out there would think, 'Sour grapes. Dad's pissed off.’ Some might wonder what's going on. Others might say he's just mad."

Imani Zaire did not identify which coach he had accused of lying. He questioned why his son wasn’t named a captain and didn’t start the game Sunday.

“There was a perception that he was told one thing and the other thing happened,” Imani Zaire said. “If you tell me something, I'm going to work to do it and wait for you to make certain things happen. When that doesn't happen, that's what it was.”

Zaire, Notre Dame’s senior quarterback, was not made available for the weekly player interviews on Wednesday. When he will next speak with reporters remains unknown.

Imani Zaire expressed frustration with Notre Dame's coaching regarding his son, quarterback Malik Zaire. (Screenshot via Facebook)

Head coach Brian Kelly said Zaire had two good days of practice on Wednesday and Thursday and is ready to lead the team as a No. 2 quarterback.

“He’s embraced his preparation,” Kelly said. “He’s embraced his role in what we’re asking him to do. And that’s all I can ask for. I don’t want anything else from him other than to prepare himself to be ready to go into the game and help us win.”

As time has passed, Imani Zaire has begun to accept his son’s role too.

“After speaking to Coach (Wednesday) night, I understand their rationale for starting Kizer right now. I get it,” he said. “And that's only because they explained it to me. I had my thoughts about it early on, but now I understand it.

"I know it's going to be a long season. I know he's going to play." | 574-235-6214 | Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Notre Dame’s Malik Zaire (9) runs the ball as Texas’ John Burt (1) and Naashon Hughes (40) defend during the Notre Dame-Texas NCAA college football game on Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016, at Darrell K. Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN