Brad Childress and Ben Leber shared a war of words over the airwaves this week with the former Vikings head coach insinuating that Leber used the word "schism" to describe the locker room during the 2010 season.
The situation began when Childress appeared as a guest on KFAN's "92Noon Show" with Paul Allen on Wednesday. At the end of the interview, Childress brought up Leber unprompted and requested Allen ask him about the word "schism."
"I know you've got the guy that coined the word 'schism' there with you," Childress said. "Ben Leber from his markar word power. I believe he's the guy that came up with the schism term. I don't know if he ever stepped underneath that and owned up to that but you can speak to him later about what exactly a schism is."
When appearing with Allen on Thursday morning, Leber denied the accusation and said that he would be willing to have a "real private conversation" about the situation.
"Let him know that I have no idea what in the hell he's talking about," Leber said. ..."I never used the word schism. I never invented the word schism. If I ever repeated schism, it's because it made the freaking headlines about the way the locker room was...not from me."
So what exactly was the "schism" in 2009?
According to an ESPN column from that season, it happened early in the season, shortly after Brett Favre arrived, and was the result of apparently some teammates supporting Tarvaris Jackson as the starter and others backing Sage Rosenfels. To that point, no one apparently supported Favre, which clearly changed over time (if it was even true) because he led the Vikings to the NFC title game.
Leber said his relationship with Childress started out fine, but it deteriorated in 2010 after the Vikings released Randy Moss. According to Leber, after being informed of the release in a team meeting, Vikings PR staff told some veterans that media was coming into the locker room but Leber didn't get the message.
Leber was surprised to find "8-to-10" media members at his locker, where, believing that the Moss news was already public knowledge, he confirmed the roster move to reporters.
When he got home, he saw his name on internet headlines and called Childress to explain that he didn't break the story.
"You could tell by his tone, he didn't believe me for one second," Leber said.
It came out later that Childress never consulted Vikings ownership about releasing Moss and he was fired in November.
"At this point, I want nothing to do with the guy," Leber said of Childress. "I don't know where it went off the rails but if he's harboring this thing for this long and he thinks I'm somewhat responsible for this word schism which has trailed him for this whole time, then maybe we should have a conversation."