Sports

COMMENTARY: Defending a colleague

ORIGINALLY POSTED SEPT. 27 AT 12:10 A.M.

If you’ve been watching ESPN or clicking around YouTube this week, you’ve seen an incredible video. Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State University’s football coach, went off on a tirade Sunday against Jenni Carlson, a columnist for the Daily Oklahoman.

The yell came after a Carlson column saying the reason former starting quarterback Bobby Reid lost his job was because he was weak emotionally, not physically. Reid, perhaps the most highly touted recruit in Oklahoma State history, has struggled in his role, and was forced out of the job by backup Zac Robinson.

Carlson’s column was harsh, but not a screed. Gundy’s reaction, on the other hand, was.

“Three-fourths of this is inaccurate,” Gundy yelled during his tirade. “It’s fiction. And this article embarrasses me to be involved in athletics.”

Of course, when asked on Monday exactly what was inaccurate, he said, “I don’t have to. I’d rather just let it go.”

No, you can’t let it go Mike. You can’t impugn the integrity of a columnist, in front of her peers and the watching world, and then walk away. If there is a factual error, it needs to be corrected, and if not, you need to shut up.

Gundy continued:

“Here’s all that kid did: He goes to class, he’s respectful to the media, he’s respectful to the public and he’s a good kid. And he’s not a professional athlete, and he doesn’t deserve to be kicked when he’s down.”

Of course, here comes the shield of the college athlete, that they’re just kids. Come on, who’s going to kick a kid when they’re down? Let me tell you a little secret; college athletes tend to be pretty mature people. And when you’re competing in Division I-A athletics, you are open to more criticism. It’s an unfortunate fact of life.

Anyone who deludes themselves into thinking college football is the amateur bastion it was in the late 1800s is kidding themselves. To Gundy: If college athletics is so pure, then perhaps your school should return the $165 million dollar donation it received from billionaire alumnus Boone Pickens. What would a nice program like yours do with that kind of money?

No one ever enjoys singling someone out for their performance; it’s not fun. But that’s a columnist’s job. Sure, it’s easy to go after the media, thinking they’re hounds, looking for the next victim to pull down. But speaking as a columnist, it’s just part of the job. If all a columnist did was write things that made people happy, they’d be gone in a week. Carlson wrote an opinion piece, just like every other columnist in the country. It’s harsh, but it’s what she’s supposed to do.

It’s always fun to watch a coach blow up in front of the media (see Dennis Green, Jim Mora), it’s not fun to see a coach personally attack a member of the media like this. Thankfully, Carlson’s paper and the Football Writers Association of America have stood behind her. Of course, when you’re going against the shrill rants of a madman at the podium, it’s a lot easier. Coach Gundy, shame on you. For someone who claims, “I’m a man!,” as he did during his tirade, you don’t show it very well.

Matthew Bunch may be contacted at m.bunch@umiami.edu.

September 27, 2007

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The University of Miami showed women’s basketball coach Katie Meier how much it appreciates her on F ...

Frank Garis first watched Jalen Rivers from the opposite sideline, and the offensive lineman was imp ...

George Stewart had a big problem, and little time to solve it. It was Week 6 of the 2018 season, and ...

One of the interesting subplots of this Hurricanes season will be watching the evolution of a bunch ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Wednesday: ▪ Coach Manny Diaz said the quarterback race among Ta ...

The Emmy Award-winning journalist, who grew up in Miami and started her career in Spanish language t ...

Nursing researchers and music therapists test a simple and cost-effective way of motivating critical ...

The University of Miami Libraries offer readers multiple ways to access the books, which are popular ...

Rosenstiel School researcher Martin Grosell weighs in on how marine life in the Gulf could be affect ...

Varona, an attorney and educator who specializes in administrative law, communications and media law ...

University of Miami Director of Athletics Blake James announced Friday a contract extension for head ...

Adrian Del Castillo garnered his second Freshman All-America honor of the year, appearing on the Per ...

Two-time Miami women's basketball team co-captain Laura Cornelius is set to start her professio ...

Courtney spent nine years previously on Jim Larranaga's staff from 1996-2005. ...

The University of Miami track and field program received 17 All-America honors at the conclusion of ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.