Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Calm down! There are ladies, I mean, cameras present

By now, you've probably seen the rant of Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy, who went off in a Saturday post-game news conference. Gundy exploded at Daily Oklahoman reporter Jenni Carlson, who had written a story Gundy apprently didn't care about. Good thing Gundy's Cowboys won the game or he really might have gotten mad. (Carlson responded to Gundy and particularly his charges that most of her article was fiction). None of this is really new; coaches blow up at sports media types all the time (I remember a post-game press conference where former Indiana coach Bob Knight berated a local TV sports anchor simply for being female).

But in the good ol' days much of this would have been kept secret. The coach and reporter would have made up and maybe even gone out for a drink after the game. With today's omnipresent media technology these images now flash around the world in seconds. That's all it takes for someone like Gundy to destroy a reputation or even a career.

Coaches love to use the new media, especially the Internet, because they can control the message (see how much of OSU's web page is devoted to Gundy's blowup). Most "official" school websites are nothing more than propaganda outlets and recruiting tools. But when coaches can't control the message they often get into trouble, no matter how hard they try to sweep it under the rug.

It used to be that if coaches won enough people didn't care what they said or how they acted. But Knight and Woody Hayes showed us that people do care and coaches need to control themselves. A warning to all coaches and players out there--someone is watching.


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