Fun and loathing in Orlando

There’s a pretty entertaining interview with the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi over at The Big Lead.  (Although I’m afraid I’m gonna have to take a pass on that Weurffel-Tebow 2024 presidential ticket.)

Bianchi is asked about George O’Leary’s current tiff with his paper, and here’s what he has to say about that.

Q: So what’s the deal with George O’Leary? In your years as a journalist, surely you’ve come across coaches that have decided they don’t want to cooperate with the local media. Have you dealt with this sort of thing before? How, as a journalist, do you handle it? How long do you think he keeps this act up before the athletic department steps in and tells him that’s enough?

I totally understand O’Leary being upset with the Sentinel’s aggressive investigative coverage in the death of UCF football player Ereck Plancher. No coach or athletic official likes to have his methods questioned. What I don’t understand is O’Leary boycotting the only media outlet that covers his team home and away. It’s like Richard Scott, a sports writer in Alabama, told me recently, “That’s like saying no to the only girl who wants to date you.” O’Leary’s stance is hurting everybody — the Sentinel, the team, the fans and the coach’s reputation. I think O’Leary and the Sentinel will come to a working arrangement in the next few days as fall practice gets under way.

Judging from a line from the piece O’Leary had published in the Sentinel over the weekend,

When fall practice begins, I expect to reach an understanding with the Sentinel so we can work together again. It is in both of our interests for that to happen…

I suspect that’s right.

That’s not to say that what O’Leary’s doing isn’t mock worthy.  Aside from being shortsighted, it continues to draw attention to a matter that O’Leary and UCF would no doubt prefer to see be less public.  Plus, it brings back that whole resume debacle.  In other words, it’s dumb.  As Bianchi notes when he says this:

On a four-star scale, with four being the best, how do you grade of The Dark Knight: I haven’t seen it, but one of our headline writers just dubbed George O’Leary “The Silent Knight” because of his boycott of the The Sentinel. I give that a four.


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