We are not the enemy.

Tony Barnhart wrings his hands over the possibility that college football coaches might have to behave less boorishly in the offseason.

College football coaches are boring enough during the season. But it used to be that we could get them to take off the blinders and loosen up for a few weeks in May and June. Is college football going to become like the NFL (No Fun League) because the coaches just get tired of every word being dissected and, in some cases, being blown way out of proportion? I hate that phrase because “proportion” is in the eye of the beholder but it seems to apply here.

First of all, most college football coaches are boring year ’round.  That’s one reason why guys like Spurrier and Leach get so much media attention to begin with.  Second, it’s not in the job description for them to entertain the media.  Third, as much as coaches like Spurrier and Meyer claim they’re going to change how they act, I’ll believe it when I see it.  Old habits tend to die hard.

And fourth, where Barnhart seeks to cast blame really pisses me off.  He finds it’s time to dust off the sportswriter’s favorite scapegoat, the unbathed basement dweller.

… I guess I  have to remember that in the blogosphere little nuggets grow into big boulders if enough people chatter about them. But those of us in the business learned a long time ago that the stuff said at booster meetings has to be taken with a grain of salt. What coaches say in front of reporters is one thing. What they say in front of the booster clubs is another. In my opinion, you just can’t take it that seriously.

Apparently people do.

Am I missing something here?

Quite a few things, since you ask.  But let’s just start with the basic premise.  For the most part, these “little nuggets” make it out into the square of public discourse because the media, of which Mr. Barnhart is a prominent member, reports them.

For example, I haven’t sat in a single Vol booster meeting.  Everything I’ve posted about Lane Kiffin has come from media reports.  Lots and lots of media reports.  If this stuff is as irrelevant as Barnhart insists it is, then why the barrage of info from he and his peers?

And let’s not forget the gradual blurring we’ve seen over the past year or so of bloggers becoming Internet journalists (like EDSBS’ Orson Swindle morphing into TSN’s Spencer Hall) and traditional journalists, like so many of Barnhart’s peers at the AJ-C, becoming bloggers.  Be careful where you point; that guy at the next desk in the newsroom (maybe it’s a virtual newsroom these days) may be the target as much as me.

This crap was tiresome when Stewart Mandel was trotting it out a couple of years ago.  It’s not wearing well with age.

These coaches are grown men.  They’re paid a lot of money for what they do.  If some of them decide that they don’t like their comments held up in a mirror for anyone with a computer to see, that’s their damned business.  Deal with it.

And don’t wag your finger at bloggers for expanding on what the media provides them.  I appreciate the efforts made to gather the information, but once the data is out there, it’s out there, free to be poked and prodded.  If you don’t want us writing about what you and your cohorts dig up, keep it to yourselves.

If you can.


Filed under Media Punditry/Foibles, The Blogosphere

4 responses to “We are not the enemy.

  1. Pingback: I stand and I applaud you, Senator « The Hobnail Boot

  2. Left to Right

    I think it is part of the culture at the AJC-particularly the sports department. As you point out, I don’t believe they truly understand that the printed version of their paper and the internet version of their paper have essentially merged. They may have been told this in a memo, but they still don’t yet “get” the internet.

    For example, Mark Bradley was blogging during the ACC b-ball tourney in Atlanta this year about how the AJC had just issued him a Blackberry and how neat it was that he could take (blurry) pictures from the games with his Blackberry and post them on the internet. Compare that to the video the Rome and Savannah papers recently put on their web site of CMR and CMF speaking at the Bulldog Club meetings in their towns. The video was placed next to the story which ran in the print editions. The Rome and Savannah papers get it, the AJC does not. (And compare David Hale’s UGA blog to the AJC beat reporter’s UGA blog. Tim Tucker is a nice writer, but he is old school. There are very few links on his blog. Plus, he lives in Atlanta. How can he stay on top of things when he has to commute an hour and half each way every day?)


  3. Dog in Fla

    Unbeknownst to Tony he has met the enemy and it could be him.

    Some call it Tony slowly morphing into Furman Bisher.

    Some call it a bold blogosphere restraint of trade attack on Tony’s part to diminish, minimize, and tweak the virtual noses of, and to terminate with extreme prejudice the efforts of, those who go to the time and trouble of creating and maintaining sports blogs who just don’t so happen to be among the so-called good ol’ boys ‘in the business’ who have paid their dues in the traditional print sports media as it quickly becomes extinct.

    Some think Tony may be acting as a parallel auxillary back-up agent operating in conjunction with Mike ‘Knock it Off!’ Slive’s effort to put a clamp-down NFL-type muzzle on SEC head coaches. Tony’s covert mission is to limit the dissemination of the SEC head coach remarks, no matter how crazy, to him. That limitation would have a chilling effect on the extemely entertaining uncalled for bullsh!t by, between and among SEC head coaches in case Slive’s clamp-down NFL-type muzzle fitting on the coaches fails, which, of course, it will.

    Some think Tony may need to be reminded that any performance, but especially a stellar Oscar worthy performance, by a SEC head coach in the era of camera video phones, can and will be made public in the sphere and then, once let loose will fly like a butterfly, and will be used to the maximum extent possible to inflict virtual damage against the performer SEC coach and the school that is paying him several million a year by each and every enemy SEC blogosphere correspondent who chooses to do so and that it’s even better when that award winning performance occurs at a booster’s meeting.

    Some think Tony may need to be reminded that the best and most absurd comedy around doesn’t just necessarily have to be limited to what comes from inside the Beltway. It comes from the Head Coaches of the SEC. That comedy not only deserves, but demands, to have a half-life beyond a booster’s meeting.

    Bravo to those who not only capture SEC head coach comedy, but to those who let it loose, those who perpetrate it, those who hyperbole it and those who pass it along on their spheres on the series of tubes that is the internets. You and you alone fulfill your duties of providing SEC fans with desperately needed relief from off-season boredom.


  4. Kevin

    boom. roasted.