After the news came out about Ludacris stepping up to appear at G-Day, somebody asked me what I thought he was being paid for that. Reflecting on what major acts pull down at concerts these days – the Stones made enough at their last Atlanta show to pay Georgia Tech more than half a million dollars just to use BDS for a couple of hours – and the fact that the deal was put together on short notice, I guessed between fifty and a hundred thousand dollars. Big time entertainment ain’t cheap, especially when you can’t pass the cost on to ticket buyers.
And yet look where we are now. Ludacris was praised for stepping up and bailing out Greg McGarity, puts on what was by all accounts a successful show, but a $65,000 paycheck and a box of condoms later, it’s all turned to ashes somehow. Really? “Artist gets paid major bucks and has a quirky shopping list” is supposed to be scandalous somehow? On what planet?
A little perspective might be in order, methinks.
Starting with Kirby Smart.
Kirby Smart mostly talked football during a Thursday interview on the SEC Network’s Paul Finebaum Show. But at the end of the interview Georgia’s head football coach was asked about the G-Day Ludacris concert, and revelations about UGA’s contract with the rap star…
“To be honest with you I don’t have much of a reaction,” Smart said. “I wasn’t privy to the contract, and didn’t see much of it. I’ve only seen the publications of it, and obviously we’ve gotta do a better job of managing situations like that.”
Oy. Dude, no. You look at Finebaum, grin, crack a joke about artists being temperamental (M&Ms references are always good for a chuckle in this context), thank Ludacris for stepping up in the program’s time of need, praise the energy he contributed to the day and move on. What you don’t do is mutter some ominous threat about doing a better job in the future. And what’s that gonna be, anyway? Telling the next act to bring their own rubbers to Athens?
We all know what this is really about. Kirby, McGarity and the entire athletic department apparatus don’t have time for that shit.
Smart didn’t elaborate. Earlier in the interview, he did make an oblique mention about “distractions” when asked about managing expectations for highly-touted freshman quarterback Jacob Eason.
“I think the best thing you can do is provide distractions, Paul, which seems to be what we’re able to do here in Georgia is get a lot of distractions for him,” Smart said. “Because we’ve had a lot of other stuff going on that has kept him out of the media.”
Gee, maybe he should be a little more grateful, then.
Mockery aside, this is what the change in the Open Records law is really about. It’s not to protect recruiting secrets, or about preserving Butts-Mehre’s precious energy. (How hard is it to multi-task in an era of bloated support staffing, anyway?) It’s about the reality that these guys absolutely suck at PR and don’t feel like making any effort to improve. Call it “The Butts-Mehre Relief Act of 2016” and at least be honest about it.
Hell, just think about the absurdity of this particular situation for a minute. Smart didn’t read the contract, but presumably somebody in the athletic department did. And by “somebody”, I mean McGarity. (If he didn’t, then perhaps there’s your real scandal.) Georgia knew what the terms were well before the information got out to the public, and yet the athletic department was either unwilling or unable to prepare a competent explanation in the time it had available to do so. So it left Kirby Smart hanging instead.
Now there will be even less need to devote effort to things like that, as time heals a lot of self-inflicted wounds. It’s the mark of an organization that doesn’t give a shit about making an attempt to look competent and confident in how it manages its affairs and instead preferred to look for an easy way around that. It’s the same kind of attitude that I took exception to in this post.
They simply don’t care. Maybe you’re fine with that. I presume if you’re in the “just win, baby” camp, that’s likely. If you are, maybe you can explain to me exactly what a box of condoms has to do with winning and losing. Because I’m not seeing how success on the field and making the effort to be accessible are mutually exclusive. I guess that means I’ll never be AD material.
UPDATE: C’mon, man.
The late addition of landing Ludacris to perform prior to last Saturday’s G-Day game brought added excitement to Georgia’s spring football game, but Sanford Stadium may have been filled up anyway, Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said.
“It probably was overrated with the fans that came,” Smart said Thursday in an interview with SiriusXM Radio. “I really think a lot of people had already made their minds up that they were coming anyway. It ended up being a great atmosphere for our recruits. It was really cool. I know the recruits enjoyed it. Some of the players did. Some of them were kidding me about Ludacris because they say that’s my generation. I’ll leave that to each person to make his own decision.”
Now if he says the same thing about blasting loud music over Sanford’s PA system during games…