By Charles Guthrie
Last Saturday, Oklahoma State Cowboys Head Coach Mike Gundy went ballistic on The Oklahoman reporter Jenni Carlson in a post game interview about an article she wrote on junior quarterback Bobby Reid.
In the article Carlson questions the toughness of the quarterback, and uses “inside sources” and talk around the water cooler to make her claim.
Carlson said while Reid was near the team charters, “his mother was feeding him chicken.” She then brought up rumors that Reid has considered transferring numerous times including his red shirt freshman year in 2005 because “he had to compete for a spot.”
This brings up a few important issues. Should college athletes be under scrutiny by the media? Who was right in this debacle, Gundy, Carlson, or neither?
To get these answers, I decided to go out and ask a few national voices for their take on the situation, and if it should have been handled differently on either side.
Kevin Rogers, radio host from 7-10 p.m. on 790 AM “The Ticket” in Miami, said players should come under fire for anything that happens on the field, but outside the lines is a different story.
“I think that college players are allowed to be scrutinized,” Rogers said. “If it’s on the field, and you play in a big time conference, they should be scrutinized for their play.”
“When it comes to how far they should be scrutinized when it comes to off-the-field issues, there needs to be a fine line,” he said. “If they were suspended, found with drugs or something of that nature, they should face media scrutiny. An example would be when Florida State receivers Laveraneus Coles and Peter Warrick were charged with underpaying for clothes, they were scrutinized because they screwed up.”
According to Rogers, what was written about the quarterback doesn’t belong in the paper. He said it was irrelevant and that Carlson went too far by writing the story.
Morning host Doug Franz of Sports 620 KTAR in Phoenix, said that both sides are wrong and was disappointed at both of their actions.
“I blast both of them,” Franz said. “Gundy was wrong because after a big win, the way he handled it was completely unprofessional. There were about 900 different ways he could have handled the situation and he chose the wrong one.
“[Carlson] also crossed the line,” he said. “If the coaches said it that would be fine, but her article was an opinionated piece that attacks the player. Journalism used to be where you needed five to six sources to put it in print, and she only had one.”
Dan Schwartzman, program director of ESPN 920 in Princeton, and host of “Philly Sports Live”, understands Gundy, but is unsure of the motives behind his explosion.
“I understand what he was doing in defending his players, but the way he did it was wrong,” Schwartzman said. “Was he doing it to be a household name, help recruiting, or did he do it because he was truly outraged? He could have handled it better one—on— one with Carlson or by calling the editor.”
Philadelphia Eagles rookie linebacker Stewart Bradley, who played in the Big 12 last year for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, said Gundy’s tirade could work to his advantage.
“I kind of like how he stood up for his guy,” Bradley said. “As a player you always appreciate when a coach stands up for you. I think it will work in his favor, and might help recruiting.”
Stewart Mandel, author of Bowls, Polls, and Tattered Souls and college football reporter for SportsIllustrated.com, said both parties deserve blame for what took place.
“I think they’re both at fault,” Mandel said. “Her piece was based on innuendo and rumors without any sources. I don’t know if what she said was true or not. It’s hard to defend something like that because she has no definitive sources.”
“It doesn’t excuse him from threatening her and saying she didn’t have any children,” Mandel said. “You could tell he knew what he was doing for show, it was on TV and he blew it way out of proportion. The team just had a big win over Texas Tech and a lot of players deserved recognition.”
As you can see, the consensus is that both people were wrong. I feel the same way. To me, her article was challenging Reid’s manhood without any legitimate sources such as a coach. Gundy should have handled the situation differently by talking to the reporter on the side instead of tearing her a new one on television.
I have a feeling Gundy’s outburst was a way to light a spark under his team and to let his players know that their coach has their backs.