Choice words in the locker room

Sunday, September 7, 2008

By: Gabe Gilson

With college football just starting to come under way, this got me excited about what is to come in the next few months. No, not only am I looking forward to the hard hitting action on the field, but also the shenanigans that may take place in the post-game media room.

Being a sports writer these days is a tough career. Just ask Jenni Carlson. Almost a year ago today, the writer for The Oklahoman published an article about struggling quarterback Bobby Reid for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The event that occurred the day after the article was published is still a popular search on youtube even today. Head Coach of the Cowboys Mike Gundy did not really appreciate what Carlson had to say. His following 3 minute and 29 second rant to the media included the following statements:

“That’s why I don’t read the newspaper, because it’s garbage!”

“Come after me! I’m a man, I’m 40!”

“Don’t write about a kid that does everything right, that’s heart’s broken and then say that he’s scared. That ain’t true!”

“Get your facts straight!”

In the article, Carlson wrote that Reid was the most talented quarterback on the team, but his attitude was the reason he was not starting for the Cowboys. The article she wrote was true almost to the bone. However, Gundy disliked the style that Carlson belittled Reid in. While it is not really fair for Carlson to say such things about an amateur athlete, the freak-out by Gundy may have been a bit far.

Football is not the only sport where writers have to beware though. This past June, Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Brett Myers had a confrontation with a reporter interviewing him after a loss. Myers gave up a homerun which decided the game for the Phillies. Afterwards, he should have most likely declined an interview.

Myers asked the reporter where he thought the pitch was. The reporter told Myers he thought the pitch was on the outside corner. Myers told the reporter, “Yeah, cuz you’re a retard. You don’t know s*** about f****** baseball.” The reporter decided to strike back with, “how do you spell retard?”

Of all the things the reporter could have done, asking an angry athlete who just insulted your intelligence how to spell the word that insulted you may have possibly been a bad idea. It turned a verbal altercation into a physical grudge match in the locker room in which grown men had to hold back other grown men. The reporter should have just left the interview but at the same time, one does feel the need to defend himself.

This is why in sports writing, reporters really have to be careful. While sports writing is an interesting career, and something that I would want to do, I really need to watch what I say. The last thing I want is an ego larger than mine calling me a retard and telling me to get my facts straight.


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