Jags…and Constitutional Infringement

Posted: October 14, 2011 in sports
Tags: , , , , , ,

My Friday column usually is devoted to the NFL, normally about the Jaguars. But what more is there to say about the Jaguars? I’ve called for Coach Jack Del Rio to be fired immediately. I think owner Wayne Weaver should not give General Manager Gene Smith a contract beyond next season. I now agree with allowing rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert to get on-the-job training and that every decision should be based on trying to make the Jaguars a better team in 2012.

Finally, I think the Jaguars lose this Sunday a Pittsburgh and fall to 1-5. The oddsmakers have Jacksonville as a 12½-point underdog. Sounds about right to me. (For the record I’m 5-0 this season predicting Jaguars games.)

That said, the topic this Friday involves all sports. More accurately it’s about my profession, the media. More often than not, I criticize the media. Today, however, I defend them.

What prompted this is South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier, a long-time friend, going off on a rant and refusing to talk if columnist Ron Morris of the Columbia (S.C.) State newspaper is within earshot. Spurrier is mad about something Morris wrote several months ago. He said Morris wrote a lie. If so, Morris’ newspaper should address the issue. If true, Morris should be fired. By the way, I don’t know Ron Morris.

Spurrier certainly has to right to not be interviewed by Morris. It doesn’t bother me if Spurrier refuses to answer Morris’ questions in a news conference.

But for a coach at a state university to in essence ban an accredited media representative is going over the line. Shame on the University for allowing such a thing. Shame on the newspaper for allowing such a thing. Shame on the media for allowing such a thing.

What’s next? University presidents only talking in the presence of media that will rubber stamp whatever they say? Media outlets only sending reporters and columnist/commentator who are “homers”?

Maybe mayors throughout the country will adopt such a policy. Ditto for governors. Ditto for others whose pay comes from the taxpayers such as your Congressmen and President.

Yeah, I know the Spurrier-Morris feud is a mere sports story and we all know the sports world is the toy department of adults. But it establishes a precedent I don’t think anyone wants.

Am I overacting? Perhaps. Spurrier is an ultra-sensitive guy. If you don’t agree with him, then you’re against him in his eyes. Spurrier is an ultra-confident guy. If you don’t agree with him, you’re dead wrong.

Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel wrote — a bit tongue-in-check, I think – he was happy with Spurrier because it showed Spurrier still cares about what the “local media” writes and says. His point is a good one because we now live in a world where big-time sports only allow access to network television.

Naturally I hate that. But I hate the precedent being established worse – and so should you.



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