Like a feuding couple, the media and Big 12 Conference coaches assessed their relationship Monday after Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy’s postgame tirade Saturday . Missouri coach Gary Pinkel and others weighed in during the Big 12 coaches’ weekly teleconference.
Gundy’s reaction to a column written by The Oklahoman’s Jenni Carlson prompted the discussion. After the Cowboys’ victory against Texas Tech, Gundy held up a copy of the newspaper, berated the media for more than three minutes, refused to take any questions and then quickly left the press conference.
In the piece published Saturday, Carlson criticized quarterback Bobby Reid, who was benched in favor of Zac Robinson after the Cowboys’ first two games. Carlson speculated Reid’s behavior has irked coaches for a while.
“If you believe the rumors and the rumblings, Reid has been pushing coaches that way for quite some time,” she wrote.
She also questioned Reid’s toughness, nerves and maturity, relating a scene of his mother feeding him chicken after a game for her most stinging criticism.
“That scene in the parking lot last week had no bearing on the Cowboys changing quarterbacks, and yet, it said so much about Reid,” Carlson wrote. “A 21-year-old letting his mother feed him in public? Most college kids, much less college football players, would just as soon be seen running naked across campus.”
Gundy challenged the column’s veracity at the start of the press conference. “Three-fourths of this is inaccurate. It’s fiction,” he said.
The enraged coach carried on, shouting at times while defending Reid’s character and urging the media to go after the coaches and players who don’t “do the right things.”
He closed the three-minute tirade, saying, “That’s all I’ve got to say. It makes me want to puke.”
After not fielding any questions at the press conference, Gundy answered many about his actions during Monday’s teleconference. He said fellow coaches had voiced their support through phone calls and e-mails.
He said he didn’t have any regrets. “Wish I would I have said more. Tired of certain people downgrading college athletes who are good people. If you want to comment on his play, comment on his play,” he said. “But don’t comment on something that’s outside of his play that is downgrading or belittling to a young man who is trying to do things right, and he has to get splashed all over the newspaper in the state of Oklahoma on a game day.”
Pinkel wasn’t asked about Gundy, but he was candid when asked about his relationship with the media. He said he hasn’t read any sports sections except for USA Today’s since 1992, his second year as head coach at Toledo.
Before the season begins, Pinkel said he talks to the team about the media’s evolving role, which he said he believes has become more analytical with the expansion of the Internet.
“Years ago, on Sunday, you would read about what happened in the game,” he said, “and, now, half an hour after the game’s over, if you’re anywhere in the world, you know everything that happened in the game.”
While he tells the team to consider where the criticism comes from and to protect itself, Pinkel acknowledges reporters have a place in the sport.
“The media’s got a job to do. … The dynamics have changed as I analyze it,” he said. “I don’t think it’s personal in any way. It’s just the way it is.”
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was critical of reporters’ stabs at humor.
“They’re student-athletes,” he said. “They’re not professional players. … Sometimes I think the sarcastic and the belittling (comments) aren’t called for.”