Since I’m sure you’ve all been waiting with baited breath for my take on the Urban Meyer-Deonte Thompson-Jeremy Fowler snit, here goes:
*Meyer’s threats are laughable.
It always amazes me when people like Meyer start crying crocodile tears about unfair treatment from the media.
Interestingly, Coaches in such situations never seem to mention that they need the reporters and talking heads as much as they need the coaches. At the end of the day, the media plays a huge role in generating the billions of dollars that pay coaches’ salaries and sustain their programs.
As Roy Peter Clark of the Poynter Institute astutely observed today in a commentary for ESPN.com, the coach didn’t seem to have any qualms with the undeniable overexposure of Tim Tebow — and his team — during the Heisman-winning quarterback’s four years in Gainesville. In fact, he welcomed the adulation.
*There’s plenty of disingenuousness to go around here.
No one denies that Fowler quoted Thompson accurately when the wide receiver said the Gators now had a “real quarterback” in John Brantley, and Fowler did try to contextualize the statement. It’s not Fowler’s job to hold players’ hands through interviews to make sure they say everything just the right way.
However, I don’t buy that Fowler wasn’t relishing a juicy “gotcha” moment when he wrote what he did. Apparently, Fowler tweeted Thompson’s quote out within minutes of the end of the press conference.
I suspect his excitement over what he knew would be a hot-button article clouded Fowler’s judgment, thereby denying Thompson a fair shake. Having worked as a beat reporter in a former life, I find it hard to believe that a statement like the one Thompson made wouldn’t merit a follow-up question for clarification.
*It’s time we all move on from the great Number 15.
Would Meyer have reacted so strongly to the story if Tebow wasn’t involved? I tend to agree with ESPN.com blogger Chris Low, who speculated today that the affection of Meyer and the Florida coaching staff for Tebow make them quick to defend the Gator icon. They’re probably especially touchy about Tebow’s quarterbacking skills after all the hubbub about his NFL prospects.
The other side of the coin: The media clearly can’t resist the temptation to play up even the slightest of perceived slights against Tebow. The manufactured drama is worse than a stitch-and-bitch club. At this point, I can’t tell if writers are shocked that anyone would dare criticize Tebow, or if they love the idea of seeing a legend knocked down a peg.
Either way, I’m seriously starting to wonder if I’ll ever see a day when we can all talk rationally about Tebow without turning everything into a federal case.
*”I’m a man!” is a piss-poor media relations strategy.
Predictably, Fowler’s media brethren are circling the wagons. (My personal favorite: His employer’s tribute to the lost art of journalistic objectivity with this catalogue of some of the bloviators who ripped Meyer in the wake of the outburst.)
The reality is that — much like his esteemed coaching colleague Mike Gundy — Meyer’s rant turned an unfortunate situation into a debacle for his team.
If Thompson is so concerned that he was misrepresented, why not let him face the media to explain himself? Personally, I think a kid would be just a little bit more sympathetic than Meyer the Terrible.
At that point, the story’s likely dead, and Fowler comes off like the jerk.
Instead, Meyer’s inane blustering draws even more media scrutiny, and now guys like me are writing about an innocuous quote from a 20-year-old kid.