Friday, September 28, 2007

OSU Football Controversy

There is currently a raging debate over the appropriateness of comments made by Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy at a press conference, in reference to an article by a female sports columnist in an Oklahoma paper.

The columnist, Jenni Carlson, wrote a highly speculative opinion piece about the OSU quarterback, Bobby Reid, who had recently been benched. Her column raises the question as to whether Reid was too soft to be a starter because he was basically a "momma's boy."

Coach Gundy defended his player vehemently, which can be seen here:

Many of the media talking heads are now attacking Gundy and defending Carlson, showing once again that they don't get it how much the public despises these types of articles. This is not a question of free speech.

Carlson had every right under the First Amendment to write her article, but it was, indeed, full of speculation and largely devoid of facts, not to mention mean-spirited. Gundy had every right under the First Amendment to say what he said as well, and the part about her not being a mother was also mean-spirited, but he at least has the excuse that he did what he did in the heat of the moment.

Carlson wrote her hit piece with aplomb, apparently unaware that yes, amateur athletes do have feelings and perhaps unaware that calling someone a "mommas boy" is about the worse insult there is in sports.

Many of the media types have defended her, saying that columnists have the job of offering opinions.

Nevertheless, it appears to me that opinions based upon speculation and soft "facts" are inappropriate given their great possibility of being incorrect.

There is a vast difference between saying "Ottawa in six" and attacking a player and his mother. If people in the mainstream media can't see the difference, then they are just as much part of the problem.

Carlson's article had little or no value and should have been tossed in the can. Part of being a good writer is knowing when to throw things away; Carlson has a lot of learning to do.

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