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Spurrier Speaks, Morris Apologizes, And A Penn State Comparison That Does Make Some Sense

After Saturday’s big win over Missouri, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier gave a statement at his postgame presser… and then he left the room without taking questions.  Sunday, on his teleconference, the coach gave a statement… and then he hung up the phone before taking questions.

On Monday, we suggested that the Ol’ Ball Coach was a) feeling powerful enough to do whatever he liked because he’s winning and b) probably mad at something written by Ron Morris, a columnist for The State newspaper in Columbia who Spurrier strongly dislikes.

Yesterday, Spurrier was talking to the media again.  He spoke long enough to plainly state what many already know — that unbeaten Carolina should defeat Kentucky this weekend in Lexington:

 

“I think we are better than them.  But if we don’t play better than them, they can certainly beat us.  Personnel-wise, they might be a little below some of the SEC teams, but they are a well-coached bunch.  We know that upsets happen, and we know why they happen, usually when a team is not ready to play.  Simple as that…

We know the meat of the schedule is down the road, but this is a game this week that’s one of 12, and we’re going to try to play our best.”

 

That’s kind of a far cry from Nick Saban’s “Why won’t you people take Western Kentucky seriously?” rant, no?  Last year, Spurrier suggested that his Gamecocks could have hung 70 points or more on UK.  Obviously, Carolina’s coach doesn’t have a whole lot of respect for Kentucky, a team that upset his Cocks on their last visit to Commonwealth Stadium.

But the key here is that Spurrier’s talking to the press again.  Now the question is: Why did he go silent on everybody in the first place.

The aforementioned Morris seems to know that he’s the reason.

Today, Morris explains in column form that he was simply doing his job when he dared to suggest last week that Spurrier shouldn’t have played an already banged-up Connor Shaw in a victory of UAB.  (And to be fair, most of the folks I spoke with also wondered why Spurrier would risk playing Shaw.).  Here’s a piece of Morris column from today:

 

“Football coaches are hired to win football games. Sports columnists are expected to praise and critique those coaches, their teams and their programs.

It is natural for coaches — in any college town — to ask about columnists: ‘Who the heck are you to judge me?’

The answer is today, as it always has been: ‘I’m just a sports columnist doing my job.’”

 

All of that’s true.  Many fans don’t care, of course, because many fans want only “positive” stories about their team or coach.  Right up until said team and coach start losing.  At that point, they tend to get angry with the media for “overhyping” a team.  Trust me, I’ve experienced it firsthand.

“Negative” columns are also the ones that tend to be most remembered, as Morris also states in his column:

 

“The same week that I wrote about Shaw starting against UAB, I also wrote in celebration of Spurrier’s 200th win, the novelty and success of USC’s ‘Rabbits’ defense and how coordinator Lorenzo Ward’s defense excelled against Missouri. (Credit to Spurrier for placing Ward in charge of the defense).”

 

No one cared about the other columns, just the one questioning Spurrier’s use of Shaw and whether or not it would impact the rest of Carolina’s season.

If the story ended there, fans would back Spurrier and the media would back Morris (even though I’ve disagreed with several of Morris’ columns on this site in the past).  Morris was doing his job.  Spurrier punished everyone — including Carolina fans — by childishly zipping his lips and pouting.

But Morris took things a step further yesterday while appearing on Bill King’s radio show on XM Radio.

You can listen to the whole interview here:

 

Ron Morris on Steve Spurrier: This is how Penn States happen

 

Morris suggested that it’s a bad PR move by Spurrier to go silent and that USC officials should make him talk.  (The last time he attempted to snub the media for something Morris wrote, the school did step in and push him back into the ring.)  But Morris then made a very bad comparison:

 

“I think it’s a real test of the administration, because this is how things like Penn State happen.  When the administration won’t step up and confront the football coach and he becomes all-powerful and when the football coach begins to dictate company policy, I think you’re asking for trouble.”

 

His point?  That one man can’t be made bigger than the university.  But that’s not how it was taken.

Instead, Morris’ remarks were met with anger by people who felt he compared child rape to a coach not chatting with the media.  Clearly, that wasn’t his goal.  But using Penn State as an analogy for anything these days will land you in a pot full of boiling water.

Morris used today’s column to apologize for those comments:

 

“The bigger issue for me was whether USC officials would recognize that Spurrier spurning the media was a public-relations problem. They did, and Spurrier resumed taking questions from the media Tuesday at his weekly news conference. I did not attend.

My comment on radio that connected USC’s public-relations issue with the Penn State scandal was only to suggest that college administrators have to be on high alert when it comes to coaches exerting too much influence over athletics department and university policy. That clearly was the case at Penn State.

In hindsight, any link to what happened at Penn State was inappropriate, and I apologize.

My critiques of Spurrier or any other sports figure, cannot be personal. It is all about doing my job as a columnist, and that is to provide an opinion, and provoke thought, about sports.”

 

So who’s the winner in all of this?  Spurrier.

The coach got a win over Missouri on Saturday with a healthy Shaw passing the ball more accurately than ever.  He then let everyone know who’s boss by refusing to take questions about the game, his team, his players, etc.

He put the spotlight on Morris and Morris proceeded to put his foot in his mouth.  Those fans that weren’t behind Spurrier to begin with sure got behind him when the columnist made a comparison between USC and Penn State.

Even though it was clear that Morris wasn’t comparing child rape to snubbing sportswriters — he was talking about schools’ administrations allowing coaches to play by their own rules — Morris had to try and throw water on the fire with a public apology today.
That will be viewed as a big win for the coach.  Spurrier gets the last laugh.

Our takeaways:

 

1.  Spurrier’s as sharp and wily off the field as he is on it.  Even though he’s often childish and bullying, he wins between the white lines and outside them.

2.  Morris was just doing his job.  There’s nothing at all wrong with questioning whether or not a player should have played.  He put forth a theory.  Readers could choose to agree with his theory or denounce it.  (This from someone, as stated earlier, who isn’t particularly a fan of Morris’ work… though I doubt he’ll lose much sleep over that fact.)  Where the writer botched things was in mentioning Penn State at all.  That subject is too raw and too many people will take any mention of that situation the wrong way.

3.  Carolina’s administration proved — for a second time — that Spurrier won’t be allowed to just do his own thing and cut off the press and the fanbase whenever he chooses.  That is indeed bad PR.  Want proof?  Instead of talking about the Cocks’ impressive win over Missouri for half a week, the nation’s media has been talking about Spurrier and his decision to shhh himself.  That puts Carolina officials ahead of Penn State’s when it comes to reeling in their coach.

 

But since Spurrier will be viewed as the big winner here — for “taking a stand” by pouting and punishing all the Columbia-area reporters for the actions of one — isn’t that symptomatic of the Joe Paterno-type hero worship that did go on at Penn State?  Not the illegal activities and the cover-up, but the hero worship?

The media can be wrong.  We often are because news-gathering is now a race to Tweet rather than a hunt for the truth.

But coaches can be wrong, too.  In this case, Spurrier was wrong to go the crybaby route and shut out folks who were only trying to do their jobs and bring information from the coach to the fans.  The fact that his handling of the situation is being praised by so many, reeks of the “Our coach can do no wrong” mentality that came back to bite PSU and its fans in their rumps.

And that statement has absolutely nothing to do with child rape, so don’t even begin to try spinning my words.

The next time Spurrier has a problem with something Morris writes — and we all know that’ll happen again at some point — he’d be wise to handle things mano y mano behind closed doors.  As two adults should.

And if fans don’t like Morris or what he writes, they don’t have to buy it or read it.

 


35 comments
Gamecock
Gamecock

People nationally will see this differently than those locally.  People nationally do not understand the contempt and agenda Morris has had against Carolina over the years.  Like it or not, media has power.  And when power goes to the media's head (for those of you who think power is gone to Spurrier's head), then it becomes irresponsible and wrong.  Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from responsibility.  And when a local writer with an irresponsible agenda influences the national perspective of someone locally, that's when it's fine to step in by the one getting unfairly attacked.  That is all that is happening here.  Spurrier is fine with criticism of his coaching.  Questioning his honesty and integrity with no facts, just opinion, crosses the line.  And is irresponsible.  Which defines Morris.

Carolinacrazy
Carolinacrazy

So you are a journalists too? Figures. You just said Morris was blatantly wrong for using any analogy that included Penn State because it was too "raw", then you did the same. Stupid is as stupid does.

AGator
AGator

Spurrier had a similar spat with a columnist (I think the columnist was Larry Guest) from the Orlando Sentinel back in the 1990s when he was at Florida. I don't remember the details but I thought the columnist was mostly being obnoxious with his opinions.

 

I wonder why coaches bother with press conferences. The only thing interesting that comes out of them is when the coach has a slip of the tongue. Newspaper articles where the reporter goes out into the field and finds a story are better.

 

Since I've been reading this site I've noticed I like some newspapers and their columnists better than others.

 

My favorite is AL.com. It's almost always interesting and informative. When they criticize a home state team they seem to be fair about it without being obnoxious. I also like the Kentucky and Missouri newspapers.

 

I'd rate the Mississippi and South Carolina newspapers near the bottom. I rarely click a link to them because I rarely find anything worth reading there.

David Dunn
David Dunn

The interesting question is whether Ron Morris will still be at The State when Spurrier retires. A lot of people like me stopped receiving The State long ago. The only reason I stuck with it as long as I did was local sports coverage. There are so many great outlets for national news, whether free or subscription based, that the only real value a local paper brings, in my opinion, is local business news and sports. It seems that most of the local business news comes from the Post and Courier so we can stay well informed of all the great things going on in Charleston. So throw in a sports columnist who is average at best and seems to express opinions without having a complete set of facts and it is easy to see why The State is starting to resemble a school newspaper in size and stature.

A Nobody
A Nobody

John -

 

You wrote: "Now the question is:  Why did he go silent on everyone in the first place."

 

You have failed, however,  to answer this question.   You have assumed it was all about Morris.  But you have zero evidence of this - other than a Morris column.

 

Of course, along the way you engage in a character attack on Spurrier.  That's par for the course here, to be honest.   You've called him a 'crybaby' a lot.  Anytime he says anything that could be taken as critical of Richt, you fly off the handle - and you personally attack any commenter who says otherwise.   If you don't see that, then you have a blind spot big enough to drive a tractor trailer through. 

 

The Paterno comparison is not merely impolitic.  It's a cruel insult.   You know it.    Ron knew it when he said it.   For you to say that there is some kernel of truth in it is absolutely mortifying.

 

Ultimately, you have no idea what happened on Saturday or Sunday.   You provide no source material.   You're just speculating - but you don't have the integrity to say so. 

TerryRobinson
TerryRobinson

It is o.k. to question a coach or teacher or leader..it is not o.k. to question their character or integrity. In my opinion that is where Morris has crossed the line and where Spurrier took umbridge. I also do not think anyone should be forced to work with a writer that has made such claims. It seems that many journalist want to wear differant hats and claim priveleges and rights depending on what they need. By Morris's own admission he is a columnist..not a journalist.and in that role he writes opinions. Whereas a journalist is tied to fact...Morris can say anything he wants....and he argues..should be able to have access with his subject compelled to participate in the assasination of the subject's own character.

 

IMO a journalist has rights...a columnist is just some mouth that is not bound by any rules of truth...and nor is he afforded any rights. Morris can continue to say outlandish crap...he has done so for years. This latest Penn State comparrison was just the latest and the most notorious..because it came on a national broadcast. This was an example of the type of hyperbole and poor consideration for the truth that epitomizes his work. The work...that USC has had to endure for years. He has an agenda..and it is that he wants to be controversial...he wants to write things that stir the pot..and if one does not naturally exist he will stretch one to fit. He may call himself a columnist...well I guess technically that is true..but so is Geraldo..so is Nancy Grace..A walter Cronkite he is not...and nor should he or people of his ilk be treated with anywhere near the repect afforded to those respected members of journalism..   

MikeWatford
MikeWatford

It is a Sad fact of life but The University of SC has always had to contend with a jackass columnist in the Sports Department at The State Newspaper. Herman Helms could never give Frank McGuire or his teams a compliment without screwing it up . Now we must suffer the likes of Ron Morris. It's really funny when these "MEDIA GUROS" think they can offend a whole team and their coach and wonder "why don't you let me in the Press Room?"  Why should any coach put up with the likes of Herman Helms or a Ron Morris? In my opion, to be part of the press team to attend a coach's press conference is not a Right but a PRIVILEGE! It is because of 1)The State Newspaper over charges for home delivery and 2) the continous attacks on USC by Morris I do not subscribe to THIS RAG anymore.Morris states he is to critique and cheer on USC. I'd love to see the later.The comparison to Penn State was wrong by him and this BOZO who wrote this piece. For the record, I questioned why Shaw started againgst UAB. However,as a former JV Basketball Coach ,I remember it is the coach's call and he usually has a reason. A person who would be from out of town reading "Daily Rag" would be thinking "these people don't like USC." When Spurrier was at Flordia we Gamecocks left feeling he ran up the score. However,Coach Spurrier came back with "I always thought when you have possession the idea is to score and to win." Well he has brought USC out of the Cellar in Football much like McGuire did years ago in Basketball. Morris started this feud and thus as the saying goes "you made your bed now lie in it." If Morris really wanted to needle someone then why didn't he do so with Horn? It was obvious to me the team was very lacking in fundamentals,made  the same mistakes over and over plus his 2-3 defense was way to spread out. My former team are in their 40s now however I dare say with two weeks of practice my team would've beaten Horn's because they would play with heart.Steve Spurrier has found a way to make each person play with heart just like if they were playing a pick up football game in the "ol' neighborhood". Why can't Morris write on what I just said? Simple. It's not controversal,not sensational therefore it doesn't sell papers. So let me be clear, it's not Coach Spurrier's job to give you a job. So when you "whine" I was just doing my job,the question based on your own word are "WERE YOU REALLY?" I think not especially after your comparison to Penn State.

JackStone
JackStone

John, I don't like what Morris writes and stopped reading The State three years ago. I miss it but won't subscribe again until he's gone. I catch the latest controversy Morris' created on the internet. Other Gamecocks have covered my beefs with Morris very well. I'll only add that he's not a very good writer imo. His understanding of the major sports is about as deep as a kiddie pool. When I read his columns they were rife with factual and other errors. I will say that Ron's profiles on players and coaches were usually well done. 

 

Ron's good articles didn't come close to balancing the ones where he intentionally heaved buckets of cold water in my face. Why is it necessary for a writer for the major hometown newspaper to regularly write negative articles when a program is headed in the right direction after years of struggle? Fans are finally feeling great then BOOM... our coach lied about poaching or played a lame QB. Why can't The State be "homers" when almost everything is well in Gamecockland?

 

I've lived in many metro areas in the eastern half of the US. I've rarely seen the leading newspaper regularly attack the hometown team the way The State does. The exception I can think of in SEC cities are the  Lexington Herald-Leader and the Louisville Courier-Journal. Writers at those newspapers can be absolutely vicious if a team is under-performing. I guess the AJC can be as well but you'll never get anything but cheerleading for UGA from the Athens Banner-Herald. How about the other SEC newspapers? Do any of them flog the hometown team the way The State does when they're winning?

 

 

Kleary C
Kleary C

John,

I agree Spurrier's treatment of Columbia reporters was unfair and rigid but any attempt to liken Spurrier and the press to ANYTHING PSU is ridiculous and indefensible. Ron Morris said "this is how things like Penn State happen." Since you consider yourself a journalist, couldn't you find a more fitting example or comparison of "coach worship" than to point to the worst coverup in the history of organized sports? Failure to produce an accurate analogy and deciding to defend someone because they share a similar profession is equally bad or worse than going off half-cocked on Twitter. Why? Because you CANNOT separate the "coach worship" at Penn State from the child molestation it helped cultivate. That's not spinning your words. That's just me pointing out how bad of an idea it was to defend Ron's comment about Spurrier and PSU.

GB
GB

Only two things, press speaking to a coach or asking questions is a privilege not a right. Sometimes it's better to clam up for a cool off period than to produce a rant like an upstate coach out of anger.

KWD
KWD

John, I am going to take you to task on your continued characterization of Spurrier as a cry baby, childish, and a bully. As a life-long Carolina fan, I certainly was not enamored with Spurrier when he was at Florida, but that was mainly because his team thrashed my team year after year. I certainly hoped he could reverse Carolina's fortunes when he was hired, but I was fairly neutral as to what I thought of him as a person. Following him these last 8 years (because I follow the school he coaches), I have learned a few things about him (some which have surprised me) 1. The vast majority of his comments that needle opponents are way overblown (though I have cringed at some of them). Most of the time, he is just being honest (a rarity among coaches) or trying to be funny. 2. While Spurrier has a huge ego (show me a highly successful coach that doesn't), I have been somewhat surprised at his willingness to take blame, apologize for team and personal failures, give others credit, and defer to his superiors. At least in comments, he sees his AD as his boss. 3. Spurrier says he is not concerned about his legacy, but I believe he wants to be seen as someone who maintained his integrity while being successful. When his coaching is criticized he may make a snide comment. The accusations with Shaw, and Ellington last year, from his point of view, criticized his integrity. Certainly, Spurrier is a complex character, but I would not describe him as childish or a bully. Being a successful head coach, he does have to be forceful to bring about change, but he is not near the control-freak you see with some coaches. He certainly has a lot of power at South Carolina, but he is one of the last coaches I would see as being involved in a Penn State-type cover up. While I do not agree with everything Spurrier does (I have especially not liked some of his criticizing players in the media), I am comfortable that he is being successful without cheating or being a jerk. You probably do not see it that way, but I guess we all have our own biases.

mb6783
mb6783

If Im not mistaken, the last time Spurrier did something like this, he didn't shut out all of the media, just morris. If you go back and watch the film, he said he would go into anouther room and do one on one interviews, he just wouldn't do anything with "that guy" (morris) in the room. And that was because of Morris printing lies about Spurrier recruiting Bruce Ellington off the basketball team. Atleast thats the way I remember it, I could be wrong.

 

Spurrier has plenty of wiggle room at SC, but the SC fans still remember his UF days, and though he has brought us to a level never reached before, if they could string him up, plenty would.  Keep up the great work

Some Yahoo
Some Yahoo

Fair piece. No one really reads The State anymore anyway. Worst paper of all time, all 10 daily pages of it.

Mark
Mark

I am not a SC fan.  I root for UGA and have all my life.  That said, I don't blame Spurrier one bit for not taking questions.  When a columnist is going to make judgments, he needs more facts.  Did he speak with doctors?  Did he find out the extent of the injury?  Did he state in the article that if the doctors were on top of it, then he understood?  Today, too many journalist feel it's ok to critique things that are outside their area of expertise.  That's not only bad manners, it's bad journalism.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @A Nobody 

 

He is a crybaby and I'm hardly the only person in the past 25 years to say so.  You ignore the numerous times I've called him a great coach, of course.

 

"You're just speculating -- but you don't have the integrity to say so," says the man who won't sign his name.  Actually, here's what I wrote in the story above, if you'd actually read all of it and not just weeded through it to find insults:

 

"On Monday, we suggested that the Ol’ Ball Coach was a) feeling powerful enough to do whatever he liked because he’s winning and b) probably mad at something written by Ron Morris, a columnist for The State newspaper in Columbia who Spurrier strongly dislikes."

 

I think it's pretty clear that we said, yep, we were speculating.  And if you think Ron Morris would write what he did in the paper without hearing from Carolina officials that Spurrier was indeed ticked with him, you don't know much about the media or how it works.

 

At least I have the integrity to sign my name, look at a story objectively, and report both sides of it.

 

John

 

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @TerryRobinson 

 

It's not OK to question the character or integrity of a coach?  Really.  And here I keep seeing people question the character and integrity of one US president after another.

 

Thanks for reading,John 

MikeWatford
MikeWatford

 @MikeWatford

 Morris said:

“Football coaches are hired to win football games. Sports columnists are expected to praise and critique those coaches, their teams and their programs.

It is natural for coaches — in any college town — to ask about columnists: ‘Who the heck are you to judge me?’

The answer is today, as it always has been: ‘I’m just a sports columnist doing my job.’”

“The same week that I wrote about Shaw starting against UAB, I also wrote in celebration of Spurrier’s 200th win, the novelty and success of USC’s ‘Rabbits’ defense and how coordinator Lorenzo Ward’s defense excelled against Missouri. (Credit to Spurrier for placing Ward in charge of the defense).”

“The bigger issue for me was whether USC officials would recognize that Spurrier spurning the media was a public-relations problem. They did, and Spurrier resumed taking questions from the media Tuesday at his weekly news conference. I did not attend.

My comment on radio that connected USC’s public-relations issue with the Penn State scandal was only to suggest that college administrators have to be on high alert when it comes to coaches exerting too much influence over athletics department and university policy. That clearly was the case at Penn State.

In hindsight, any link to what happened at Penn State was inappropriate, and I apologize.

My critiques of Spurrier or any other sports figure, cannot be personal. It is all about doing my job as a columnist, and that is to provide an opinion, and provoke thought, about sports.”

 

Now John and everyone else,since I possess a masters in chemistry ie I have a very analytical mind let me teach you on an 8th grade level what my original post said.1)By Ron Morris own admission he IS NOT a journalist.He is a columnist thus he does not deal with facts.2)Since Morris wants to assume "his opion" is always right and stick it out there to piss off Carolina Fans then he's earned "his just deserts".3)It is true a lot of people questioned starting Shaw in the UAB game myself included.I bitched the entire game that Shaw needed to rest his shoulder.4)Having been a coach myself and re-thinking everything,I remember it's always the coach's call and I do not feel Shaw would have started unless both parties felt he was ready.5)The fact Morris compliments Coach Spirrier on 200 wins and hiring Lorenzo Ward once again proves he,like Herman Helms,know how to screw up anything "nice" they may say as their snake venum will bite you in the ass later.6)The "Hero Worship" of Coaches has been going on for a long time and Penn State is a piss poor example since it's tied to a scandel.Let's discuss the Legendary Bear Bryant who is still held to high esteem at Alabama;Barry Switzer of OU;Mac Brown of Texas;Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys;Jimmy Johnson both of U of Miami in Fla and then the Dallas Cowboys;Lou Holtz at Notre Dame;as you might see I could keep producing a long list.Thus your and Morris comments are null and void by my aforementioned examples.The important point to be raised is Do The Indivuals run a clean program?Obviously Yes.7)As I stated before journalist have earned the right to be at a Press Confrence but for a columnist it's a priveledge because one deals with facts and the othe spins his opion.Therefore,Coach Spurrier has every right to ban Morris from his Press Confrences.As I said before,Morris started this war thus "he made his bed now let him lie in it."8)Finally,if Morris WAS any kind of journalist then a)why didn't he ride Horn's back,b)why didn't he expose Coach Willis threw a game after I gave him the evidence?9)The reason is this man has NO integrity unlike Coach Spurrier.Morris only wants to stir the pot,upset everyone,or  overly sensationalize only because it sells papers.10)Now you may thank me John,your lesson is over on the 8th grade level.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @JackStone 

 

As someone who covers all the SEC's schools, every single fanbase thinks the local paper is against their school.  I've got five years of emails and comments to prove it.

 

And you don't want The State to be "homers."  You should want truth.  Morris played a hunch in his column and was wrong.  He then put his foot in his mouth on the radio and apologized for it.  He's a columnist, not a news-gatherer in that role.

 

I don't want "homers" reporting on my team.  I want an honest critique from many different viewpoints.  Then I can decide what's write or wrong.

 

Just my take.  Thanks for reading the site,

John

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

Kleary C...

 

I made it quite clear that we're not talking about a cover-up.  I'm talking about some fans' complete devotion and backing to a human being.  Because he happens to coach their favorite team.

 

The analogy couldn't be clearer.  I am not comparing Spurrier or USC to PSU rape scandal... I am comparing some fans' total support of their coaches -- whatever the school, in this case USC -- to the hero-worship culture that existed at Penn State because that's one where we all learned that coaches are human.

 

Put it another way -- I don't have blind faith in anyone or anything.  I sure wouldn't put it in a football or basketball coach.  As I've witnessed THOUSANDS of times, fans who back Coach A when he's at their school will turn on him immediately if he goes to another school.

 

Nature of fandom?  Not for me.  I'm a New England Patriots fan.  Bill Belichick can be a massive jerk at times.  My fingers didn't fall off in typing that.  So it's tough for me to understand how so many fans rally around their coaches they way they do.

 

My take.  Thanks for reading,John 

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

KWD...

 

I've written many times that I think Spurrier is a great coach, that on many occasions he's funny, and that it's good for the SEC to have him back near the top of the mountain.  

 

I've also written that he can bully people, that his mood rises and falls with wins like a high school player's, and that he often pouts.

 

There's no bias there on my part... there's just gray.  Like just about everyone else I've ever met.  

 

I did not say or suggest he would cheat -- I don't think he does, but all programs do have boosters and fans who most definitely cheat to different degrees -- nor did I suggest he would cover anything up.  What I said was -- he has his faults and the fact that some fans defend him no matter what is akin to the hero worship we learned was so flawed at Penn State.  These guys are human.  It's okay to say "he's wrong on this" occasionally.  From my experience with 14 fanbases in the SEC, that rarely happens when a coach is winning.  When he's losing, no one thinks he does anything right.

 

I have an autographed photo of Spurrier as part of my SEC collection and it hangs right at the top of my staircase for all to see.  I don't dislike Spurrier or wish ill upon him.  I just call it like I see it.

 

Those who don't like Spurrier only read where I say he's a great coach, good for the SEC, etc.  Those who do like Spurrier only read where I say he's childish at times... and I'm far, far, far from the only person who's ever said that.  You even admit that you didn't like him at Florida, but now that he's coaching your team, you have a new appreciation for him.  That just makes you like 99.9% of the rest of the people on earth.  If he's someone else's guy, he's a jerk.  If he's my guy, he's awesome.

 

But I say both... he can be a jerk, but he's also an awesome coach.  I'll tell you when I think he's right.  And I'll tell you when I think he's wrong.  I think he was wrong on this occasion and there was no need for it.  Grown men in mutli-million dollar jobs don't just tell the press and fans to stick it because they're upset with one writer.  They call that writer in and work it out in private so others aren't affected.

 

That's just my take on the matter.  Thanks for reading the site,

John

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @mb6783 

 

You are correct... but it depends on how you look at that. 

 

I can tell you that if a coach gives that kind of ultimatum to a reporter, the other media members aren't going to run off one of their own.  So when a coach says, "I'll talk as long as he's not here," that means "I'm not talking."  Because the reporter probably won't leave and most of the other reporters wouldn't let him if he wanted to.

 

It's the same way coaches tend to support one another when the media is coming down on one of them.  "I think he's a great coach and he's taking too much heat, etc."

 

Many thanks for reading,

John

EKT
EKT

Mark is spot on. There is nothing wrong with being critical of coaches when you are actually basing it on something. Did Morris have any reason at all to believe Shaw was playing hurt? Had he spoken to doctors, Shaw's family, someone "inside" USC football?? No. He had not one credible thing that he cited to base his accusations on. He simply put out a lazy piece full of off-based accusations. Those things are actually ok on a blog such as this, but published in the single largest newspaper in South Carolina. Bad, bad journalism and there has been a long history of these kinds of pieces from Morris on Columbia vs USC. I dont blame coaches at all for taking a strong stand when their integrity as a professional is being called into question with no facts whatsoever to back it up. And yes, I am a Carolina alum and fan who does think Steve Spurrier is God but is awfully happen he is coaching the Gamecocks. 

A Nobody
A Nobody

 @John at MrSEC  @A Nobody    Anyone who signs their real name to a blog is looking for trouble, in my humble opinion.  But fan - go ahead and attack the messenger rather than the message.   Your story has zero sources.   Your quote says "On Monday ...." .... fine.  That was Monday.  You posted this story on Wednesday and the whole tenor of the piece was that there is no question but that Spurrier's decision not to take questions at a post-game presser and a Sunday conference call was completely about Morris.  In this comment you concede you were speculating, but you don't stipulate that in the body of the piece.  I know enough about how the media works to know that you cite sources, or you admit you're speculating.  You've done neither.   As for all the times you call Spurrier a great coach ... or bleat about the picture you have of him on your wall ... or how much you like the Lowcountry ... or how nicely Carolina is doing, you still name-call (the crybaby thing) and its wrong.  Apparently, criticism is taken mighty personally round here.   Heaven forbid any criticism of this blog reach the level of what's dished out of it, however.

MikeWatford
MikeWatford

 Please read ALL of my post and not pick and choose what sentences you like . I agree with Terry Robinson; Ron Morris is not a journalist! He's a loud mouth,self-serving,arrogant person much like Herman Helms was who is instrested in only creating cotrovery,or sensationalism because that's what sells papers. For example,at one time I had 3 items to prove Coach Willis at Newberry College threw the 2006 Bronze Derby Game @ PC.1)I had gone to the Mars Hill game the week before . The offense was screwing up so Coach Willis called timeout and he and his Offensive Coach straightened things out.2)The same game, the defense was screwing up another timeou it.He and his Defensive Co-ordenator (Now the Coach) fixed things and NC won 34-0. However,Mars Hill was a Conference Game.Now, the next week at PC,the offense screws up like they started out at Mars Hill-no timeout. The defense was worse than at the start of Mars Hill -no timeout.The over 2000+ faithfull yelled "do something!"-no timeouts.3)The next day in the Sunday paper Willis runs off at the mouth that he hates rivalires (a pretty big article at that).4)Homecomming 2008,I met 3 former players from the 2006 team.They explained it was Coach Willis and Josh Stepp's belief that we didn't need this game,thus don't make any effort to win The 2006 Bronze Derby.5)It was thought it'd be better to keep everyone healthy for the playoffs.

Well,when I told Ron Morris all this and at the time I remembered the names of the players I talked to his response was "that's nice." A TRUE JOURNALIST would have jumped all over this story.However,I degress this is suppose to be about USC.

So tell me MR Know It All SEC,if Morris is "jus a columnist" then why did he start this war with Coach Spurrier?Why not Darrin Horn? I already said even though my players were in their 40s but with 2 weeks of practice we'd beaten him and left him on the court.

One last remark to quote Ron Morris:" Football coaches are hired to win football games. Sports columnists are expected to praise and critique those coaches, their teams and their programs." When has Morris ever praised Spurrier for the fine job he's doing at USC?When has he ever said anything about USC?Last when did "King" Herman Helms ever say anything good about USC or McGuire?

You see sir these fools (that's what they are) piss off a lot of people because they aren't instrested in facts! A lot of people droped The State because Herman Helms and now like me a lot are dropping it due to Ron Morris,

MR Know It ALL SEC,please know your facts-----Ron Morris doesn't care for facts as you said in a post as such people like him should look upon being part of a Coach's Press Confrence a priveledge and not a right.Walter he is not and Rick Henry he is not.

Case Closed!

KWD
KWD

John, Thanks for the response. Maybe the bigger issue here is not Spurrier, but what coaches should and should not do when they feel like their charecter and integrity has been unfairly assasignated by a writer. Though ideal, it is too simplistic just to say they should talk to them 'man to man'. Surely, Spurrier and Ron Morris' relationship is beyond this ideal response. Even if he would have gone to Morris, do you think he would have offerred a retraction? Morris has never retracted his comments about Spurrier poaching Ellington from the BB team. What recourse do coaches have when they feel they are wrongly portrayed by the media? They can ignore it, go balistic like Saban, or refuse interviews or questions. I guess any of the 3 is their perogotive. If the mediia dishes it out, they should be able to take it. It should really not be a big surprise when a coach or player shuts off the media.

PhilRoof
PhilRoof

With Morris' comment re Penn State, he is slaming the integrity of the whole University, our President as well as the AD and the Board of Trustees. Alumni!! If I were in charge, I would not let Morris' back on campus or into any USC athletic event. If the other reporters decide to stay with this reporter, then so be it, that is their loss. I do not believe that the other reporters would stand for the kind of reporting that Morris does. Further, Morris needs to apologise to the whole Gamecock Nation.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @A Nobody 

 

I hardly think calling someone with a history of pouting a "crybaby" and signing your name to it is on par with an anonymous person saying someone he doesn't know has no integrity.

 

Don't like the site?  Have a nice life.

 

John

MikeWatford
MikeWatford

Oh and John,I hope this shuts you up too!My statement at the end should have read:Ron Morris doesn't care for facts as you said he does in a post, as such people like him should look upon being part of a Coach's Press Confrence as a priveledge and not a right.Walter he is not and Rick Henry he is not.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @MikeWatford 

 

I don't claim to be a know-it-all and it's the site that's MrSEC.com, not me... but I do know this: Morris wrote this and we quoted it in our piece above:

 

“The same week that I wrote about Shaw starting against UAB, I also wrote in celebration of Spurrier’s 200th win, the novelty and success of USC’s ‘Rabbits’ defense and how coordinator Lorenzo Ward’s defense excelled against Missouri. (Credit to Spurrier for placing Ward in charge of the defense).”

 

Seems that Morris writes about the good and the bad, but man the "bad" stuff gets a lot more play.  So much so that no one pays any attention to the good.  Just like Jerry Tipton's work in Lexington.  And John Adams' work in Knoxville.  And Kevin Scarbinsky's work in Birmingham.  And... I could go on and on and on.

 

Hope that answers your question, though.  

 

John 

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

KWD...

 

I agree.  My issue was not with Spurrier getting upset with Morris.  If he'd taken him aside and said, look, I'm not going to answer your questions at press conferences and I'm not going to provide you with another word one on one... then that would've been fair treatment.

 

But Spurrier chose to punish all the media -- and therefore the fans who would have liked to have read/seen/heard what the coach would have to say about a number of topics -- because of the actions of one person, as far as we can tell.

 

If he's got a beef with Morris, have at it.  But he can't ban him from press conferences -- that's bad PR and that's why USC officials stepped in last time -- and he shouldn't take his anger out on all those folks who make a living covering South Carolina football.  

 

I really don't think you and I are too far apart on this one.

 

I just think Spurrier should have handled it man-to-man rather than man-to-entire-press-corps.

 

Thanks again for reading the site.  It's appreciated.

 

John

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @PhilRoof 

 

Your reference to "demonic" sure seemed to be tied more to Morris' comment than to the situation at Penn State.

 

But, OK, you win.  Morris was definitely trying to equate Spurrier dodging the media to child rape.  Any rational, objective, reasonable person can clearly see that's exactly what he was trying to do.  

 

John

PhilRoof
PhilRoof

I suggest that you read the dictionary with regard to the words that I used. The definitions are as follows for you to review. Translation for you; dastardly yields Cowardly; demonic relating to the devil which is appropriate for what PSU did. I tried to think of stronger words but could not get a better description for what Morris did. My words were certainly not extravagant. They were accurate. You are trying to defend the indefensible.

Webster’s own definitions:Definition of HYPERBOLE: extravagant exaggeration (as “mile-high ice-cream cones”)Definition of DASTARDLY1: cowardly 2: characterized by underhandedness or treachery <a dastardly attack> <a dastardly villain> Definition of DEMONIC: of, relating to, or suggestive of a demon : fiendish <demonic cruelty> <demonic laughter

 

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @PhilRoof 

 

"Dastardly and demonic?"  Hyperbole much?

 

Don't give me the "you all stand together" bunk.  I gave you my take on the situation... pluses and minuses for each party.  And I've specifically taken several Morris columns to task in the past.

 

I call it like I see it.  You'll not find another site on the web that says we in the media butcher things from time to time more than this one.

 

John

 

PhilRoof
PhilRoof

Actually I did read the piece. My point is and was that he should specifically apologize to all concerned. I think that it is impossible to un-ring the dastardly and demonic bell that he has rung, but that he could address each of the offended parties in a specific way. How would the State have felt if someone with USC affiliations had made reference to the owners or executives in that paper to the paper and that it was acting like a Penn State? That would have never been published I assure you. The whole article was Morris’ political spin which attempted to justify what he did which was unjustifiable. I suggest that you read the piece with a more sensitive approach to how the victimized party should be treated. I suppose that you are one of those who stand by your profession or by people who throw stones.

 

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @PhilRoof 

 

Actually, if you read the piece before commenting you'd have seen that Morris did apologize.  We posted it and we linked to it.

 

John

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