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Doyel: Spurrier Needs To Worry About Coaching, Not The Media

Gregg Doyel can get ready for some ugly emails from South Carolina Gamecock fans.  Here’s guessing he won’t care because Doyel’s a guy who lives for ugly emails and insults.  He’s made a career out of it.

In his latest column, Doyel first tackles Ron Morris’ Penn State comment from a week ago.  It seems he took it the same way I did last week (which might be the first time I’ve agreed with Doyel on anything as well as the first time I’d ever defended Morris):

 

“‘This,’ Morris said on the radio, ‘is how things like Penn State happen.’

Morris wasn’t saying a pedophile will strike South Carolina, or that Spurrier would allow a pedophile to run unchecked. Morris was saying, quite clearly, that it’s a bad idea for a coach to become too powerful at his school, just as Joe Paterno grew to be too powerful at Penn State. That’s what Morris meant.

But it was a bad analogy — wrong time, wrong situation — and Spurrier flipped.

And in the process, Spurrier is confirming Morris’ overall point.”

 

Doyel writes that Spurrier’s remark last week that good things are about to happen because he’s complaining and his bosses are complaining, too, suggests Morris might just lose his job.  (We’ll pause for Gamecock fans to cheer.)  Doyel doesn’t think that’s a good thing.

Regarding Morris’ comment, Doyel writes:

 

“If the people who run the State decide such a poorly chosen analogy cannot be made without repercussions, fine. I’m not telling the newspaper how to run its business, as long as it’s thinking for itself.

But if the State lets Steve Spurrier think for it? That’s a problem.

At this point, Spurrier looks worse than Morris. Spurrier is the parody of the thin-skinned football coach, the guy who’s so mad at a writer that he won’t talk to the writer — or to anyone else. Silly.

This isn’t the first time Spurrier has reacted so strongly to a critical columnist. He gave Orlando Sentinel columnist Larry Guest a similar cold shoulder in the 1990s. When it happens once, that says something about the coach and the columnist. When it happens twice, at two different schools in two different states?

It says something about Steve Spurrier.”

 

If you’re thinking to yourself that this piece doesn’t read like the tradition Doyel rabble-rouser, you’re right.  It doesn’t.  Instead of firing insults and barbs, Doyel simply makes a pretty good case for freedom of the press:

 

“Remember, this is what Spurrier said: ‘The University of South Carolina, our newspaper, we’re all going to get along better, which is what it’s all about.’

No, Steve. That’s not what it’s all about. Getting along? The media isn’t supposed to ‘get along’ with the people and powers they writes about. The media are supposed to write what they (reporters) know and what they (columnists) think, and readers are supposed to decide what to believe, and people like Steve Spurrier are supposed to coach their football teams.

This can’t happen, whatever is about to happen in South Carolina. Not if whatever happens is Steve Spurrier’s idea. He’s a hell of a football coach, one of the best I’ve ever seen. But he’s power-drunk if he thinks he can decide who does and does not write about his team.

What kind of coach thinks his power extends beyond the football field, beyond campus, all the way into the newsroom of the local newspaper?

One who has way too damn much power already.”

 

Which brings us back full circle to the analogy Morris tried so unsuccessfully to make in a radio interview last week.

But judging by the comments under Doyel’s story, many folks still don’t agree with his view of freedom of the press.  That’s not surprising.  We live in a country where Republicans watch Fox News and Democrats watch MSNBC just to have their own opinions validated.  It’s a world of Maddows and Limbaughs in politics and team-based websites in sports that spin everything in favor of the hometown team because the people doing the writing are actually fans of the team they cover.

So maybe there’s no need for a free press anymore anyway.  There’s clearly more money to be made in just telling people what they want to hear.

To which I say: Go Gators, Bulldogs, Wildcats, Tigers, Gamecocks, Volunteers, Commodores, Crimson Tide, Razorbacks, Tigers, Tigers, Rebels, Bulldogs and Aggies!

 


24 comments
Mark1984
Mark1984 like.author.displayName 1 Like

I can't believe you would compare a coach refusing to do interviews to a free press.  Morris is free to write anything he wants.  Doesn't mean the coach has to give him access.  It's a silly comparison.

This comment has been deleted

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @Mark1984 

 

Doyel is writing about the fact that Spurrier insinuates that changes are in the works and he says IF -- that's IF -- that means USC is pushing for Morris to be fired or yanked from the Carolina beat that that IS a freedom of the press issue.

 

That's his point.

 

John

Mark1984
Mark1984 like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @John at MrSEC  @Mark1984   The press can do anything it wants with it.  USC has just as much freedom to yank access it wants to.  The press is not god to demand access and the right to write anything it wants.  It can write, within reason (no libel, etc.) but access is not a guarantee.  SOS has rights as well and so does USC.

vehemon
vehemon like.author.displayName 1 Like

The funny thing is, there is a lot of Gamecock media that's on Ron Morris' side as well because they believe they have slighted them with the silence.  What if Spurrier returned the favor and simply just started spitting out out-right lies, garbage quotes, and non-sense for them to put in their column during a press conference?  Wouldn't that be a little vindication and a more appropriate response to Ron Morris?

Gamecock in ATL
Gamecock in ATL like.author.displayName 1 Like

Why has everyone (Mr SEC included) jumped to the conclusion that Spurrier is wielding some sort of power to have Morris fired? If that does happen, and if that is what Spurrier is alluding to about "changes" being forthcoming, then I will stand corrected and admit that Spurrier is crossing the line.

 

However, how do we know that USC is not simply cutting off Mr. Morris' press pass? I'm not an expert in this realm, but presumably the university grants press access to certain individuals for these interviews, calls, etc. If one of those granted access repeatedly prints lies, why is it not in the university's right to revoke that special access? Sure, Morris can write whatever he wants, but the university does not have to enable him and give him undue credibility by allowing access to Spurrier. If THAT is what the "changes" are that Spurrier speaks of, how is that taking away the freedom of the press in any way, shape, or form?

vehemon
vehemon like.author.displayName 1 Like

"Which brings us back full circle to the analogy Morris tried so unsuccessfully to make in a radio interview last week.

But judging by the comments under Doyel’s story, many folks still don’t agree with his view of freedom of the press.  That’s not surprising.  We live in a country where Republicans watch Fox News and Democrats watch MSNBC just to have their own opinions validated.  It’s a world of Maddows and Limbaughs in politics and team-based websites in sports that spin everything in favor of the hometown team because the people doing the writing are actually fans of the team they cover.

So maybe there’s no need for a free press anymore anyway.  There’s clearly more money to be made in just telling people what they want to hear."

 

The said part is... you are quick to put this as an attack on free press and because Spurrier/Gamecock fans are upset with what Ron Morris is writing.  You are correct, it seems more and more people want their opinions validated in today's news.  But in this particular case... I think the finger pointing needs to go on the media itself on trying to comment on something when they haven't spent the time or effort to research what this is truly all about.  You see people wanting their opinions validated; I see people losing faith and the honesty of the media itself.  There is no accountability left with telling the truth in the news anymore.  Negativity, shock value, and eye catching headlines are more important news to cover than something inspirational or positive.  Let's make up facts and give flaming opinions and apologize later if the facts turn out incorrect... or taken out of context.

 

With that said... doesn't Spurrier get to have his freedom of speech too?

"I told my wife after the last article, ‘I’ve had it. I’ve had enough.  I’m not going to take it anymore.  I’ve had enough.’  Almost all of the Gamecocks say, ‘Coach, don’t pay any attention to him, he’s insignificant,’ which he is.  He is not an important person.  But they’re not having their name and reputation slandered.  So, I’m the one.  It’s not my mode of operation to not say anything about it.  So, this is my voice here.  He gets his voice in the newspaper, which he uses…"

That doesn't sound whining to me.  If someone wrote false facts and horrible accusations (and essentially made their money by doing so) about MrSec.com, how would you respond?

 

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @vehemon 

 

What you wrote:

"With that said... doesn't Spurrier get to have his freedom of speech too?"

 

What I wrote on Friday:

"If Spurrier feels slandered, he has every right to use his own radio platform to say so.  As the coach states, Morris has his venue, Spurrier has his.  A winning coach versus the media?  You can guess who’s going to get the backing of the public on that one.

 

The only problem we had with Spurrier’s actions was his decision to punish every reporter trying to cover his team because he was upset with one columnist.  Turns out, that’s exactly what happened and we still think that was a childish move.  “Handle it man-to-man,” we said.  Yesterday, Spurrier did and there’s not a thing in the world wrong with that."

 

But it doesn't matter what I write.  People will ignore whatever parts they choose in order to paint me as being anti-whatever they want me to be anti- about.

 

John

vehemon
vehemon like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @John at MrSEC  @vehemon Didn't you just do the same thing focusing in on my quote "With that said... doesn't Spurrier get to have his freedom of speech too?" :)  It seems the media is ignoring whatever parts they choose to get a good story without providing the true history of Ron Morris and his slandering the past 10+ years. Again, this goes WAY past Spurrier.  I gave you some history on how this goes way past Spurrier and how The State/Ron Morris has made a culture of slanderous columns to try and create increased readership...    

 

Individually, I've come to respect the articles I see at Mr.SEC. Collectively, you use 'we' a lot in your response and I can only assume that we means the umbrella of the media in 'general'. I understand how you think this is a childish move but what other options did he have?  Handle it man to man? Ron Morris would love that.  It sets an amazing example on how you can get Spurrier to do a one on one interview/report with him in the future. Slander him, publish false facts, and attack his character in print and Spurrier willl give you even more attention and give more popularity to your column.

 

I would have thought it was obvious that Spurrier's intentions were not to punish every reporter.  The 'media' might have viewed it that way.... but... try and put yourself in Spurrier's shoes.  How would you handle it?

 

I wasn't trying to paint you anti-anything.  If there is anything my responses were meant to do... it was to display my frustration with the media on "ignoring whatever parts they choose" to publish an article about this mess without gathering all the facts.

vehemon
vehemon

 @John at MrSEC I agree he could have approached it a different way.  Hell, I wish I would have approached a 'conversation' I had with my wife 3 hours ago differently.  That's why i'm on the couch with the laptop and she's pissed off in bed.  It's fun to be judgmental in retrospect.

 

I also agree that fans like to hear only the positives and ignore the negatives about their team. But I think you underestimate most true college football fans.  We like to take the good and the bad as long as based off hard facts. I frequent this site because of a nice dose objectivity you guys have.

 

I apologize if any responses I had came off bickering.  I would prefer this be a moot conversation and focus on October.  The Gamecocks have enough to worry about this month instead of defending the next Ron Morris article on how Spurrier hired  a doppelganger that knew how to do the 'Cha Cha Slide' to recruit Marcus Lattimore a few years ago.

Mark1984
Mark1984

 @John at MrSEC  @vehemon John, Does a man have to give up his freedom so that the press can get their answers?  When was the last time the constitution was used to force the president to have a news conference?

 

Mark

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @vehemon 

 

No, I didn't do the same thing.  You completely ignored something I'd written and presented it as though I'm upset that Spurrier was mean to Ron Morris.  I said he had all the right in the world to rip Ron Morris.  He was wrong, however, to punish all the media for the actions of one man.

 

"We" means those of us at MrSEC.com.  I can't imagine anyone would actually think I try to speak for all the media.  As I've written a million times, I don't think the media -- which I'm a part of -- is perfect in any way, shape or form.

 

But I'm done with this.  It's a can't win situation and unlike Gregg Doyel, I don't enjoy constant bickering in the comment boxes.  

 

Carolina fans will side with Spurrier on anything he does no matter what... right up until he loses his next game.  Same with every other fanbase.  Anyone who presents a positive AND a negative about a school's coach will be hammered by that's school's fans only for the negative and the positive will be totally and completely ignored.  Happens here on a daily basis.

 

I wrote from 9am to 7pm today and got nothing but grief all day long for a free site.  That doesn't even count what went up on our recruiting and overtime pages.

 

So you win.  Spurrier's right.  Morris is a liar.  The media just makes stuff up for kicks.  And Spurrier shouldn't have just punished Morris or called him out... he absolutely should have refused to take questions from anyone else in the media for two days, too.  Good call.  Right as rain.

 

I surrender to your logic.

 

John

 

 

vehemon
vehemon

The fact is... and most non-regional media will conveniently or unknowingly miss... is that this is not simply a Morris vs Spurrier 'thing'.  Ron Morris and sensationalism has gone hand in hand with his writing way before Spurrier was even a coach at South Carolina.  Has the media become so muddled over the years that most can't find the difference between giving an opinion/critique against an article riddled with false facts and oozing TMZ-isque writing?  Ron Morris has been two steps away from being a National Enquirer columnist for quite some time now.  If anything, it really should be Gamecocks vs The State.  The State has openly pushed Ron Morris to be the writer that he is.  For an extended period of time (when Holtz started as coach)... The State used to advertise Ron Morris on interstate billboards with: "Ron Morris; Love him, Hate him, Read him".  The only reason why this is getting any attention is because it's Spurrier.  If Spurrier farts walk walking to a media session, most reporters are right behind trying to dictate if it was on purpose or accident and what it smells like.  Ron Morris has had this coming to him for a LONG time.  The State/Morris finally have pissed off the wrong person. Ron Morris has had a free pass spitting out lies in the public forum long enough.  If this is truly about freedom of speech... maybe The State can hire Robert Ariail back instead of keeping a sensationalist like Ron Morris on staff.  

MissouriAlum
MissouriAlum

Great write up. If one steps back and removes specific names (reporters and institutions) to view this piece for its substance, its critical thinking component strongly comes through. Articles such as this is why I come to Mr Sec on a daily basis.

kentatm
kentatm

I wouldnt compare Maddow to Rush.  She is a lefty for sure but she doesn't make garbage up like him.  She is more like a lefty Bill O'Reilly.  The MSNBC equivalent of Rush would be the loudmouthed gasbag known as Ed Shultz.

phrogs4ever
phrogs4ever like.author.displayName 1 Like

Get a grip. This is not a freedom of press issue. When was the last time a "journalist" was thrown in jail for something they wrote? The civil war? Freedom of the press means the government can't lock you up for unpopular opinions and criticism. It doesn't mean that you can write anything you like, whether it's true or not and have the public applaud you for it. People are angry with Morris because he is a liar. Morris has a history of telling lies (a fact conveniently excluded from your pieces and Doyel's). Lies that can be very harmful to Spurrier and his ability to walk into a living room and convince a highschool kid's parents that he will take care of their kid and deal with them in a forthright manner. These lies cost Morris nothing to write and have earned him the cheers of people like Doyel and yourself.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @phrogs4ever 

 

I challenge you to show me where I "cheered" Ron Morris.

 

I did not.  I defended his right to write a column.  I also defended last week Spurrier's right to rip him on the radio in return.

 

I do not, however, cheer the idea that a coach is given so much power that he can get people in other businesses fired.

 

John

Mark1984
Mark1984

 @John at MrSEC  @phrogs4ever  You're also saying SOS doesn't have the right to remain silent.  He does.  And he has the right to request changes at the paper.  Doesn't mean the paper has to agree to them.

phrogs4ever
phrogs4ever

@John at MrSEC Over the last week you have put forth strawman argument after strawman argument that paint Spurrier as some crazy power-monger. You have turned this entire episode into a "Freedom of the Press" and "Penn State Football Institution of Evil" scenario. All the while you try to paint Morris as an "I'm just doing my job" kind of guy. I realize this is a sports site, but why not offer up an Adolph Hitler or Nazi Germany reference? That what be just as reasonable as anything you have put forth. Everyone knows this is about Morris and his track record for lying. But that's not going to help you write another piece. As an aside, I do enjoy the site and look forward to checking it most every day.

vehemon
vehemon

 @John at MrSEC  @phrogs4ever  @John  What should Spurrier do about it then? Keep letting Ron Morris spit terrible lies about him and hurt his ability to recruit high school kids?  Ron Morris went way beyond objective reporting many years ago.  It's funny that it's picked up by media outlets outside of South Carolina.  Spurrier definitely has the ability to push some buttons. 

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @phrogs4ever  @John 

 

That is complete nonsense and you're simply writing out of emotion.

 

I wrote last Friday that Spurrier had every right to rip Morris.  Not one person who's blasted me has mentioned that.  How does that fit the "Freedom of the Press" and "Penn State Football Institution of Evil" scenario you speak of?  Wouldn't I have defended Morris against such slanders by a football coach if I were a Morris-apologist or a Spurrier-hater?

 

I wrote last Friday regarding Spurrier's "I'll head to the beach" comment that it's all in the interpretation.  I said that IF that meant he's going to blast folks who take potshots against him, that's fine and that's his right.  Then I said that IF he's saying the local paper can't criticize him, however, then he's angling for more power than he should have.

 

The readers who blasted me for those points ignored the first two points altogether and tried to suggest that my QUESTION about the third part was really a definitive statement on my part.  "You're saying he's going to quit if he's criticized!"  No, I tossed out the possible meanings of his statement and gave my take on both.  One's fine.  One's not.

 

As usual, tere's what I write... and there's what some people read.  Very frustrating.  My father -- a minister -- told me a long time ago, "There's what you say, and there's what they hear."  Same deal.

 

If you think I've come close to calling Steve Spurrier Adolph Hitler, you've proven that you're incapable of reading objective reporting.  Because personally, I enjoy Spurrier more than I enjoy the work of Morris.  But that's not going to keep me from saying "Spurrier's a baby" when he acts like one... or that "Morris was simply putting forth a theory in a column" when that's just what he was doing.

 

I stand by every word I've written on the subject.  

 

On a sidenote, I also find it interesting -- after I took some heat last Monday for suggesting that Spurrier was just mad at Morris and taking it out on every member of the press because of it -- that not ONE of those people who accused me of lying or speculating or guessing have come back to apologize and say, "Damn, son, you were right again."  

 

All that said, I'm glad you like the site.  If you think I'm capable of comparing Spurrier to Hitler, then I'm not sure WHY you like the site, but we'll take it!

 

Thanks for visiting,

John

phrogs4ever
phrogs4ever like.author.displayName 1 Like

If you missed it, Gallup released a poll several weeks ago that revealed 60% (almost 2 out of 3) of Americans have little or no trust in the media's ability to report with fairness and accuracy. You’ll write this poll off as coming from people who only want to receive news that confirms their point of view. The reality is that it comes as a result of the media being caught publishing or reporting half-truths or outright falsehoods over and over again with little to no shame when exposed. Instead of throwing your full-fledged support towards a known prevaricator, why don't you do some policing of your own "profession"? It might help restore some of the public's lost trust in your trade.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @phrogs4ever 

 

Again, have I thrown my full-fledged support toward Morris?  I don't recall doing so.  

 

Or are you just seeing whatever the heck you want to see through your own lenses?

 

I've critiqued Morris' columns and theories on this site several times.  Is that "policing" my "profession?"  More than any other writer in the SEC as a matter of fact.  I don't often agree with him.  

 

The fact that 60% of Americans have little or no trust in the media's ability to report with fairness and accuracy has a lot to do with the fact that many Americans -- as I stated above -- have no desire whatsoever for fairness and accuracy in reporting.  If they watch Fox News or MSNBC they sure as hell don't.  If they subscribe to their local Rivals, Scout, 247 websites they don't.  There's a reason those organizations all do good business while also supporting everything one team or one political party does... it's because people only want "fair" and "accurate" coverage when it fairly and accurately supports their own views.

 

Don't toss me in with the "the media's always right" crowd.  Good luck finding someone in the media who writes as often as I do that we aren't holding up our end of the bargain because we spend too much time racing to tweet and not enough time digging for facts or explaining our opinions in column form.  Of course, the fact that many Americans trust Twitter -- Good Lord -- is part of the problem on that front, too.

 

But you just keep believing whatever fits your own storyline.

 

John

bradleygator
bradleygator

Love Spurrier, but he is way out of line.  Threatening a guy's livelihood in this economy, given the state of the newspaper industry, is inhumane.  What if this guy's got a family to support?  Spurrier's going to blow up their household, because this guy raised legitimate questions about two controversial decisions?   I used to work as a reporter, and it boggles my mind how people can't understand that a journalist's job is to ask questions.  Reporters should ask tough questions and they should demand answers.  That said, Spurrier's actions don't surprise me.  The fact that the newspaper is apparently considering this is what's really appalling. 

vehemon
vehemon

 @bradleygator "I used to work as a reporter, and it boggles my mind how people can't understand that a journalist's job is to ask questions.  Reporters should ask tough questions and they should demand answers."  It's mind boggling to me that people are quick to jump to a conclusion about this when there's plenty of false facts being thrown around all ready without trying to find the truth.  This goes way beyond Spurrier (read my post above).



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