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UGA’s Richt Doesn’t Show It If The Media Gets Under His Skin

This weekend, Mark Richt will take his #5 Georgia Bulldogs into Columbia (East) to face Steve Spurrier’s #6 South Carolina Gamecocks.  Like Spurrier — or any other coach — Richt has suffered his share of ridicule and second-guessing.  He’s even had to deal with columnists and radio hosts who Dawg fans are certain want to have the man’s job and destroy UGA’s football program.

The difference between Richt and Spurrier?  Richt doesn’t refuse to answer questions from all media members if he’s upset with just one of them and he rarely even let’s anyone know when he’s upset at all.  As we suggested last week with regards to the ongoing Spurrier-Ron Morris feud in the Palmetto State, it’d probably be best for Spurrier to have a behind-closed-doors talk with his nemesis rather than take things out on every reporter trying to cover his team.

Jeff Schultz of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution — ironically he’s one of the columnists who many Georgia fans believe wants Richt’s head on a plate — compares Richt’s personality with Spurrier’s in his latest column.  It’s an interesting piece and my colleague Mike Mitchell posted it in today’s headlines as well.

But I wanted to give a bit more emphasis here on the homepage to Richt’s own words:

 

“I don’t think I’m totally Teflon, but there’s not much anybody can say that can get me bent out of shape…

I know that most most criticism is pointed toward the coach, not necessarily the person.  If I’ve ever felt something became more of a personal attack, there have been times when I’ve talked to people privately.  Or if a guy beats up on a player more than I think he should, I’ll get sensitive about that once in a while.  But in the grand scheme of things, it’s still momentary light affliction, like Apostle Paul talks about.  It doesn’t last.

I know when my wife had cervical cancer, if that doesn’t put life in perspective, what does?  There are just thing bigger than whether I’m the head coach at Georgia, or whether anybody thinks I’m smart or not smart, or a good coach or a bad coach.  I know I’ve got a job to do, and I want to know that the process I go through in that job is one I can live with when I go to sleep at night…

When somebody critiques me, I try to filter the information, regardless of whether I think the person is mean-spirited or sweet-spirited, because the guy might be right.  I may not give him credit from a pride standpoint, but sometimes there’s validity to it.”

 

Schultz suggests Spurrier could learn a lot from Richt.  I think he could, too.

In fact, reading Richt’s words I just realized that I’m a heckuva lot more like Spurrier in my work life than I am Richt.  When insults or accusations of being a fan of this team, a fan of that team, or just plain stupid roll in via comment boxes and emails, I get ticked.  This is a free site after all.  If you want to present a different point of view in a calm, cool way… have at it.  But when the barbs and shots begin to fly, well, I tend to return fire in-kind.  I need to work on that (though it sure feels better just to give as I get).

South Carolina’s coach has lived his life one way for nearly 70 years and he’s had a lot of success.  I don’t expect him to be moved by anything another coach says… if he even hears about it.  Heck, he’ll probably just take another shot at Richt and Georgia over their number of suspended players.  That’s Spurrier’s way.

But I’m at least going to try to remember Richt’s comments and handle my own business a bit more coolly.

(At least until the next guy calls me a Bama/Auburn/Ole Miss/Mississippi State/Tennessee/Kentucky/Georgia etc, etc, etc fan.)

 


11 comments
Mark1984
Mark1984

Good morning John.  My beef with reporters in this case is the double standard.  Reporters feel like it's OK for them to blast a coach but when that coach fights back, he's wrong.  It's hypocritical.  CMR is a great guy and a great example for many of us.  You won't find him publicly criticizing people very often.  That said, reporters seem to think they have rights that other's don't have.  They don't.  As I've stated before, they have the right to a free press, meaning they can print just about anything (excluding libel, etc.)  But there's no constitutional guarantee for access.

 

Kudos to you for admitting publicly how hard it is to respond gracefully.  

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @Mark1984 

 

I haven't seen anyone complain that Spurrier blasted Morris on his radio program.  I wrote right here that he had the right to do so and that he was handling things mano y mano by doing so.  

 

The problem that I had with Spurrier was his decision to refuse to take questions from every other reporter for two days.  Those folks hadn't done anything to upset Spurrier.  He took his anger toward Morris and punished people who had nothing to do with Morris or his columns.  That was my issue.

 

So Spurrier can fight back against Morris.  Trying to get him fired is probably proof that he has or thinks he has too much power, but he's got just as much right to speak about Morris as Morris does to write about Spurrier.  Unless Morris was going over to USC president Harris Pastides and angling for Spurrier's dismissal, then Spurrier should try to have Morris' job... which is how 90% of the people hearing his comments from a week ago took them.

 

But I fully, fully support Spurrier's right to blast Morris and get his side of the story out.

 

Thanks for reading the site,

John

RoadTrip
RoadTrip

John - really good follow on Richt and your own view of handling adversity from the folks. I have always admired Richt for how he handled himself in the public eye. Glad you see the benefit of some of it. Doesn't have to be all one way or the other. We can all learn new tricks.

Hawaii Hal
Hawaii Hal

Mr. SEC, let's compare your actions to those of a pedophile coverup and while we are at it, lie in print about your other activities.  Then please turn the other check.  Richt should copy Spurrier.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @Hawaii Hal 

 

Morris was not comparing Spurrier or his actions to Paterno or his.  He was saying that it's dangerous for a coach to have so much power that he's above the administration and above questioning from the media.

 

Agree with that, disagree with that... whichever.  But he didn't compare Spurrier to Paterno.

 

Thanks for reading the site,

John

secfanSC
secfanSC

You miss the point. The columnist was not criticizing coaching or anything to do with the man's job.  He launched an all out attack on Spurrier's integrity.  He accused him of "poaching" the basketball team for players and printed lie as fact.  Never did he recant his story.  Then he goes as far as to say that Spurrier could lead USC down the same path as Paterno at Penn State.  These are not professional attacks against Spurrier but personal attacks on his character.  You would not allow some one to attack your character, and I bet the religious man that Richt is would not passively sit and let a columnist print that he is out at bars and hiring hookers in downtown Athens (which would be a complete lie) and continue to entertain that columnists questions.  Where do you draw your line?

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @secfanSC 

 

Morris didn't say Spurrier could lead USC down the same path as Paterno at Penn State.  He suggested that by giving a coach more power than the administration and by making him above questioning by the media that THAT could lead to situations like the one at Penn State where an abuse of power took place.

 

You can disagree with that, if you like, but most people would agree that Morris was not trying to tie Spurrier to Paterno in terms of crime or criminal cover-ups.

 

As for the poaching story.  That's not the story that caused Spurrier to go silent towards all media last week.

 

Interestingly, no one ever answers that part of it... and that's really the only issue I've had trouble with from the beginning.  I've said that Spurrier can rip Morris til his face turns blue.  That's his right.  I think he was off-base for punishing dozens of reporters for the actions of one.  But no one ever discusses that.  It just always goes back to Morris and his history.

 

Oh, well.  No skin off my back.

 

Thanks for reading the site,

John

83toATL
83toATL

John,

Similar to the others in the media (including Jeff Schultz of the AJC - the best example of lazy journalism), you failed to draw the complete picture regarding the behavior of Ron Morris and his verbal attatcks on Coach Spurrier's ethics ...perhaps just another example of one media person covering for another. Oh, and for the record, how covenient for so many "journalists" (again emphasizng  Jeff Schultz and Mrk Bradley of the AJC) failing to mention Coach Richt's decision last year to mis-lead the media regarding the suspension of a few of his players...only to then to refuse answering direct questions during subsequent weeky press conferences. Laughable!!  

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @83toATL 

 

There's a difference in not answering a question about suspensions/injuries -- many coaches won't -- and not speaking to anyone in the press for two days -- that's rare.

 

Whatever I say will be spun in a different direction, so I'll just leave it right there.  But that was my beef -- you don't punish everyone because you dislike one person.

 

Just my take.  It's not a popular one among South Carolina fans or the folks who choose to comment under our stories, but it's mine.

 

Thanks for reading the site,

John

Mark1984
Mark1984

 @John at MrSEC  @secfanSC   SOS could have said "I won't give an interview while Morris is in the room"  but you said that wouldn't fly with reporters.  I have no beef with him not taking questions.  Access isn't a right.  (And for the record, I am a life long UGA fan!)

AustinVol
AustinVol

Good points. Despite coaching for a rival and recruiting well, its pretty clear that Richt is a genuinely good guy. Which begs the question of how  a certain bball coach with exceptional recruiting "skills" got his reputation (Hint:its not jealousy).



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