Mike Gundy is going viral again. He said “I might have to cut you out” in response to a rambling, uncertain question about if he planned to make any staff changes.
My initial thoughts on it are these:
1) Mike Gundy, don’t threaten to pull anyone’s credentials even if they ask insensitive questions. 2) Reporter guy, ask a better question.
Gundy is coming off a loss, is an emotional guy, and is going to be ready to jump on any small mistake – he criticized the mic-holding technique already – and that is an out you as a reporter do not want to give.
The reporter says “I have to ask, it is my job” and that is true. He has to ask questions, but not necessarily stupid questions. Am I, potential reader and person interested in Oklahoma State football (I am not, but let’s pretend I am) more informed or enlightened from this question? Marginally.
Some possible better questions that get at the same thing -> “What changes do you anticipate making based on this game, or this season and the circumstances?”
“What changes – up to and including any staff changes – do you think you need to make?”
“When can we anticipate some decisions being made after you perform your season evaluations?”
The above are a little ham-fisted and wordy but they literally were what I wrote as I thought them. The idea, from what I can tell, is holding Gundy to account about the season and seeing if he will make some changes. My issue about the originally asked question is that it presupposes a “fix” – staffing changes. Maybe they do not make a change. Maybe they do. Asking the question is a little risky and opens it up for Mike to have some moral high ground.
“You think I would tell you if I were making some staff changes?”
“Then why ask?”
The answer was “it is my job” but that is stupid. It is stupid to have our reporters asking stupid questions, and then cloaking it in the wrap of “seeking truth”. The Truth is that we know Mike Gundy is an asshole, and we didn’t learn anything different. We did not learn what Gundy will do in the offseason, and can’t have any follow-up because for the next 24-hours journalists will do a “I am outraged at the threatening of the …”. Sure.
We are doing ourselves a disservice here. We let Mike Gundy get free, and avoid the question because we wanted to ask a “focused” question for the fear of … Mike Gundy avoiding the question. Now, however, reporters and journalists look worse for the exchange.
Now, Mike Gundy shouldn’t have threatened to pull credentials, but he wasn’t entirely wrong in expressing some outrage. Some other coach somewhere feels the same. Like, did we expect him to say “Yeah that ST coach, he’s gone”. No we did not. I saw someone say that Gundy’s quote would provide “valuable context” for the upcoming stories and … I guess? That’s stretching it and stretching my own ability to believe that there is larger comprehensive story being constructed here. It was quote-fishing and it is fine and has its uses (for fill-in-the-quote stories), but it is bad form.
I think at best we are getting something like
“At the end of each season we have our evaluation process, and we will look at each aspect of the program and that includes the staff. That’s something we do every season and is part of how we make sure we are competing at a high level”.
Every organization has some kind of annual review and so this would be just boiler plate stuff. Is that what we wanted to hear? Maybe. I want to know more about that, though. When can we expect the results of that evaluation? When does the eval of the eval happen? (Like, when do you review your evaluation process?)
Else, we are getting something like Gundy threatening the journalist’s credentials. If he didn’t do that? Well, the rest of his complaint held some water. “Don’t be an ass” Yeah, you are asking if he is going to fire some of these dudes at a press conference. It sure sounds insensitive.
I don’t mean that reporters and journalists need to be sensitive to people’s feelings, but that using that tool sparingly is more effective. Why poke and prod for this piece of information? We are not enlightened by this as readers. Hiding behind the “people” and the first amendment of the public is weak. This is the sports-equivalent of some TMZ chasing a celebrity and then making it go viral after said celebrity punches the cameraman.