I don’t know if any of you caught this latest in a long line of memorable coaching tirades, but Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy. This guy had a meltdown to rival those of Denny ‘The Bears Are Who We Thought They Were!’ Green, and Jim ‘Playoffs?!’ Mora, and it happened after they won a game.
After a 49-45 win over Texas Tech, Oklahoma sports writer Jenni Carlson attacked quarterback Bobby Reid. In her column the day after the win, Carlson said that it was Reid’s attitude, and not his talent, that got him benched the week before – backup quarterback Zac Robinson was chosen over Reid to start the week before against Troy, and again versus Tech. Carlson took a couple of cheap shots at Reid, inducing images of his mother feeding him chicken, which Coach Gundy didn’t take lightly.
In a press conference the next day, Gundy laid the verbal smackdown on Carlson. In front of the local press core, coach Gundy essentially called her, her editor and her column ‘Garbage’, and was generally disgusted at the comments made in the article, saying that ‘three-fourths’ of the column was inaccurate. He laid a three minute tirade directly at Carlson, then walked out of the room, uttering, ‘That’s all I got to say. It makes me want to puke.’
Now, I think it’s tirades like this that are actually good for the whole of sports. In my opinion, the man makes a valid point – why attack a good guy’s character for what he may have done on the field? I know it seems like all she did was maybe hurt the guy’s feelings, but come on – to go to personal attacks? I read the article, and Carlson has this guy looking like a baby in a bib, being fed chicken by his mom. It’s rude and uncalled for – so, at least, I understand Gundy’s disgust. You’re not only insulting the athlete, but you’re insulting his family. That’s just not necessary.
And, there’s one thing we can’t forget in all this. This tirade sent a message to the players in the locker room, from coach to player – “I got your back.” I don’t know about you, but if I was an athlete, I would want to play for that kind of a coach. He may have made an ass out of himself, but the loyalty he has for his players is what fueled that asinine behavior. And, in a way, you gotta respect that.
Was Gundy’s tirade a little over the top? You tell me – it’s probably a YouTube classic by now. Go check it out. For me, though, I’d rather say that, yes, it probably was a little over the top. Now, should Carlson have been called out and embarrassed like that? As a guy hoping to be a journalist someday, I pray I’m never in that position. But, at the same time, I think one should be held accountable for the words he or she prints, and the opinions he or she holds. And, hey – everyone knows who she is now, and many have read her article. Great publicity, right? In all seriousness, though, I think that both journalist and coach crossed some lines, but we can now at least examine how journalists write, and how coaches act in the media.
All that said, I do need to say this. I don’t know about any of you, but, seriousness aside – that was one hell of a funny tirade. Going back to Denny Green and Jim Mora, who I mentioned earlier, those tirades were memorable because they were hilarious. I was laughing my butt off when I kept hearing ‘The Bears are who we thought they were!!’ on SportsCenter after the infamous Chicago-Arizona Monday Night game. It just got funnier and funnier every time I heard it.
Just the fact that he seemed like a ranting madman was funny enough. When he came out with the newspaper in his hand, and the inside pages fell out when he held it up to the media, I thought that was pretty funny. Then, when he let out the “I’m a man! I’m 40!” blast, I couldn’t help but think of those classic SNL sketches – Will Ferrell blurting out “I drive a Dodge Stratus!!”, or the Sally O’Malley exclaiming, “I’m 50! 50 years old!” I still can’t help but laugh whenever I hear that sound byte. Seriously, watch that clip, and tell me you can’t laugh at that. It’s that kind of stuff that transcends angry coaching rants, and takes it to a whole other comedic level.
In the end, it was a classic rant by a head coach, in every respect. Not only was it mildly insane, or wildly hilarious, it does bring up some sociological issues that the sports media – or the media in general – should at least look at.