Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, shown during Saturday’s game at Kansas, spoke with the media after the game about Tuesday’s news conference. Orlin Wagner/AP
At the press conference following yesterday’s meeting of Oklahoma State and Kansas, Poke head coach Mike Gundy was asked questions on the “muzzling” of players after the redshirt move by a player wanting to depart the program to save a year of eligibility. Some media have used the word “blackmail” as for Gundy’s handling of the issue. As of a story in the Oklahoman by writer Scott Wright, here is his beginning of the issue as printed in the newspaper.
LAWRENCE, KANSAS — Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy explained his thought process behind an ultimatum he issued to media members through a university staff member on Tuesday.
On Saturday, in his first meeting with the media since the issue arose, Gundy discussed his reasoning for not wanting his players to be asked questions about senior receiver Jalen McCleskey’s plan to transfer from the school, which Gundy announced on Monday.
Through a media relations staff member, Gundy informed media in attendance at Tuesday’s post-practice interview session with players that if any member of the media asked a player about McCleskey, then players would not be made available to the media for the remainder of the season.
The questions asked, the response by Gundy, and my take (in red type), are as follows.
Q: Can you talk us through the decision to pass that down to us on Tuesday?
Gundy: I gave you guys all the information you needed, and I didn’t feel comfortable with you guys talking to the players, based on, that’s not something they should have to comment on. That’s a decision I make, and that’s their buddy, so I just wasn’t comfortable with it. You guys could’ve asked, if you wanted to. I didn’t keep you from asking.
Well, the word was if we did —
Gundy: Well, I know, but I’m not that powerful. You still could’ve asked. But anyway, I didn’t feel comfortable with those guys. I just didn’t want to put them on the spot. It’s almost like being in school, and you have a kid get in trouble, and then they ask the other kid what he did, and then if he rats him out, then he’s a snitch to his buddies, and if he doesn’t rat him out, the teacher gets mad at him.
Take: Gundy deflects by putting the issue on the press in his words “you guys could’ve asked, it you wanted to. I didn’t keep you from asking.” Gundy did not have the nerve to tell the press directly, using someone else in the program to do so. His excuse that HIS players should not have to comment on, was delivered in a hollow fashion. Gundy’s comment about not being that powerful? Is this a joke? Using an analogy about school and teachers and kids was weak. Does he think the press is looking to make trouble within his program, bring out “snitches” and alike? A very poor feeling toward those that follow and report on his program day after day.
If you had to do it over again, would you get them together and say, “Look, they’re gonna ask you about it. Let’s have a message that’s on the same page, no comment, talk about guys who are here, move forward”?
Gundy: What I’d really like to do is talk about the football game, and get off the stuff that really doesn’t matter.
Take: Gundy shows he does not want this line of questioning to continue. He knows that he could have handled this better but he is too proud to admit anything of the contrary. It might not matter? It matters enough to put the clamps on the press on them doing their job.
It affected the reporters who were there trying to do their job. It mattered Tuesday, and this is our first chance to ask you about it, so that’s why we’re asking.
Gundy: Again, you could’ve asked the question.
Take: I do not think the media at the press conference concurs with the coach. Gundy has not been available and Coach knows that….and he knows the controversy his edict has caused with the media, local and national, as of the articles and stories, local and nationally.
I don’t know if that’s the impression they got.
Gundy: OK. There’s freedom of press still going on in the country. You can ask any question you want.
Take: Deflect again. The media was told just the opposite with regard to the players. Gundy is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.
We were told we could ask the question, but if we did, then we wouldn’t be able to talk to players for —
Gundy: Are we really gonna talk about this? We’re still having a good time. Can’t we just beat Kansas? Let’s get off of the stuff that drives this country and is taking it in the ground, which is garbage. Let’s talk about football. We don’t want to chase ambulances, man, let’s have some fun.
Take: Coach Gundy works again to blow this off. Are you, coach Gundy, having a bully of a time? Are you being fair and why are YOU under scrutiny here? Yes, we can be happy about beating Kansas. But it is your crap and shit that this country is tired of and drives us to be a people of questions. It is not garbage in any form except what has come out of your mouth on this subject.
That is the way I see it sports fans.
Feature photo graphic: Sportsnetworker.com
For further reference: ttps://deadspin.com/mike-gundy-tries-to-blackmail-reporters-for-doing-their-1829359240