Grandstanding 101

If you thought Mike Gundy's tirade was pretty out there, take a look at the comments made last week by Navy coach Paul Johnson:

Reporter: Can I ask you something without making you mad?

Johnson: Maybe. I don't know.

Reporter: I was talking to a Navy fan and he said he follows the coverage and that he noticed something and I'm just going to put it to you. He says that it seems like when Navy loses you blame the players, i.e., we can't execute fundamental plays, but that the success of the team the last four years has been attributed to brilliant coaching. How do you respond to that?

Johnson: Whatever he thinks. I don't go down to McDonald's and start second-guessing his job so he ought to leave me alone.

Reporter: But do you feel like it can't be both ways?

Johnson: You know what? I could care less. I'm old enough where I could give a crap what the fans think or what you think to put it in a nutshell.

Okay, then!

There's a fine line between being zany and quotable in a good way (see: Leach, Michael) and just plain outrageous. Johnson goes way across that line in this case, in a way that would make me reprimand him if I were the school's athletic director.

And Gundy? I know there's a lot of (justified) resentment towards the media, who grandstand and take out personal vendettas against athletes all the time, but Gundy totally mishandled this. He lambasted the reporter, in public, trying to shame her, all because (supposedly) he wants to protect his kids.

That may be a noble sentiment, but there are several mitigating factors here. For one thing, Gundy is at least half the problem with the situation regarding the media. He's been incommunicative at best, flat out misleading at worst. And when the reporter asked Gundy on Monday to please clarify which parts of her story were inaccurate? He couldn't.

The media gets properly blasted for their shameful performances, but sometimes, the problem's on the other side. In this case, Gundy declined an opportunity to speak to the reporter or editor in a rational manner, declined to address the facts he disputed, and put on a grand ol' show to try to humiliate the columnist he doesn't like. That's not protecting your kids; that's grandstanding.

I'm glad it wasn't my coach.


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