Temper, temper II
Now, for Part II of our anger-management class, we bring you Mike "I'm a man! I'm 40!'' Gundy, the Oklahoma State football coach.
Where do we even start? How about at the very beginning, when he refers to a Saturday column in the Daily Oklahoman as an "article'' about 10 times? How about the way he constantly berates the writer for not having children (which, among other reasons this is so below-the-belt, we don't know if it's true or not)? How about where he claims that "three-quarters'' of the "article'' is inaccurate, but never says which parts? How about the applause at the end from the Oklahoma State toadies who were allowed access to a postgame press conference?
How about the entire implication that he, the head coach, should have the final say on how the media should write about his players, and that "amateur'' athletes (at a BCS program at a state institution openly and publicly bankrolled by T. Boone Pickens, one of the richest men on the planet) are exempt from media criticism? How about how he never explains why the player in question got benched in the first place, or in fact says a single word about the game his team had just played? How about how, in his attempt to show what principles he has, he calls the sports editor of the Oklahoman, who he may or may not have ever met, "garbage''?
How about the yahoos on all the OSU message boards applauding what he did, and the athletic director not having a problem with the head coach of his biggest-revenue sport looking and sounding like a 12-year-old who didn't get the PlayStation he wanted for Christmas? How about the writer herself asking Gundy yesterday what exactly was "inaccurate'' about her "article'' and him replying that he didn't have to say?
How about the suspicion here that the entire supposedly spontaneous, out-of-control tirade smelled incredibly calculated and pre-fabricated?
Gundy didn't invent the ploy and won't be the last to use it. What's better to talk about -- his career 13-15 record? The loss to Troy (41-23!) the week before, the game that seems to have cost the player in question his starting job? That day's 49-45 win over Texas Tech, whose defense is so wretched that its defensive coordinator quit the next day? Or an "article'' in that morning's paper, which he conveniently had with him when he spoke to reporters after the game? And remember, berating the writer in private wouldn't have the same effect on players, athletic officials, boosters and fans, who otherwise would have been preoccupied with actual game results.
It's called changing the subject. It worked. Now, no one's debating whether he's a lousy coach, they're debating whether he's crazy, whether the columnist is a fraud (and whether she has children), and whether this makes the Meltdown Hall of Fame. I say no, because real meltdowns -- Dennis Green's, for one, or Hal McRae's, or the grand-daddy of 'em all, Lee Elia's (extreme language alert) -- have to be authentic. Pure, in a sense. This was as phony as phony can get.
In Gundy's defense, if the scene the writer described in her column isn't true, he has a right to be mad. If it is true, then it's unbelievably embarrassing to everybody involved. We're talking about the scene where the player is being fed chicken by his mother outside the team charter after a game. Eeeeewwwww.
Bottom line: Mike Gundy is a jackass. Don't worry, though, he can take the criticism. He's a man, he's 40.