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Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Before we get started, I'd like to go ahead and say that I'm not going to cover Trinton Sturdivant's injury right now.  Personally, I think it's being covered remarkably well in the blogosphere and I think Groo has a really great post about where the O-line goes from here. My opinion on the TS injury is that it's more horrible for him than anything.  He's a good kid with high character and aside from "Bellygate," he's kept his nose clean and worked his ass off. To Trinton Sturdivant I say "Get well soon and we're praying for you." 

What I would rather write about is regarding the media, its sense of entitlement and whether or not they have a "right" to view practices.

I have to give a shout out to Ally for the idea behind this because it was her knock-down-drag-out argument with Dean Legge that fueled my idea.  For the record, she thrashed him and rightfully so, in my opinion.

You see journalists are out to do a job just like you are when you go to work.  While we might think it's all fun and games because they are covering the team we love, it's actually hard work and like pulling teeth sometimes to get a scoop.  In journalism, if you're the first to break a story, you've done your job.  If you're the last, then you're one step closer to a pink slip.

However, sometimes this desire to "outscoop" the competition leads to problems; mainly a sense that certain things should be given instead of earned.  It is due to journalistic integrity that they are allowed to see practice, talk to certain players and have the inside sources that they have. 

But does that give the media a RIGHT to see practice?  No.

I've raved on and on about how good of a job I think those guys at Rivals do.  I've been a subscriber to them for almost a year now and couldn't be happier with it. The reporting and recruiting is spot on and they make sure to confirm things before reporting them.  Even with confirmation, though, they still tend to break news quicker than anywhere else.

What they don't do, though is b*tch and complain when Mark Richt closes practice, and they shouldn't.  No one should.  Ching complained like it was going out of style last year when CMR closed practice for a week and there was no reason for it.  He did it again when Auburn closed practice and is currently getting his a$$ kicked by the AU faithful who understand that the media doesn't have the right to view practice or anything else.

You see, all this ties back into my point about Ally vs. Dean Legge.  Dean's assertion was that the media had the right to view practice because of media contracts that help pay for Mark Richt's job.  I disagree by a large margin.  The media contracts give you access to Mark Richt.  It gives you the chance to ask questions, be a part of his press conferences and interview him one on one depending on the level of the contract.  However, I would highly doubt there is a single contract out there that gives any reporter concrete access to practice no matter the circumstances.  If someone can prove me wrong on that, please do and I will absolutely apologize for being so completely wrong.

Besides, even with contracts, the media doesn't make the team any more money than the donors do.  Think about it like this: A new donor to the program this year paid almost $12,000 for season tickets, or bought the team a new Kia (however you wish to view it).  Does that person now own a portion of practice time?  Since they helped pay CMR's salary, should they get to watch the first 30 seconds of practice every day for a year?  What about someone who's got over 500,000 points in the system?  Should they get to watch practice from start to finish?

The answer of course is "no" on both counts.  The media will lead you to believe they have a right to be there because of contracts, it's news, freedom of the press, blah blah blah.  The truth is with the information age, it's becoming tougher to get a scoop before it hits the web and they need every advantage they can get.  It's not as ludicrous as it is their way of protecting their "turf."  

I can't blame them for doing what they're doing because they're just trying to sell papers, but I can say that they don't have an argument when it comes to their "right" to view anything. Besides, there's not a true UGA fan out there that's going to say "Hell no, I want my practice reports instead of a 'W' on the schedule. I need to know what's going on with the team!"

If there is, I'll be more than happy to call these guys and let you wind up on Showtime for their next season.

Until next time kids.

Be safe.

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Blogger Bop said...
"The media contracts give you access to Mark Richt. It gives you the chance to ask questions, be a part of his press conferences and interview him one on one..."
-- I couldn't agree more.

That anyone would think they have the "right" to view practice is absurd. You hit the nail on the head with the "sense of entitlement" part. That's how a lot of media feels and it's laughable. Sure, most do an exceptional job and I enjoy reading most of their work....but, how do I put this, they are expendable. I hate to say this, but the fact is that a lot of coaches and players consider them "jock sniffers". There, I said it. Truth hurts.

The only thing they have the "right" to is first hand info from CMR and others at press conferences. I really think some media are minor stars and it goes to their head.

CMR or Wingnut over at that sh*thole town in Alabama have a right to open or close any practice they want. It's their program to do what they think is in its best interest. Sure, if you start pissing off the media, you better win. Ruffling the media while losing 2 games to tech will get you in deep trouble...see Donnan (the Jasper game will never be recognized by me as a tech win).

Now I do believe that it doesn't really hurt anything for the most part for media to be at practice. Sometimes though there are other factors in closing practice. It's not all about 'secret plays' and whatnot. Maybe a head coach just wants to establish an 'us against the world' mentality to the group of players he has. Or maybe there are times a coach wants to change personnel and they don't want it leaked until game day. Again, it's the coaches right to do what he wants with HIS program. That's why someone like Saban is paid so make decisions that are the best for his team. Whatever he thinks will translate to victories.

Dang...can you imagine if CMR and Wingnut were not winning at the clip they are.


***cliff notes***

Media...expendable jock sniffers

SEC Coach...WIN and do what you want