When I walked into Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday, I had two things on my mind: First, I wanted to watch Louisville lose. Check. Second, I wanted to watch Kentucky win and advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Check.
I did not expect to make national news. I did not expect to put Lynn Marshall on blast. I did not expect a Monday interview with Inside Edition or to see my name in a British tabloid or on the front page of about million websites. I simply went to the tournament to watch Louisville lose and Kentucky win. Check and check.
But I did make national news and I did put Lynn Marshall on blast, neither of which were my intent. She has her husband’s basketball program and the tournament officials to thank for that, as well as herself.
All I did was take a short, 20-second video to show how animated she was during the game in the row directly to the right of my media seat. I intentionally shared one that did not catch any of her many F-bombs because I wasn’t there to make a Lynn Marshall story. I was there to watch Louisville lose and Kentucky win, and she happened to be part of my experience. My initial tweet was harmless and only to show that I was sitting so close to the craziest fan in the building.
Things took a turn when someone from Wichita State saw my tweet and sent an official from the tournament over to get my name and organization. That person, who we’ve since learned was also the moderator of all of the tournament press conferences, told me I could no longer take video of Mrs. Marshall because “she saw it and it made her upset.” I politely said I didn’t mean any harm and actually thought she was entertaining, and that I would not record her again. I stuck to my word, because, I really didn’t care. There was a pretty important basketball game being played in front of me and that had my attention.
Then after the game, the same tournament official came up to me in the media work room, along with one of his colleagues, and asked me to pull up the tweet/video on my computer. I did and then he demanded I take it down. I asked why. He explained that it was “intellectual property of CBS.” I said that’s ridiculous. He explained that any footage taken in the arena belongs to CBS. I thought to myself, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” but decided it was best to comply and move on with my life.
But of course I had to tweet about it.
You’re not going to bully me into deleting a tweet and think I’m just going to go away, so I let it be known that my harmless video (we can all agree it didn’t show much) had to be pulled down because the NCAA, or this person representing the NCAA, wanted it down. And it wasn’t taken down because CBS owned it. It was taken down to protect the wife of Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall, who was the loudest, most vulgar fan in the arena. If it is anyone else, none of this happens.
Then came a completely separate report, with absolutely no connection to me, saying Lynn Marshall had been escorted out of the building. Toss that onto the fact she interrupted her husband’s press conference to complain about a foul; sprinkle in all the whispers around the media room about her behavior throughout the entire game and in the postgame; then throw in my deleted-video; and it’s a national story.
That ain’t on me, Wichita State.
I have since received several tweets/e-mails claiming I had it out for Marshall because she was causing a disturbance around me during the game. That could not be further from the truth. It’ll take a lot more than her behavior to upset or offend me. Hell I’ve been Lynn Marshall before, many times in fact. If a video existed of me watching the final play of the Titans-Rams Super Bowl, I’d probably be in prison. She isn’t the first person to curse while watching sports.
But now I’m attached to Lynn Marshall and I’m the bad guy who made it all happen, all because of an innocent video that had already disappeared into the Twitterverse. The people at Wichita and at the tournament made the mistake of digging it back up by trying to cover it up. Now it’s everywhere.
So to Wichita State, sorry I’m not sorry. Get your girl under control and learn how the internet works. This one’s on you.
And to the NCAA, please don’t call me a liar again when you know damn good and well someone representing you with the tournament told me to take the video down. Oh, and I’ll see you next weekend in Memphis. I’m sure it won’t be awkward at all.
And did I mention Louisville lost?