Today’s mass media is dominated by conglomeration; mega-firms that treat the business of providing news and information as a profit-maximizing enterprise. One of the consequences of such practice is the homogenization of news, where certain stories are selected then uniformed for consistent consumption. Such is the case with Disney and their little station they call ESPN, who in recent days has jumped all over our little story of an embattled coach and his disappointing results.
First, it was the dude at the Denver Post who elicited rumors of an impending buy-out from the dick swingers with cavernous pockets. I was even told that rogue radio curmudgeon Don Imus (who looks like what Michael Landon would look like now if he, you know, didn’t kick the bucket) even felt compelled to weigh in on the situation, although if he in fact did, I have no idea what he said. Anyone?
Yesterday, Tubby Smith was on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning (or as I like to call them, our colleagues, even though they don’t quite know that yet), where he created a stir among Big Blue Nation’s growing number of critics by carelessly choosing his words when discussing his expectations.
Today, Tubby gave PTI “5 Good Minutes”, where he shot down the hosts’s “gripping” questions with positive reinforcement. There’s really no need to run a dialogue of this, as he pretty much copy and pasted from the book “How to Deal With the Media While on the Hot Seat.” (with a forward by Steve Lavin). Kornheiser even adimitted that the network has been inundated with anti-Tubby mail. All in all, Tubby did about as good as you can do for a man who knows he is not meeting expectation while simultaneously preparing for the most important stretch of games in his long career.
Immediately following PTI, SportsCenter brought in college basketball analyst Doug Gottleib to the Budweiser Hot Seat, a place Dougie undoubtedly feels comfortable (once you’ve been on the hot seat of the law, Budweiser’s is a cinch). He was immediately asked to weight in on Smith-Gate, and while he was complimentary of the team and Coach Smith, he said he understood why Tubby was garnering such heat, as in his view Kentucky is in the process of falling out of Elite status.
If that wasn’t enough, the AP is running a story that UK’s board of trustees met yesterday and as a consensus are “reluctant to get involved” in a buy-out. UK student body President Jonah Brown, who is as qualified to talk about basketball as I am floral arrangements, made it evident by saying “…Teams have good seasons and bad seasons. This team has still had a pretty good season.” Define “pretty.”
Whew. The media circus has set up the big-top here in Lexington, and tomorrow’s game, as well as the remainder of the postseason, is on the marquee.
We apologize for being somewhat slow with the news lately, as I am embedded in academia, and Matt, Rob, Turkey Hunter, Hubby, and Tomlin are all on their way to Atlanta. We will be doing “The Sports Mob” from ATL on schedule (3-7pm) tomorrow and Friday, as well as “The Walk-ons” from 10am-noon on Saturday.