Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Columnist responds to Gundy

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- A newspaper columnist for The Oklahoman on Tuesday defended her reporting on a story that prompted a tirade by Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy.
Jenni Carlson, in a column on the front page, maintained the accuracy of an earlier column critical of the Cowboys' former starting quarterback.

"I will not stand on the sidelines and allow someone to attack my credibility," she said.
Carlson's column Saturday suggested Bobby Reid's demotion was a result of his attitude more than his ineffective play. It stated that Reid, who lost his starting job two games ago, had not always handled his nerves well and his slow starts put the Cowboys in some early holes, including some they dug out of with Reid "wielding the biggest shovel."
It also called Reid the "most talented quarterback" on the team and indicated Reid was "nicked in some games and sat it out instead of gutting it out." Following Oklahoma State's 49-45 win over Texas Tech, Gundy used his postgame news conference to berate Carlson and left the room without taking questions.

On Saturday, Gundy called three-fourths of the column "fiction." During Gundy's news conference Monday, Carlson asked the coach to point out what he thought were factual errors.
"I don't have to," Gundy said.
Carlson asked again, and Gundy said, "I don't have to. I'd rather just let it go."
Carlson said in her Tuesday column that she would like to do the same, had Gundy not questioned her credibility.
"I feel as adamant about the facts in that column as Gundy did in his belief that his player shouldn't have been so scrutinized," she said.
The Oklahoma City newspaper has stood behind the content of the piece and the columnist who wrote it.

Gundy said Monday he hopes that the fallout from his screaming defense of Reid does not overshadow the Cowboys' upcoming game against Sam Houston State the way it obscured their win to start Big 12 play.
Gundy's 31/2-minute speech spread quickly over the Internet, with video Web site YouTube recording more than 75,000 views of the video.
"It just happened because of my feelings for the team and the players and I just felt like it wasn't the right thing," Gundy said. "I certainly didn't do it to receive recognition and I certainly don't want it to take away from this upcoming game like it unfortunately took away from the last game for the team."

The situation has drawn more attention than the result of the game, which included more than 1,300 yards of offense and Tech's Graham Harrell throwing for the fourth-highest total in major college football history.
"I thought it was more important that somebody stand up for a player who couldn't stand up for himself," Gundy said.
Football Writers Association of America president Mike Griffith called Gundy's behavior "completely inappropriate" and suggested the matter "could have been handled in a more private and appropriate matter."

The Association for Women in Sports Media said Monday night that Gundy handled the situation in an "unprofessional manner," and while he has a right to his opinion "his decision to air his objections in the form of a personal attack shows a lack of respect for all journalists."
Gundy said his secretaries had informed him he was getting numerous e-mails and that "the phone won't stop ringing."
"The only thing that matters to me is what I thought was right, and whatever I thought was right is what I said. Other than that, I just have to let it go," Gundy said. "I don't say things for people to disagree or agree with me. I say them if I think they're right."
Gundy said the Cowboys (2-2, 1-0 Big 12), who lost two weeks ago at Troy, needed to focus on Sam Houston State (3-1) because "we're not good enough to overlook anybody." The Bearkats of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division I-AA) feature former Oklahoma quarterback Rhett Bomar.

"They're doing a lot of things on offense to give people some problems," said Gundy, whose team allowed a school-record 718 yards of total offense against the Red Raiders.
Gundy said Zac Robinson, who replaced Reid, could have been more accurate on some throws in the third quarter but was overall "pretty good." Robinson threw for 211 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 116 yards and a score in his second start.
Reid lined up as a wide receiver for a handful of plays as part of a scheme Gundy said was developed last week. Reid didn't play the previous week in the 41-23 loss at Troy.

"Bobby went through a difficult time because for the first time in his life, he wasn't the guy," Gundy said. "We've had some discussions with him about it. It's no different with Bobby or any other player on any position: If you were a starter and now you're not a starter, you never know when you're going to be back in the game."

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