Nobody escapes blame in coach-columnist spat
If you haven't seen the China syndrome meltdown of Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy then you should. Not only because it's compelling video, but because of what's happened since Gundy used his entire postgame news conference to berate a newspaper columnist, defend his benched quarterback and, in the process, become something of a statewide hero.This wasn't your ordinary tirade. This was Dennis "Crown Their Asses" Green, Jim "Playoffs?" Mora, Bob "Forgotten More About This F------ Game Than All You People Combined Are Ever Gonna Know" Knight to the 10th power. This was the Johnnie Walker Blue of rip jobs. Gundy lectured, insulted and vilified Daily Oklahoman sports columnist Jenni Carlson for writing that benched OSU quarterback Bobby Reid is essentially a big wuss. Carlson and the Oklahoman stood by the column, but the truth is, nobody is blameless on this one. Of course, you wouldn't know that by the opinion polls. In Oklahoma, Gundy is more popular than oil. An Oklahoma City television station asked viewers if Gundy reacted "appropriately." Eighty-one percent of the 11,686 respondents said yes. Another TV station in the city asked if Gundy was right to react as he did. Seventy-six percent of the respondents answered yes. And Oklahoma State officials said Wednesday that 98 percent of the 1,400 (and counting) e-mails they've received are pro-Gundy. "I couldn't believe what I was seeing," said Rajika Reid, Bobby's mother, of Gundy's news conference. "I've never seen nothing like that before. I was in awe. Wow." It shouldn't come as a surprise that Gundy has received widespread support from his coaching peers. But what is mildly surprising is that some of the calls left at his office come from coaches he's never met, including several with Super Bowl rings. Something is at work here. The mistake is to think Gundy's supporters are simply Oklahoma State yahoos blinded by orange and black loyalty. But the e-mails and support also come from University of Oklahoma alums and fans, which, if you know anything about the intensity of that rivalry, just doesn't happen by accident. Gundy not only struck a nerve, but he inadvertently tapped into the public's (and coaches') frustration and exasperation with the media. Not only did these people agree with what Gundy did, but they overwhelmingly agreed with how and why he did it.