Column: Schiano and the self-righteous sports media
On Sunday, I witnessed two things, one right after the other. One I have never seen before, the other, I see about once a week.
Greg Schiano and the University of Tennessee had a written agreement, per reports, for the current Ohio State defensive coordinator to become the next head coach of the Vols early Sunday.
Once that news reached the rabid Tennessee fan base on social media, all hell broke loose. A charge led by several Tennessee politicians, sports media personality Clay Travis and a large chunk of Vols nation prompted athletic director John Currie to withdraw the offer to Schiano and re-open the coaching search Sunday night.
To say the situation is an unmitigated disaster is putting it kindly.
Now, there are two main reasons for the reaction to the potential hiring of Schiano. The first and most important is that a lot of people just don’t think he’s that good of a head coach. The second and I believe lesser reason for the reaction is that there were unfounded accusations that Schiano knew about the atrocities committed by Jerry Sandusky when he was an assistant at Penn State in the 1990s.
I want to break both of those down, but not before I get to my main point, which was the reaction of the national college football media, which itself acts in much the same manner that they are accusing the Tennessee fan base of behaving – mob-like.
Pete Thamel, Stewart Mandel, Pat Forde and Joel Klatt – some of the most prominent members in the national media landscape of college football, were quick to condemn both Travis and Tennessee fans.
Said Klatt on Twitter last night: The Tennessee fan base and the media members that led them off this cliff via group think and the mob mentality should be EMBARRASSED … You trashed a good man and high quality coach today based on zero evidence.
Peter King, as respected a voice as there is in the NFL media, called what happened to Schiano ‘A sad day for America’ on The Herd with Colin Cowherd on Monday.
No, Peter, the recent mass shootings in Las Vegas and Texas were sad days for America. You’re talking about a football coach that has made millions of dollars in his career.
Am I the only one that is sick and tired of the nauseating self-righteousness that the national sports media has hung its hat on?
This is the same group of people that are quick to vilify the Las Vegas police department based on the word of Michael Bennett, but the minute Bennett is proven a race-baiting liar all I hear is crickets from those same people.
But back to Schiano.
Why are these people so quick to jump to the aid of a man that had one double-digit win season in 11 years at Rutgers and a man that went 11-21 in a brief stint with the Tampa Bay Bucs? It’s the same man that also had a 28-48 record in conference play in the vaunted Big East.
The same man who instructed his players to treat a simple kneel down as an opportunity to dive at the knees of Eli Manning’s offensive linemen with the Giants and did the same thing against Peyton Manning’s Broncos.
In 2013, Schiano had a contentious relationship with his starting quarterback at the time, Josh Freeman, before Freeman was released.
The NFL Players Union accused Schiano of leaking information with other players that Freeman was in the NFL’s substance-abuse program. This reportedly occurred before Freeman was released.
Really, this is the guy the national media is rushing to defend?
I’ll give them credit, they managed to do something I didn’t think was possible – make Schiano a sympathetic figure.
The reality is that Tennessee fans spoke loud and clear that they didn’t want what they felt was a mediocre at best hire to lead their football program. Quite simply, they pushed back against an incompetent administration.
If you remember, Currie, who used to hold the same position at Kansas State, was responsible for running out then head basketball coach Frank Martin in 2012.
All Martin has done since then is take the basketball powerhouse that is South Carolina to a Final Four last season.
So you’ll forgive Tennessee fans for trusting the judgment of this man, especially when the man he was set to hire does nothing to move the needle of a group of fans hungry for a winner.
I had the same reaction that many Tennessee fans did when I first heard the Schiano news, which was raised eyebrows.
Vols fans want a return to the Phil Fulmer glory days, a time when they were a top ten program and contending for national championships, not the dumpster fire that Derek Dooley and Butch Jones created and most likely would have continued with Schiano.
And I assure you the reaction has little to do with ties to the Sandusky scandal, of which Schiano’s knowledge has been repeatedly refuted.
But yet, the national media puppets have ran to the aid of Schiano like lap dogs.
Schiano had a reputation for being tight-lipped and surly with the media when he was a head coach. So I ask again, why are they defending him in this instance?
I think people have made it clear that they have grown weary of reading columns where it feels like they should go say 10 ‘Hail Mary’s’ and five ‘Our Father’s’ afterwards.
Go try and find your spine, guys. Readers can see through your holier than thou BS and they’re sick and tired of it.