According to the Macon Telegraph’s Jason Butt, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart announced a new media policy Tuesday afternoon, stipulating that injuries, both “non-contact jerseys [sic] and injuries seen in front of media,” cannot be reported until the 41-year-old coach signs off.
The new diktat appears to be nothing more than another example of Smart being a paranoid asshole to the journalists covering his team—his first transgression, aptly named Kirby’s Law, came when he lobbied Georgia lawmakers to pass a bill extending the deadline on Georgia public universities to respond to open records requests from three business days to 90 business days.
If not the direct result, Smart’s latest rule was influenced by an otherwise normal occurrence that took place last Thursday, when members of the media reported an apparent injury suffered by freshman defensive back Deangelo Gibbs. When asked about the injury after practice, Smart offered the following snarky response, per Athens Online:
“Well, considering I haven’t had a lot of time to talk to the trainers, but it’s nice to know that you guys have found it in your hearts to report it,” Smart said. “So his mom has to find out from you guys rather than from us, which upsets me a little bit to be honest with you. I don’t think it’s really fair
Less than a week later, the new injury reporting rule was rolled out.
National reporters likely won’t be affected by this and will tweet away, as the copy they are paid to write does not regularly depend on Georgia sports information directors (the PR flaks of college sports) allowing them to speak with players and coaches. Local Athens reporters, though, very much do depend on this access for their end-product—for some reason, fans enjoy reading things like their favorite player’s quote about how hard they worked at a July practice. But fans also, presumably, like to stay up-to-date on the team’s latest injuries. If and when a journalist has their team access threatened for what Smart determines is an unapproved tweet, that reporter will have to choose between informing the interested public and having quotes for the upcoming preview.
So, if you’re a good ol’ muckraking sports journalist in the Athens area and need your Bulldog injury news published before Smart cuts your access, email us. As our daily production doesn’t need any access to Georgia’s coaches or players (thank God), we will gladly publish Nick Chubb’s inevitable injury report after he spends four games doing insanely sweet shit and then vaporizes his knee right before SEC play.