Man, this is a fantastic comedy of errors for anyone not involved, and it all kicked off because of a poorly written piece of satire about T. Boone Pickens.
The article, written on whatthefussnews.com and published on Sept. 12, joked that Pickens, the oil billionaire who died on Sept. 11 of this year and was a major donor to Oklahoma State University and its athletics department, had left $30 for football coach Mike Gundy to get a haircut and shear off his ostentatious mullet. That would’ve been easy to ignore, had reporter Mark Rosner not asked Gundy about it.
When a reader first tipped us off to Rosner’s question at today’s Big 12 teleconference, I thought this was going to be one of those cases where the call passcode was leaked to a prankster. (That’s happened before to Gundy.) But the audio revealed that Rosner somehow thought this story was real—he said he saw it on “social media”—and believed it to be a sincere, lighthearted joke between Pickens and Gundy. The coach, who already despises reporters, saw his opportunity and pounced.
“Don’t hurt the real journalism world,” Gundy said. “It’s jackasses like you that cause problems, okay? They shouldn’t even let you call in. Do you want to talk football? We’ll talk football. If you want to be out there and talk idiotic social media, then you need to go do something with a college kid.”
“Okay, thank you,” Rosner replied. Not as enjoyable of an outburst as “I’m a man! I’m 40!” but it’ll do.
Correction (Sept. 24, 12:02 p.m. ET): The original version of this article stated that Mark Rosner was an Associated Press reporter, when in fact he’s freelance for the news organization. He was not reporting for the AP on this call. The article has been amended.
H/t to Ben