Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy, the “man” of Stillwater, joined UConn’s Randy Edsall as the latest football coach to throw a tantrum over the media doing its job this week.
The necessary background: On Saturday, Oklahoma State had their asses handed to them by Texas Tech, losing 41-17. Two days later at his weekly press conference, Gundy announced that senior wideout Jalen McCleskey would be transferring from the program. The move was a hit to the offense—though he struggled to start the season and was on pace for his least productive season in three years, McCleskey was a starter and had two scores to his name. But sensing he wouldn’t be able to crack into the top of the Cowboys’ rotation, he decided he’d spend his final season of college football elsewhere. It’s a reasonable decision, one Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant made earlier this week as well.
Still, it’s a starting receiver leaving after four games and, as reporters are wont to do, the journalists covering the team had some questions for Gundy and the program’s remaining players. Then came Tuesday, the day on which Oklahoma State players are regularly made available for comment. According to the student newspaper, The O’Colly, (and backed up by Tulsa World), Gundy threatened to revoke access from any reporter who asked about McCleskey:
At 5 p.m. Tuesday, media members gathered in the west concourse of the stadium for weekly player availability after practice. Players are usually made available at about 5:30 p.m., but before the first player reached the waiting reporters, the ethical dilemma began.
Gavin Lang, Gundy’s media relations coordinator, gathered the group of reporters and said Gundy threatened that if any reporter asks a player a question about McCleskey, then players would no longer be available to any media for the rest of the season.
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The reporters on hand decided in that 30-minute interval to adhere to Gundy’s stipulation, refusing to ask any of the Cowboys players about their feelings on McCleskey’s departure. It was capitulation, but also, given that they’re working a beat in a town where a single athletic department and the access needed to fill the inches in the paper dominates their ability to cash that bi-weekly paycheck, it’s understandable.
Oklahoma State’s real fuck-up came shortly after the media session, when Lang told reporters that if they even included reference to Gundy’s threat or mentioned it in their stories, the Cowboys would follow through on their threat. Thankfully, both Tulsa World and the O’Colly stood strong there, and flashed the middle finger at Gundy and Oklahoma State, publishing stories detailing exactly what went down on Tuesday, and, in the process, exposing Gundy for the ass that he is.
Remember: Even if it’s cute and meme-able, never trust a grown man with a mullet.