In South Carolina coach Frank Martin’s postgame press conference last night, preteen Sports Illustrated Kids reporter Max Bonnstetter asked an interesting and well-formulated question—one that, somehow, upset a handful of “adult” journalists:
Q: Your team clearly won the defensive battle tonight. When you coach and teach your team defense, what’s more important, technique or attitude?
FRANK MARTIN: First of all, a lot of respect to you. That’s a heck of a question. I’ve been doing this a long time and that’s the first time anyone’s ever asked me that. That’s a heck of a question. Attitude comes first. We got to have guys that are going to believe in our mission, that are going to believe in what we want to do. Once they believe, then we can teach them the technique. It all starts with our mindset. We have got guys that are completely bought into what we do.
In a press conference with its fair share of “talk about...” bullshit non-questions, this was easily one of the better queries. Some journalists clearly didn’t think so:
Both have since tried to backtrack—Dodd by completely reversing course and South Carolina beat reporter Caraviello by claiming that he was actually talking about an SI Kids question from a different game. (Bonnstetter did ask a separate question in the later game’s press conference—a game Caraviello did not appear to write about or be on deadline for—but it’s not a particularly great look regardless.)
There is, first, the fact that Bonnstetter’s question was completely reasonable and one worth asking. There’s the fact that it’s ridiculous to take offense at giving less than one minute of presser time to a kid who’s clearly interested and engaged in sports reporting. And, finally, there’s the inane idea of any legitimate question managing to be “an insult to the profession” when the current standard is largely a mix of mealy-mouthed quasi-queries and straightforward quote requests.
But, yes, go on and blame the literal child in the room.