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Of (Church Mice) and Men: Muschamp's rant

By now, many Florida fans have seen, read or at least heard about coach Will Muschamp’s two-minute tirade chastising the media -- specifically the website GatorCountry.com, The Gainesville Sun and The Palm Beach Post -- for erroneously reporting that freshman defensive lineman Jay-nard Bostwick was suspended for Saturday’s season opener.

(Courtesy ESPN)

I’m not going to rehash the tedious play-by-play of how everything was reported, nor am I here to start some finger-pointing contest. If you want a solid recap of the timeline of everything, check out Andy Hutchins’ piece on the SB Nation site Alligator Army. 

Hopefully my thoughts don’t read as some ombudsman’s analysis, but rather the opinion of a young writer -- who admittedly has plenty to learn -- but who is on the beat and was present for the public lampooning.

Yes, the three named outlets screwed up, and they screwed up pretty badly. Muschamp was defensible in standing up for Bostwick and his family. He was right in saying a kid who’s done nothing wrong shouldn’t see his name lumped in with a bunch of knuckleheads who did. It is no secret Muschamp is a player’s coach, and Saturday’s public stance is a big reason why. 

But Muschamp’s whole Col. Jessup routine lost all credence the second he dressed down reporters with a lesson on ethics and journalism. While he deserves an ‘A’ for showmanship, it was more like a ‘C+’ on material.

Who can really handle the truth?

Again, the outlets who reported the inaccurate information messed up. Hopefully as an honest mistake -- although how two outlets independently cited (via separate sources) the same incorrect name without ever mentioning the original report -- who first reported the wrong name -- is quite peculiar, but alas, I said I wouldn’t get into that.

Anyways, Muschamp’s ardent table-pounding of “irresponsible journalism” and “who was your source” is rather laughable considering Muschamp brazenly lied Wednesday during the weekly SEC Teleconference. Muschamp told the media, “No. Not at this time,” when asked if Florida had any other looming suspensions besides linebacker Antonio Morrison.

Well about that, here’s what Muschamp -- Accidentally? Purposefully? -- said later in Saturday’s postgame press conference:

“I announced to our football team last Thursday (presumably August 22) we’re going to be down some guys. They knew who I was talking about because they were on special teams. I told them exactly who they were. They made a mistake, and we have consequences in our program. Our players understand that, and we move forward.”

So why wait until two hours until kickoff to announce the suspensions? 

“We were going to announce it before the game. It was going to be announced before the game. That’s my prerogative as the head coach at Florida is for our football team, right? That’s what we were going to do.”

And there you have it. It is Muschamp’s prerogative, and yet erring on the side of secrecy or stubbornly being evasive (all in the name of some arbitrary competitive advantage) preemptively damaged the very player(s) Muschamp later doggedly defended.

Mistakes -- honest or not -- happen.

It was a bad error by multiple publications, but for some time now, the UAA has had a rather adversarial relationship with the media -- and both sides were exposed in a situation like Saturday’s.  

While Florida’s Iron Fist keeps a select few close, it mostly acts as an invisible gate between players/coaches/administration and reporters. 

The "us" vs. "them" mentality must change. We are not the enemy, nor the players/coaches/administration the combatant(s). It's a give-and-take relationship, and if everyone wants to avoid situations like this in the future -- something's got to change.

Hopefully, sooner rather than later. 

Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton


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Lmao. This kid obviously did something wrong that someone thought resulted in a suspension, well actually several people( "multiple sourses") and muschamp let the kid slide because someone may have gotten paid and was gonna talk if he didnt ply which forced muschamp to let him play.

I need fo hunerd dollas coach!

Check use of was defensible.Is he no longer defensible? And if he is/was defensible than why the criticism? Is it he that is defensible or a certain act?

Jesse...."it is no secret Muschamps is a players coach." Any coach who hands out four one hundred dollar bills and asks if it is enough is definitely a players coach,lol!

God I can't wait till sat to shut you losers up for a while!

gatorabum, it will be you that is silenced just like usual when the gators lose, their "gator nation", laughing disappears. Your team will be coming to Miami and the punishment will be severe for you redneck, trailer trash dummies.

Jesse, I thought you were a good journalist but this first line from your article is a complete joke:
"The 10th-ranked Gators powered past an explosive Toledo team 24-6 in their season opener Saturday"
Complete homer but I guess that is to be expected with that great Floriduh education.


I am a Hurricane fan and I find your coverage of the Gators very balanced and informative. The game is so much more interesting when you understand the strengths and weaknesses of the other team.

I don't have to like your team to appreciate the work you do as a writer. Keep it up.

Hey Driskell, if you actually knew anything about college football, you'd know they had the 5th best rb in the nation last year, and the 32nd ranked offense in the nation returning everyone from a 9 win bowl team. Hardly the joke that is the 3 win FAU team the canes struggled with most of the game! Once again, being a little too overly confident after that 1st game performance if you ask me. Enjoy that confidence while you can, because it'll be over soon!

Actually not a bad article Jesse. I thought you were going to go Greg Stoda ignorant on us. I understand you guys have a job to do, but I just don't see why a coach is required to announce which players will not play. I wouldn't want to give anyone a chance to game plan if I were coaching. I know reporting is all about gettint the story first, but I think getting it right is what's most important.

Jesse lay off Coach Mus, every single coach in the nation is secretive not only about suspensions but about injuries as well. If they believe it gives them a competitive advantage so be it. We will find out the day of the game and that is fine with me.
He is right to get mad when Bostwick is falsely accused.
GatorAlum pointing out facts to UM fans is futile, you cannot reason with them. It is amusing to see them all confident after their team did what it should have done and nothing more. There is no great accomplishment in beating a team like FAU, but if they want to get so hyped up about that, let them.
Soon we will bring them back to earth.
Go Gators!

Sorry Jesse, but I have to (respectfully) disagree with your take on the misinformation about Bostwick. As CEO of a major football program, Muschamp (not unlike other HC’s) must deal with myriad tasks – recruiting, player prep, coaching prep, game planning, etc – each of those having a bevy of subtopics/issues. The press’ role is to get (accurate) information and report on it – that’s it. From an outsider’s perspective it looks like Champ is piling on, but you heard him, he had to deal with irate parents and certainly a concerned HS coach, over something he had nothing to do with on the eve of game day. Yes, it’s part of his job to manage peripheral distractions like this. But as a journalist, you have to believe that your fellow journalist in this case created the gravest sin of all -- reporting on an unconfirmed source. The offense here is nowhere near proportional. What the journalist did would be akin to Muschamp rolling over in bed this past Saturday morning, hitting the snooze button and sleeping in until 1 P.M. Shame on you for not shouting for the reporters head on a stick and upholding the integrity of journalists like yourself.

Sorry about the rant, I just saw Almost Famous……again.

I'm open to any and all thoughts, opinions, criticisms, etc. on the matter. I don't think it's a black and white issue, but that's me.

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