Miami Football- The Beast Unleashed: Dog and Pony Show
You can listen to the audio from Monday morning’s press conference here:
When you’ve covered the same team for almost 20 years, there are times when you feel jaded. That happened to me Monday morning.
As the entire Hurricanes’ Nation was in a tizzy over the imminent delivery of the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations, the media packed the EJ Room at the Hecht Center, summoned there to report on an announcement by three juniors that they were going to stay in Miami and not enter the NFL draft. The scene was odd. Just before the press conference several assistant coaches, staffers and other athletic department employees walked into the room. Usually there is no one else in the EJ room for a presser other than some Sports Information staffers. I thought it was odd that all of these people were coming into the room for this press conference. In came Seantrel, Curtis Porter and Brandon Linder dressed in suits. It was almost surreal. Here were three big boys in suits getting set to announce they were staying in front of an audience that already knew they were staying. After each one of them announced their intentions, wild applause broke out from the staffers and assistants. Applause is odd to hear at a press conference, since one of the mortal sins you can commit as a media member is to applaud or cheer. After the three players spoke and took a few questions, saying all of the right things, Deputy AD Steve Waterfield spoke about the school’s new agent policy. The policy basically requires coach Golden and other staffers present any time an agent speaks to a player on campus.
And just like that, the press conference was over. No NCAA talk. No NOA talk. Not much of anything.
Look, I have no problem with giving these three players their due and allowing them to announce their intentions in front of an audience and the media, but there was certainly something else at play here. Whether it was to get some positive news out in wake of the the pending NOA arrival, or to get the message out that these guys are staying, despite what might be coming, to calm the nerves of recruits, I spent 30 minutes in the Hecht today for the purpose of getting of The U’s message out.
I know right now you’re yelling at your screen. You’re saying,” Beast, why can’t you just let these kids have their day?” I got you. I understand your possible dismay at my reading of these events, but that’s where the jaded part comes in. I can’t help it. The jadedness, the cynicism, all of that comes with the experience of being a journalist. It is our nature, and our job really, to not take everything for what it is. We’re supposed to ask questions about everything and get to the “scoop.” I remember laying on my bed, trolling around on Twitter, on Saturday afternoon after the news had broke, here first, about the imminent arrival of the NOA, and seeing UM’s Ath Dept. Dir. of Communications, Chris Yandle, tweet out that there would be a presser on Monday and immediately my wheels started turning. I found it extremely odd that just at the time that the UM world was starting to rumble like a 6.0 earthquake, some benign presser was called. The last press conference I remember being at that involved a player announced his attentions to go the NFL was Nate Webster’s when Butch Davis stood beside him and helped him get through what was Fax-gate. That was 13 years ago.
I guess my point is that, to be honest, many of us in that room, that weren’t employed by UM, felt a bit dirty after the non-event press conference. The people I feel bad for are Seantrel, Curtis and Brandon. They were paraded out there in front of a crowd, not just so they could have their day, but so they could serve as positive pr pieces.
I’d would have loved if we got some face-to-face time with the three players, in a more casual environment, without the applauding and cheering. I’d love to talk to Seantrel about the ups and downs he went through. I’d love to talk to Curtis Porter about his consistency and battling back from his injuries. I’d love to talk to Brandon about his development as a guard and how he can take it to the next level next season. The three of them are great stories, instead, we got a dog and pony show.