After last night's brouhaha between Jim Boeheim and Andy Katz (or more accurately, BY Jim Boeheim towards Andy Katz), I mulled over a couple thoughts before I went to bed and after I woke up this morning. Let's dig in, you disloyal idiot:
1. Jim Boeheim has a quality that most people publicly despise but secretly admire. He speaks his mind and he speaks his truth. Boeheim is many things but he is not deceitful and he does not mince words. You can call it a bully pulpit when he stands up there at his press conference and berates people, and sometimes it is, but you will never get anything less than brutal honesty from him and in a sense that's refreshing. Do you think you get the full story from Coach K or John Calipari or Bo Ryan when they step up to the podium? Nope. Certainly not like Boeheim. Often to his own detriment (see: Bernie Fine reaction), Boeheim's filter is non-existent. You might not like what he has to say but at least you know where you stand with him.
2. Brent Axe gave his take on why he thinks Boeheim came down on Katz last night and I tend to agree with his hypothesis. Basically, this whole thing between the two of them has been brewing for a while. It probably goes back to the Bernie Fine scandal when Katz wrote an article that peeked behind the curtain of Boeheim's program and was set off by Katz's reporting last night of what Boeheim considered either off-the-record or private information.
3. I'm 99% sure Boeheim's use of "disloyal" didn't mean what a lot of people thought it meant. I don't think Boeheim was saying that Katz should be loyal to him or loyal to Syracuse University. I think he meant to say "dishonest," because he either gave the impression that information being conveyed was off the record or some other reason. We can quibble over the letter of the law when it comes to off the record conversations but whether it was the James Southerland tidbit last night or tidbits that Katz has shared in past articles, at some point Katz has printed or said something that Boeheim didn't think was for public consumption.
4. There was a really quick rush to defend Andy Katz last night from a lot of people, namely reporters. I get that and I agree with them that Katz is a great reporter. BUT, it reminded me of something that's really defined this era of journalism, specifically sports journalism. This is The YOU DON'T REALLY KNOW ANYTHING, DO YOU? Era.
Journalists used to get the benefit of the doubt about these kinds of things. We used to trust journalists implicitly because we knew they did their research, they backed up their facts and they confirmed everything. Today we live in a media world that's post-McGwire, post-Sosa, post-Armstrong, post-Te'o and post-Sandusky. We live in a media world where we can't trust breaking news during events like the Newtown School Shooting or the Chris Dorner Shootout or even unimportant things like coaching hires because we've been burned so many times by overeager journalists who present hearsay as fact only to later on find out it was untrue. We've been fed so many lies, false narratives and biased news reports that everything remains a question even after the investigating is done.
So excuse me if "but he's an outstanding journalist" doesn't cut it for me anymore.
No one knows exactly what set Jim Boeheim off last night. No one knows exactly what Andy Katz did or didn't do in his reporting. But because we need to have an opinion right away (I'm as guilty of this as anyone), everyone immediately digs their heels in. Boeheim's a bully, case closed. And maybe Syracuse fans are guilty of this as well, defending Boeheim when we don't know what Katz did either. But as the ones who have been following Boeheim for years and studying his press conference blow-ups like the Zapruder Film...we're the ones that know that when he does blow up like this, he's usually doing it for a very good reason.
5. Did Boeheim go up to the podium thinking, "I need to find a way to deflect attention from this loss" and then attack Katz? I don't think so. I don't think he works like that (See No. 1). His post-game rants are just as likely to come after big wins as they are big losses. I think he's been worked up over the Katz issue, this was the first time he had Katz in his crosshairs (they haven't spoken since December 2011) and he took the shot. That he was probably pissed off about the loss didn't help matters.
P.S. Jim Boeheim says he doesn't read blogs but, you know Jim, we're not the ones writing all the stuff that keeps pissing you off. You might want to log on one of these days...