Thursday, October 8, 2009

VERITAS: FUMBLE -LEAFS COACH BATTLES MEDIA


Damien Cox’s Toronto Star blog The Spin on Sports (http://thestar.blogs.com/thespin/) is really a must read for the true sports fan. And it demonstrates the major shifts which have taken place – and continue to occur – in the media landscape. He doesn’t just write, but posts video entries. He had a telling item this week about Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson, who in his second season behind the Leafs bench he described as “increasingly resentful of the fact fans and media alike have many questions about his hockey club and aren’t afraid to vocalize them. He doesn’t like positive coverage of his team or negative coverage.” Cox cited positive stories about new Leafs goalie Jonas Gustavvson, which Wilson “ridiculed,” as well as negative stories about goalie Vesa Toskala, which Wilson called “grossly unfair.” Cox went on to argue that Wilson basically wants the media to publish his words verbatim with no added commentary. He went on to urge the coach to read former New York Yankees Manager Joe Torre’s book (and it is a great read, by the way) which demonstrates how to handle intense media scrutiny and still win championships. “It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you’re always being questioned,” Cox quoted Wilson as complaining to media. The lesson? Don’t go to war with people who buy ink (or write blogs) by the barrel. Media will have the last word. Yes, they can criticize you. That’s their job. You are the public figure. It doesn’t mean you can, in turn, criticize the job the media is doing. You can, of course, but it will turn out very badly. Better to be honest, try to help them do their jobs and meet their deadlines, and work to mend media relationships that might be damaged. It’s the only way to move forward.

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