KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Well, if this is indeed the end of the road for Butch Jones at Tennessee, he is gonna go down swinging.
On Monday, Jones finished his news conference by attacking the local media after he was asked a question about defensive tackle Shy Tuttle, who missed the UMass game with an injury.
Rumors have been circulating about how Tuttle was hurt. Jones said Tuttle landed on a helmet. Jones then went on a two-minute rant in which he ripped into reporters.
A few of the choice quotes are as follows:
“I think we have to understand what do we want out of our media.”
“Are we focused on Tennessee football from a recruiting standpoint, from all the positive things we’ve done … from all the positive things this football program brings to the community, this great fan base? … Are we in the reality world of TV?”
“I’m going to protect our players and I’m going to protect our program. And sometimes the negativity is overwhelming. And if everyone is Vol fans, how do we let our opponents use this in the recruiting process with fake news?”
“You guys have a job to do, and I’m respectful of that. And I’m friends with a lot of you guys in the room and I appreciate it, but also there comes a certain time where enough is enough.”
I’ve covered Tennessee football in some shape or form since 2001 and can say that I’ve never considered this to be an overly aggressive media market. The media representation certainly has grown over the years, but you don’t get reporters knocking on coaches’ doors or tracking them down at the coffee shop in this town.
Local media works within the parameters of the rules set by Tennessee’s sports information department. Are there times when they are in conflict? Of course.
A player you want to interview isn’t always made available. During the season, one practice per week is open to the media, and only for a few periods (which is still more access than a lot of places).
But come on: Knoxville is not going to be confused with Philadelphia anytime soon with regard to a media vs. team situation.
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