If you want to gather likes on Twitter or Facebook, just bash the media. Simply write “it’s all the media’s fault,” and then sit back and watch the finger-wagging and echoes of agreement commence.
As a member of the media, I think that sentiment is often overblown. Believe it or not, the media is not inherently evil.
That said, few things bring frustration to one’s life any quicker than when the media gets it wrong. About you. It’s never fun when someone is spreading falsehoods about you, but when they’re doing it from a wide-ranging media platform it can be enraging.
That’s why I’m so impressed with Baylor football players Jarrett Stidham and Terrell Burt. They had every reason to take a swipe at the media, and instead took the high road.
On Monday, a TV and radio sports host named Greg Swaim tweeted that he had heard from sources that Stidham — actually he incorrectly referred to him as “Jared Stidham” — was likely out for Saturday’s Baylor game at Oklahoma State.
Not true, according to Baylor coach Art Briles and Stidham himself. Stidham is dealing with a sore back that he hurt early in the Oklahoma game, but the idea that he might not play against the Cowboys was news to him.
“One of the guys on the team texted me,” Stidham said. “Actually, (former Baylor quarterback) Bryce Petty just texted me before I came in here. He was like, ‘Please tell me it’s not true.’ And I was like, ‘What?’ He said, ‘Are you out Saturday?’ And I said, ‘No, I’m playing.’ I don’t know who said that or whatever. But it is what it is.”
A rather mature response from a 19-year-old freshman QB, wouldn’t you say?
Burt, meanwhile, had his entire credibility called out on national TV. In the fourth quarter of Baylor’s 44-34 loss to the Sooners, the cameras caught BU cornerback Ryan Reid racing over to Burt and motioning for the safety to hit the ground. Play was stopped, and Burt left the field, returning later in the drive.
The play looked fishy. It looked fishy to me, and it obviously looked that way to ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, who called it “bush league” on the air.
Turns out that Burt really was hurt. He had injured his ankle on an earlier kickoff return, and was trying to fight through the pain on the field. Reid wasn’t so sure that was a good idea.
On Sunday, Herbstreit tweeted an apology. (While I didn’t go quite as far as Herbie, I questioned the play in my Sunday column about the game, and I’ll man up and apologize to Burt, too. Sorry about that, Terrell.)
Burt said that watching the video, he understood why someone would think he might be faking an injury.
“I can understand why everybody in America who saw that was like, ‘You faked it.’ If I looked at it and I was in their shoes, I would say the same thing,” Burt said.
Burt admitted that he was stung by the criticism. He said he was just trying to be a “warrior” for his team, which is why he returned to the field on that same drive, because of other injuries in Baylor’s secondary.
But he holds no grudge toward Herbstreit, or anyone else.
“As long as he apologized, that’s all that matters,” Burt said. “I accept his apology, and overall I know people make mistakes. I have no problem toward him.”
Burt, who had his right ankle heavily taped Monday, said he has been rehabbing the injury and hopes to be on the field against the Cowboys Saturday.