Boeheim Criticized, Praised on Andy Katz Comments…And Really Doesn’t Care

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Feb 13, 2013; Hartford, CT, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Jim Boeheim (right) talks with former Connecticut Huskies head coach Jim Calhoun before the start of the game at the XL Center. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

 

If you thought that headline was contradicting or confusing, wait until you read opinions from fans and analysts across the country.

In the days following Jim Boeheim’s public shots at ESPN College Basketball reporter Andy Katz, America has been weighing in on the hall of famer speaking to his professionalism or class with how he handled the situation. Their reactions? Both positive and negative.

First, an article from Deadspin:

To recap, Boeheim is furious because an interviewer asked questions about the big story of the moment involving his former colleague and friend. Katz had the temerity to bring up the only story anyone cared about, even though Boeheim told him not to ask about it.

(This is an important distinction: Boeheim doesn’t claim Katz agreed to the conditions, and Katz specifically says he never agreed to them.)

Major respect for Andy Katz, for first refusing to agree to Boeheim’s asinine boundary, and for asking him anyway. That sort of thing is rarer than you might think. Recall the dozens of obsequious letters to Auburn’s spokesperson during Cam Newton’s Heisman season, writers and TV people falling over themselves to promise they wouldn’t ask a thing about Newton’s off-the-field troubles.

You don’t get to dictate what questions are asked. You can refuse to answer them, and you can refuse to do the interview in the first place, and you can get up and walk out, but you can’t set the ground rules for journalism, because otherwise it’s not journalism, it’s PR. Jim Boeheim is holding a grudge because Andy Katz didn’t want to be his SID. Boeheim is a bully and is used to getting his way, and 16 months later still sports a rage-on because of that one time someone refused to play along.

Apparently the guys over there are taking Katz’s side of the story, as Boeheim has offered something completely different:

“It’s really simple,” he explained. “I went to New York last year to play in the (NIT Pre-Season Tip-Off) Tournament in November and he (Katz) asked if he could interview me about the tournament. And I said, ‘Yeah, but I can’t talk about the (Bernie Fine) investigation.’

“We got in the room and he put me on camera — there were several witnesses there — and he asked me what I’d told him I couldn’t answer. I kept telling him, ‘I can’t answer that.’ And he asked me, like, 10 times on camera. He never took the camera off me.

“Two or three people in the room were so disgusted they walked out of the room. The producer came over and apologized afterward. And I told Katz right then and there, ‘Don’t talk to me. Do not try to talk to me again.’

“That’s what this is about. It’s about one thing: An interview that was supposed to be about a tournament we were playing in, and not about the (Bernie Fine) case. And he kept asking me about the case over and over and over again. He kept the camera on me, trying to get me to react . . . and I just didn’t.”

I fully expected Deadspin to take the stance they have. They are an investigative journalism type of site, so even if everything Jim Boeheim said about what happened were true, they would still have the same stance, and even have stated as much. I enjoy reading Deadspin and think they do great work, but at the end of the day the idea of their site is something that is completely different from what ESPN is (or was). Deadspin is about putting a distinct twist on anything they report on, with some content on their site that would never even sniff the headlines at ESPN. Their uncovering of the Manti T’eo hoax was fantastic work that went viral, but aside from that they rarely cross paths with ESPN.

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