JOHN GRANATO

My apology to the people of Houston

Jimbo Fisher appeared on The Bench with John and Lance. Bob Levey/Getty Images

It has come to my attention that I have disappointed some of you out there and for that I would like to apologize. On Tuesday we had Jimbo Fisher on the program like we do every Tuesday at 7:15 AM.

I made the decision to not ask him about the facemask incident. That was my decision. Not Lance’s. Not Del’s. Their credibility should remain intact. It is my credibility that should be in question here because I was the one who they asked to not mention the issue.

Make no mistake this was not a Mike Gundy situation either. For those of you that missed it, the Oklahoma State coach threatened the media that they would lose their player interview privileges if they asked them about a player who was transfering. That was a bully move. I abhor coaches who bully the media. That was not the case with Jimbo.

This was a simple statement by someone on his staff who said that the coach answered the question about the facemask incident and is moving on.

One more question about it certainly wouldn’t have hurt but by the same token what would have been added to what he had just said the day before? It was asked and answered.

Maybe I could have uncovered some pearl that would have shed new light on the issue but I didn’t. Maybe that one question would have changed the player-coach relationship and made the world a better place for them to coexist in love and harmony. Maybe. I don’t know. That will haunt me now until I die.

Trust me I’m not afraid to ask the tough question. When I was in Green Bay I asked head coach Lindy Infante about death threats to his family one particularly bad Packer season. I had the Green Bay police department in my office that afternoon trying to figure out where I’d heard that and how they could prevent it.

At the opening of Enron Field (now Minute Maid Park) I asked manager Larry Dierker if his pitchers might be afraid to pitch inside because of that short porch in left. He literally fell to the ground screaming that I asked unanswerable questions. (By the way, about midway through the season he was quoted as saying that his pitchers were probably afraid to pitch inside because of the short porch in left).

Gary Kubiak was so sick of my badgering him about who was his starting offensive line that he told Steve McKinney to tell me to get off his back.

If this was the Urban Meyer situation I would have asked about it. If this was the Penn St. or Baylor situation I would have asked about it. This was not. In my opinion this is a non-story. Your opinion may be different than mine. I appreciate that but I don’t think it’s a big deal.

I have a son playing college football. If he’s acting the fool and a coach grabs him by the facemask to get his attention I would have absolutely no problem with that. I’d encourage it.

I know this is a different world than the one I grew up in but I don’t think that world was all that bad. My high school defensive line coach, Coach Conrath, would walk around with a baseball bat and hit any of his guys that were misaligned. I guarantee you they paid attention to where they were lined up every snap.

Our basketball coach was also our P.E. instructor and he had a giant wooden paddle with holes in it that would make nice indentation marks on your butt when you caught a fresh one. Guess who didn’t fool around during gym? This guy.

But I digress. The real issue here is my credibility as a journalist now. It’s gone forever. You can no longer trust me when I call myself dark meat or when I tell you that I dreamed about Gary Pettis sending the runner. I’ve lost your trust and that hurts.

I will tell you that I should never have had that trust in the first place. I do not consider myself a journalist. As Del’s dad once so eloquently told him “The man is a clown, and you are his court jester.” It is who I am: morning radio clown and I’m OK with that.

I did the journalist thing back in the day. I was once the sports director at the NBC affiliate in Green Bay. I remember standing outside the Packers locker room on cut day. All of us huddled there like vultures waiting to pounce on guys coming out one by one after they’d been released by the team. I’d never felt so scummy. Here are these guys whose hopes and dreams had just been shattered and all we could worry about was getting some five second sound bite on the six o’clock news.

No thanks. If that’s journalism I don’t want any part of it.

So once again I apologize for losing your trust, as misguided as that trust was. We have had more coaches and will continue to have more coaches on our show than any show I know of. One of the reasons is that we are civil, another is that we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We like to  have fun with them which is something that’s rare these days. It seems to me that the media-coach relationship in this country is at an all time low.

Maybe we’ll ask Jimbo about that next Tuesday.







 

 


 

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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