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Berry Tramel: Reporters should think about what they wear

Arkansas radio reporter Renee Gork deserved to be fired for stupidity after wearing a Florida hat to an Arkansas news conference. But the radio station's catering to Bobby Petrino's distaste for her hat is evidence of a partisan media.
by Berry Tramel Modified: August 17, 2010 at 10:05 pm •  Published: August 17, 2010
/articleid/3486232/1/pictures/1100193">Photo - Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino set off a fire storm with a comment about a reporter's hat. AP photo
Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino set off a fire storm with a comment about a reporter's hat. AP photo

But you better brand me an OSU fan at the same time. I'm pulling for the Cowboys, too. I spent more years as an OSU beat writer (six) than an OU beat writer (two). I want to see the Cowboys ride high. Eddie Sutton in the Final Fours. The Cotton Bowls against Ole Miss. Mike McGraw's golfers and John Smith's wrestlers in the NCAAs.

I'm an Oklahoman; I want our schools to thrive in every endeavor, and if you're one of those people who builds a barrier between the two schools, well, you baffle me.

Moving on, one problem with modern media is that once we were a bastion of neutrality. No longer. From radio reporters with a "Boomer Sooner" ring tone to television anchors on both schools' broadcast crew to Internet sites devoted only to the advancement of a favorite team, the lines have blurred.

In some ways, we've returned to the 19th century partisan press, where media — at that time, publications only — openly admitted to partisanship. That's what we now have in political coverage, with the likes of cable's Keith Olbermann and Bill O'Reilly.

It's come to sports, too (KAKS), and you can't blame a football coach with a wary eye on who is covering his football team.

Stoops claimed little knowledge of what happened in the Ozarks but said if he's asked a question in a public forum, "I'm going to answer 'em whatever they're wearing." But if someone comes to his practice, as a courtesy, wearing a shirt or cap of an opponent, it's change or get out. "I'm not going to have somebody flash something in our face," Stoops said.

Gundy said he doesn't have time to worry about such things and Tuesday night claimed not to even know what people wore in his just-concluded press briefing. He might have been telling the truth. He scoured the room, still full of media chatting with players, to see what reporters were wearing.

Stoops chatted openly Tuesday about the blurred lines. Said he's no longer interested in hearing about journalistic integrity, when so many of us have gone into what he calls entertainment. Locally and nationally, he's got a point. Most everyone is double- or triple-dipping.

Newspaper writers on television or radio. Most everyone writing opinion for the Internet, to some degree.

Of course, a counter to Stoops' argument is that the opinion-based phenomenon started when coaches began limiting media interviews. More media outlets, combined with less access to the players, makes for combustion.

Gundy admitted he's "not really fired up about the Internet," but "the only problem I ever have is something not based on fact. Otherwise, if they write something not favorable about OSU football, they don't have to worry about walking by me in the hallway."

The gulf between media and the sportsmen we cover likely will grow. The least we can do is maintain some professionalism. Get things right. Be fair. Show up and take our medicine when we rip someone. And when it's raining, and the only hat in the house is a Gator cap, grab an umbrella.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at

by Berry Tramel
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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