Truth is, it's probably a divide that's always been there for other newsmakers. Entertainers, politicians, whoever. But sports and the media historically had a better relationship. Coaches and writers, athletes and broadcasters. The ultimate goal wasn't world peace or global domination. Some guys played ball, and a whole lot of people were interested in who won. That was the depth of the enterprise. Of course, that's changed. I don't know if it was Watergate or high salaries or ESPN or the Internet or all of the above. But a growing wall now exists. Media is more intrusive and analytical than ever before; coaches are more secretive and controlling than ever before, which frankly is at odds with fans being asked to pay prices exponentially higher than in decades past for the privilege of following their teams. An hour after his meltdown, Gundy chatted with me, a good, cordial conversation in which his attitude hadn't changed but his demeanor had. He said he was through with our paper. I hope that's not true. I've known Mike Gundy for 22 years. Known him since we both were kids. He was a Midwest City senior, trying to decide between OSU and OU, and I was a cub reporter at the Norman Transcript. I liked him then, I like him now, though it wasn't very easy Saturday night. If Gundy had shown the fire on the sidelines at Troy that he showed in dressing down Carlson, OSU football would be the better for it. I know Jenni Carlson better. I hired her eight years ago when I was sports editor. She is a good person. A good journalist. Her work ethic would rival football coaches'. Did her Reid column miss the mark? I doubt it. Could she have written it differently? No doubt. We all regret when everyone is talking about a writer and a coach and a press conference, after a ballgame in which Brandon Pettigrew and Zac Robinson and Jacob Lacey and Nathan Peterson and Dantrell Savage and Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree and Danny Amendola made us stand up and cheer. Made us remember why we are so passionate about this thing called sport. I hope we can restore our relationship with Gundy. Ironic thing is, if you chronicled the 100-plus years of Oklahoman sports pages, and ranked all the personalities on how well they've been treated, Mike Gundy would be in the top five. He was sticking up for his player. I respect that. I think he erred in how he did it, but I don't begrudge that he did it. But Gundy needs to know that building higher walls will not solve anything. Building higher walls creates, rather than reduces, problems. Building higher walls is not the answer in this new age of sport.
MORE FROM NEWSOK
A recent column in The Oklahoman upset OSU coach Mike Gundy on Saturday night. BY MATT STRASEN, THE OKLAHOMAN