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Berry Tramel

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Oklahoma football: Blake Bell April Fools' joke not funny

by Berry Tramel Modified: April 3, 2014 at 9:45 am •  Published: April 3, 2014

Blake Bell (10) goes through drills as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) begin spring practice on Owen Field at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., on Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Blake Bell (10) goes through drills as the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) begin spring practice on Owen Field at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., on Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

I received a text message Tuesday morning from a friend of mine who’s a big OSU fan. “Stillwater radio reporting Travis Ford FIRED!!!!”

I texted him back. “April Fool’s joke?”

About an hour later, he texted back. Yep, his cousin had got him. Fooled him completely.

I don’t know why some people don’t remember what day it is, but they don’t. They’re still rooked by April Fool’s. Seems to me it’s easy to remember when April 1 arrives. Aug. 1, or Nov. 1, or Feb. 1, no big deal. But April 1 is fairly momentous. The arrival of April is a threshold on the calendar, at least in Oklahoma. Cold weather has become a March staple. But it really hasn’t seeped into April. When April arrives, the cold weather, the really bad stuff, is gone.

But some people still are fooled, so some people still try to fool, and some people includes OU football.

On OU football’s official Twitter account Tuesday, this tweet was sent out: BLAKE BELL switches back to QB. Complete with a photo of Bell holding a football and sporting a smile.

Click on the image, and you get “APRIL FOOLS!!!!!”

I thought it was in terribly bad taste. Let’s see. Bell is a guy who’s been nothing but class since he arrived on campus, who the last time he touched the football in a game literally saved the season with a Bedlam touchdown pass, keeping OU’s arch-rival from winning the Big 12 title and setting up the Sooners to go to the Sugar Bowl, and you know what happened there, changing the entire dynamic around Oklahoma football. And now Bell has moved to tight end, not because he loves tight end and the thought of playing quarterback repulses him, but because he knows that job is now Trevor Knight’s and Bell just wants to play.

And so his own school is making jokes at Bell’s expense? I thought that was incredibly insensitive.

Bob Stoops doesn’t agree. “I didn’t pay much attention to it,” Stoops said. “Blake was all right with it, they asked him. He said, ‘go ahead.’ Wasn’t my idea. They said they checked with Blake, he said he didn’t care. So I don’t know why anyone else would.”

Well, of course Bell said he didn’t mind. We’ve already established that he’s a class guy. That’s what class people do. They don’t kick up a fuss about themselves, good or bad. Even when sophomoric behavior affects them.

That’s the trouble with social media. Everyone always thinks about the social. They don’t ever think about the media part of it.

Twitter is media. If organizations are going to get into the media business, they need to better understand the ramifications. It’s OK to have some fun, it’s OK to play a joke, I suppose, although a little too much of that and your constituents won’t feel like they can trust anything you say.

But a joke at Bell’s expense — hey, Blake, let’s have some fun over you not getting to quarterback anymore — seemed highly out of line.

I have no idea who runs OU’s football twitter account, and maybe it’s a bunch of different people. But it needs to be someone with a little better sense of humor.

If you want to make a joke, make a joke that’s not personal. OU-Texas moving to Mexico City. Sooners to wear black jerseys in their season opener. OU considering putting a dome over Owen Field. Lots of things would make fans say, “what?”, without reminding a solid citizen on the football team that he’s no longer the starting quarterback.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
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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