I spent some time this morning — wasted, some would say — taking to the Twitter to argue with oxymoronic Arkansas sports journalists in light of Wally Hall’s mighty fine column this morning.
The Wallster took to task Razorback, Inc., of which the University of Arkansas is a subsidiary, for selling marketing rights to an out-of-state firm that operates from offices on the state-owned campus and posts videos of football team practice sessions from which the Arkansas sports media is barred.
Wally called this a case of the Hogs competing with the news media professionals covering them.
I wish to make three points if I may:
1. Arkansas sports journalism is mostly about Hog boosterism. It looks to me like Channel 4 doesn’t have a sports news segment, but a Razorback promotional segment. So the specific complaint is actually that the Hogs are competing in the boosterism field with the local media. My suggestion, then, is that Arkansas sports journalism try some, you know, journalism. Detached, questioning, dubious. That assertion by me this morning on the Twitter led a couple of offended sportswriters to say Arkansas sportswriting had come a long way since my childhood days in it. I replied, yes, the wrong way. In those days, at least Orville Henry wrote informatively, insightfully and authoritatively. My boss at the Arkansas Democrat was a guy named Fred Morrow, who may still be the best columnist I ever read. He had little use for Frank Broyles or the Hogs and wrote so. I seem to remember he actually made fun of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
2. Arkansas newspapers waste too much precious money that could be paid to me on sending massive contingents to these Razorback football games. Basically, the only thing these armies of typewriter jocks are doing is watching live production of a television show. Statistics are kept for them. Dressing room quotes are provided for them. And if real news breaks out, such as Bobby Petrino’s camera-caught crossfield outburst toward Les Miles two years ago at LSU, then they say, hey, I didn’t see it. Does television not provide replay? The CBS people are right down there in the other booth. Check on the Twitter and see that everyone is talking about this incident, then ask CBS to replay the video for you, then do a story. I wrote a column on this incident the Tuesday after this Friday game. It was the first newspaper column reference to Petrino’s misbehavior.
3. Razorback, Inc., has always been out of control and remains so. Johnny Tyson got off the UA Board of Trustees becaue he was sick of the way Jeff Long ran the whole university. David Pryor, who is on the board, has some of the same cocnerns, but is entirely too circumspect to make a spectacle, especially with his boy not needing any familial waves made until Mr. Cotton is disposed of.
Otherwise, Wally had a good column and was right.