It’s a super, scintillating, spectacular… case of foot-in-mouth disease, baby!

Wow.

I can’t believe that B-Loy hasn’t picked up on this, as it’s an interesting convergence of journalism ethics and college basketball. I kinda thought that those two things were pretty much right down his alley.

As some of you may know, and as you can all tune into on ESPN tonight, the Florida Gators are coming into Knoxville to take on the Vols. ESPN is bringing in the big guns, i.e., Dick Vitale for the game as well.

Here’s where the fun starts. Local sports radio (WNML-FM) has a morning show from 10am-Noon called “The Sports Page.” It’s hosted not by professional radio guys, but rather by an occasionally rotating cast of sports writers from the local newspaper, the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

Yesterday morning, February 26, 2007, during the regular airing of “The Sports Page,” the hosts, specifically Mike Griffith and John Adams, had called up Dick Vitale for a pre-scheduled interview in anticipation of the big game. There’s where the fun begins.

Dickie V is sitting in a restaurant in Florida eating breakfast, apparently with an open cell phone, somehow doesn’t grasp that he’s actually on the air. Mike Griffith opens up with a lead in to welcome him to the show, and then, well, it’s kinda nothing. Then, all of a sudden, we hear Dickie-Baby chatting it up.

Unfortunately for Dickie-Baby, he’s not chatting it up with his Knoxville based interviewers, but rather some locals in his restaurant in Florida. Here’s how the initial, and pertinent portions went down:

Griffith: Dickie V!

Vitale: They’re bored.

Griffith: Dick, are you there?

Vitale: There’s no excuse to lose to LSU. No excuse.

Griffith: Hey, Dick.

Vitale: LSU without Davis? No way.

Griffith: Hey, Dick.

Vitale: This is interesting. [Taurean] Green and [Lee] Humphrey [Vitale’s
line is cut off].

Griffith: Hmm. Not sure what happened with Dickie V. there.

Adams: That was an interesting commentary. Did he know he was on-air?

Griffith: I don’t think he did.

Adams: He said there was no excuse for Florida to lose to LSU.

Griffith: There’s no excuse to lose to LSU. I think that’s true. I don’t
have a problem with that.

Adams: How does LSU win that game?

Griffith: OK. [Vitale’s line is open again.]

Vitale: Right now, I talked to some NBA guys who have a little doubt about [Noah]. I mean, he’s still going to get drafted top six or seven, but [he has] no shot. No shot. I’m going to tell you what. I’d take Horford over him. You know who told me that in confidence? Billy Donovan grabbed me all alone and said the pro scouts are making a mistake. He said there’s no way I would take Noah over – he said he would never say that publicly – over Horford.

Griffith: Hey, Dick.

Uhh…Ok. Either Dickie is talking out of his other gaping orifice, or he’s not worthy of being trusted with a confidence. Either he never gets a private scoop or inside information again because he’ll blab it to anyone, or he’s just a great big ole bag of bovine excrement.

I’ve been debating about what I think about the local reporters who were on air with this, and I’m not sure that I have decided what I think about them keeping the line open. My real feeling is that it’s not THAT big of a deal, from a radio perspective.

Here’s why I say that. First, Dickie V has to know (unless he’s a complete moron) that he is/may be on the radio at any time, as he’s apparently just received or placed a call to the show. That being known, keep your damn mouth shut with anything that you don’t want broadcast. Second is a corollary of the first, in that you should never say anything aloud in a media environment that you don’t want either recorded for posterity or broadcast to a large audience. Finally, if Dick was truly keeping a secret that was given him by Billy Donovan, then he shouldn’t have been flapping his mouth to anyone at all. Hence, if he wasn’t telling the people at the restaurant in Florida in the first place, this would never have happened.

Is it really a big deal though? To you non-SEC types out there, maybe not. Down here, on the eve of a really big game, though, it is. Playing the defending national champion on your home court is a big deal, and if they are remotely distracted, then it can possibly help during play.

In case you care, here’s a link to John Adams’ column about this in today’s KNS. You may have to do a free registration (you can use bogus email, etc., I believe). On that link there are also two audio clips from the show.

Go Vols! Beat the Gators!

P.S. I meant to mention this previously, but in my former life as a sports-talk radio guy, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing Dickie V. He was pleasant, courteous, and more than willing to talk to some know-nothing hack of a radio dude from a little nowhere station. I don’t think this post really changes my opinions of my experience with him, but it certainly adds a little extra color to that. People are constantly grabbing at him for his time/face for pictures, autographs, or comments.

2 Responses to “It’s a super, scintillating, spectacular… case of foot-in-mouth disease, baby!”

  1. Jordan says:

    Yawwwwwwwwwwn.

  2. Brendan Loy says:

    On the bright side, betraying Florida coaches’ confidences will probably earn Dickie V enough love from Tennessee fans that he’ll continue to get gifts like Pat Summitt’s cheerleader hat. :)