Monday, December 8, 2008

Dealing with the media is an obligation for coaches and players

When Ben Howland's UCLA team reached the Final Four (again) earlier this year, he talked about how his team's experience would be an advantage for the Bruins.

Coach Howland was talking not only about playing experience. He referred specifically to dealing with the media, which he described as "draining."

As this columnist for the Orlando paper put it, "dealing with the media is an obligation for coaches and players after the game. Fans spend a lot of money supporting their teams and they rightfully expect to hear what their players have to say after games. When you lose... the fans deserve an explanation."

Organizations at all levels understand the importance of coaches working effectively with the media.

In fact, earlier this month, the Seattle paper published a copy of the recommendations from an advisory committee in the University of Washington's search for a new football coach. [It's an interesting document, by the way. The PDF is here.]

In the document, the committee recommends that the school's new coach "be comfortable interacting with...the media, and understand the role the media can play in helping to rebuild the program. It would be good to have someone who is experienced and comfortable with dealing with the media."

Raiders coach Tom Cable said talked recently about how QB JaMarcus Russell is "learning how to deal with the media" after Russell failed to appear for a meeting with the TV production crew covering the team's game last Thursday against San Diego.

According to this article, "the fall-out came in the form of on-air criticism and Cable making it clear to Russell that his responsibilities go beyond the playing field."

"If you get perceived as a guy that blows things off or you don't respect the wishes of the media that way, they'll treat you that way," Cable said.