ONCE IN THE LIMELIGHT, YOU CAN'T ESCAPE THE MEDIA
An intriguing principle of quantum physics holds that the mere observance of an action changes the event itself.
In the sub-atomic world, the beam of light we direct to see an object excites the little electrons to the point that the event is altered. Under the glare of media lights, no little electron has ever become more agitated than did Virginia Tech defensive end Corey Moore prior to the Sugar Bowl.
In December, FSU fans condescendingly warned Hokie fans that their team had never before had to endure the massive distractions and media pressure of playing in a Game of the Century.
Old hat to us, we Seminoles yawned.
Said Moore, "One of the stupid reporters asked me the same question that he had already asked me the day before, and the day before that. And the question was, did I think we deserved to be playing here for the national championship. I just blew up."
About the cameraman, Moore said, "The guy apparently had seen me when I blew up over at the Superdome, and he just followed me out of the locker room and onto the practice field. I asked him nicely to not follow me and not keep my face on camera, but he kept it on me. I asked him nice at first, but I guess they decided not to show that part."
Something in me wants to put an arm around Moore's shoulder
and whisper, "Welcome to life at the top of the college
football pyramid. Welcome to our world."
The light is always on Florida State. What the media does is decide which lights to use, the soft or the harsh.
My point is not that "bad' coverage of the Seminoles is sensationalist or unfair. My point is that as long as we win as we have won, harsh coverage is part of life.
Nationally, Florida State was the participant for two years in a row in the college football national championship games. The coverage is bewildering, astonishing and ravenous.
About the time we won the 1993 National Championship, it seemed that open season had been declared on anyone who achieved a major championship. With the Sports Illustrated "Tainted Title" piece in 1994 and subsequent investigation of emerging sports agent problems, FSU had some vindication.
Much of what was in 'Tainted Title' wassimply wrong. No matter, we will forever be Steve Spurrier's favorite "Free Shoes" punchline.
And speaking of Spurrier, the question has yet to be asked by any major media voice, but if Florida State was somehow guilty of a major violation in 1993 because our coaches or compliance officer "failed to monitor" whether or not some of our players acquired new shoes, then what is the extent of NCAA liability for a program that failed to monitor star players receiving monthly salary checks and Mercedes automobiles for three years?
Actually, I'm not all that keen to have Florida taken down for failing to prevent Tank Black's acquisition of the Gators. Any program with great players has potential problems with sports agents.
Media searchlights constantly criss-cross the field, relentlessly seeking the next story. Sometimes it's clean and fair. Other times it's too quick to be either.
Sports journalists are always on a deadline of some sort. Imagine that you are an artist. You are talented and dedicated, and your work requires no small measure of creativity.
Now, imagine that your boss tells you to paint a picture before
five o'clock. Make it a good one, one that will sell for a lot
of money. And be here early tomorrow because he'll want you to
do the same thing again.
But it is naïve, even dangerous, to assume that writers and editors never submit an unfair or unbalanced piece.
Nationally syndicated radio talk show host, and Seminole alumnus, Rick Balou, warned before the Sugar Bowl: "Mark my words, if FSU wins this game and the national championship, investigative reporters are going to be parachuting into TallahasseeThey'll all have expense accounts, and they'll all have one mission: stay there in that town until you find a story."
So cinch up your chinstraps, boys and girls; they're coming at us again. It goes with the (Seminole) territory. At least this time we should be able to see them coming. The landscape is very brightly lit.
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