It's only the first press conference and Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen is already fed up with his media.
Here's the exchange (thanks to the Clarion Ledger for the video):
"Tobias Smith and Nickoe Whitley, how much are they able to do here in preseason camp?" a reporter asks.
Mullen shrugs, says something quietly.
Reporter continues: "Completely or are they able to do everything?"
"They're working. They're working," Mullen says. "We don't talk about injuries."
"So they're injured?" the reporter asks.
"No," Mullen replies.
Then other reporters start chiming in about the health of the two players and Mullen gets up and throws a hissy fit about the line of questioning.
"I've got a lot to do and you guys know we have a policy on injuries," Mullen says walking out of the room.
One of the reporters said he just wants his questions answered and that seems to irk Mullen even more.
"We have a policy on injuries, man," Mullen says. "We're really busy. You know the policy, sorry. Come back when you want to ask some questions. It's a policy. It's pretty simple, right?"
As Mullen starts to walk out like a petulant child, a reporter shouts a question to him and Mullen replies: "Are you going to have real questions or no?"
Reporter: "What's a real question?"
Mullen goes on to explain his policy about no discussing injuries and then threatens to end all interviews through the rest of fall camp.
None of the reporters specifically asked about injuries, right? One asked about what two players could do and Mullen volunteered — and later took back — information that they were injured. But somehow, the reporters violated his policy? And then to throw a fit about it, walk out of the room and threaten to end all interviews for the rest of camp?
C'mon Mullen, be better than that.
And what, coach Mullen, exactly is a real question? People want to know about what's going on at camp and that includes what Whitley and Smith happen to be doing. That's a real question.
And before people start complaining about reporters knowing the policy, it's the first day. Sometimes things need to be reiterated. Part of the deal. And for those who think the media antagonized Mullen, how many of you read newspapers, websites, message boards, etc., looking for this kind of information? It's a reporter's job to ask those questions.
Look, I don't begrudge the guy for having a policy about discussing injuries. Many coaches have the same. It's a safety thing. You don't want an opposing team targeting a player's injury. But the posturing and threats are stupid. Say you don't discuss injuries, reiterate your policy and move on to the next question. Don't walk out of the room and act like that one question is some inconvenience on your life. It's the first day of a very long season especially if Mississippi State has a similar year to last year. Then he'll long for the days when someone was asking him how much a certain player is able to do in a workout.
This just makes Mullen look a jerk.
- Sports & Recreation