Steve Spurrier tries to oust columnist, but ultimately fails

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Steve Spurrier didn’t win this one after all.

South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier apparently didn’t like or appreciate how one local columnist was treating him and his program. The writer in question is Ron Morris of The State newspaper, and Ron Morris was told by the newspaper’s management not to write about Steve Spurrier’s program again and was removed from covering South Carolina.

It seems to me that Ron Morris was just doing his job as a columnist. And what columnists do is opine and criticize. My belief is that if you are anyone who is in the public eye — high school or college or professional athletes, politicians on any level of government, etc. — then you are opening yourself up to being written about either negatively or positively.

But thankfully, cooler heads have prevailed and internet reports say that Ron Morris has been reinstated to basically write whatever he wants — even if that’s on South Carolina football and Steve Spurrier.

What went down? From what I’ve gathered Steve Spurrier thought Ron Morris was being too harsh. In fact, I read online in The Sporting News that Steve Spurrier once delayed the start of a press conference because Ron Morris was still in the room. Steve Spurrier didn’t start said presser until Ron Morris left.

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The same online publication said the paper hired Glenn Snyder, who has close ties to Steve Spurrier. Basically one report called Glenn Snyder a “superfan,” which you can argue sportswriters and broadcasters are becoming more of now.

Is it a worry about access? Some local broadcasters in Chicago were fawning over the Bears’ season opening victory last week. Other writers heap their marshmallow praise on college programs like Northwestern University and its coach Pat Fitzgerald, whether it is warranted or not.

To me, this Ron Morris/Steve Spurrier incident just proves how crazy folks in the SEC are about their football. And, to a more concerning extent, how powerful football coaches can be sometimes.

Ron Morris was removed (and then reinstated) to his job because the coach of the football program he was assigned to cover didn’t like what Ron Morris was writing.

It reminds me of a quote from a 30-for-30 documentary that I saw a few times on the SMU football scandal and ensuing death penalty. Brent Musburger said to the effect, “Once the local media turns its guns on you, you’re finished.”

Ron Morris could have been trying to turn on Steve Spurrier, but not to tear down a man or a program. He was trying to do his job the right way. It’s a shame that Ron Morris got in trouble for doing what many journalists are supposed to be doing in the first place, but are increasingly avoiding.

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