Mariotti vs. Guillen, now it's my turn to give an opinion!

Hondo S. Carpenter

There is an element in the Ozzie Guillen vs. Jay Mariotti debate that I don’t get and it bothers me. I am a member of the media. True at heart, I’m a fan and I think that actually gives me an advantage. I have had so many very well respected journalists in TV, Radio and print tell me that they wish that they were able to cover sports from the perspective that my television station allows me to, and I recognize how blessed and fortunate I am.

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Most people get into this field because they love sports. They get sold a line of crap that journalists have to maintain a line of: NEUTRALITY AND LACK OF BIAS! That is the biggest lie ever perpetuated in the media.

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I talked with Chris Berman of ESPN about this at the Super Bowl and he agreed that there’s nothing wrong with being fan as long as you are fair. I don’t hide being critical, I am. At the same time I continue to go to everything because I feel it’s a moral obligation to be at stuff. I talk to players or coaches when I’m critical. I don’t run, and even tell them why I feel that way. The fact is that you can be critical and not attack people. I’m getting to the Mariotti/Guillen thing, trust me.

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Let’s look at MSU football. When head coach John L. Smith finished his spring football news conference, he and I left together in the elevator. I told him that in my opinion this team had to reach 8 wins or there had to be changes. I am not going to tell you what he said or the ebb and flow of the conversation because that was not a news conference and that would be unfair to him. I LIKE JOHN L. SMITH. I believe this team will get to 8 wins. That said, he knows how I feel, but he also knows that I respect him. I think that last seasons’ MSU basketball team was a very big disappointment. I said it then and now, but I don’t hide that I admire Tom Izzo, and think that he has earned the right to have some disappointment. Clearly if you look at his career up to this point and pick any active coach and compare that same period in their career he’s one of the best, period! My point is that being critical doesn’t have to cross the line.

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With that said let me now talk about the Mariotti/Guillen situation. I have met Jay Mariotti on 4 occasions. I can’t stand him. I don’t like anything about him. People who know me will tell you that I genuinely like people and there are very few people I dislike. He is one of only two people in the media that I don’t like. What Guillen said however was absolutely unacceptable. If he has issues with Mariotti then he should address him, and by all accounts - and with the folks in Chicago I have talked to – Mariotti is never around to be addressed.

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I think that the media that cover sports have an obligation to be at the events, to see the people that they cover and to be accessible for the things that they say or print. I have had people vehemently disagree with me before at events for comments I had made on TV or radio, and for thought put out on Spartan Nation. Hey that’s all right, I’m a big boy. To some of their credit, I was totally wrong and said so. That said, when you look at this situation, Guillen should have been a man and not resulted to slurs, and Mariotti should be a man and go to the clubhouse. I guess the whole thing comes down to two people that needed to act like men.

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