Story/Photo By Ken Krayeske • 11:45 PM EST
Marqutte fans know how to needle the man. From Getty Images
Mainstream radio hosts are mostly not your friends. With an exception here or there, many of the most powerful voices on radio dial seem to have no interest in telling two sides of the story.
On the plus side, Chaz and AJ stepped it up this week with their operatta about Jim Calhoun, the loser of the week, and actually gave me 20 minutes of air time this morning on WPLR in New Haven. And on Monday, too. Uninterrupted - a miracle for these guys.
Monday and Tuesday, I appeared on a flurry of sports talk radio shows in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Chicago, Hartford (with Jason Page), Boston, Miami, San Antonio and nationally on ESPN with Brian Kenny and Chris Russo's satellite station, the B Team with Bruce Murray and Bill Pidto.
And as the week wore on, the media that continued to broadcast my story tended to be liberal, like today Joe Dupnik, on Storrs' own WHUS, gave me almost 45 minutes on his show Festive Intoxications. Tonday Cenk Uygur with the Young Turks and Dave Zirin on the Edge of Sports, both satellite and internet venues, offered me an opportunity to speak.
It seems Calhoun has more friends in radioland, though. For example, Brad Davis has been trouncing me all week. So has Dan Lovallo. Has either bothered to call me for comment? No. I called the Brad Davis show this morning, and the gruff man who answered said I needed to talk to the producer. I left a message, and have yet to hear back. I doubt I will.
Mike and Mike in the Morning, ESPN's nationally syndicated show, has been beating me up all week. Did they bother to call me? No. I contacted their producer today, because I feel like I should have an opportunity for fair comment. He said he would get back to me.
Mike Francesa on WFAN has been pounding on me this week too. Afternoon sports radio fan Mike Francesa gave Calhoun free run of WFAN 50,000 watts Friday afternoon. Francesa didn't call me for comment - yet I'm not a journalist and Francesa is?
According to the Courant, Calhoun had an afternoon media day. He said to Francesa in particular:
"I would have liked to have had maybe a statement come out of our athletic department at a particular point in time," he said. "And I think the earlier the better, simply saying that 'Coach may have been a little too harsh on the individual, yet he's our guy.'
"I'm a man, I think, of some principle. I have worked exceptionally hard to try to give back as much as I can to the community. But I want to determine how I give my money back."
Over the years, he has given time and money to several charities, such as the cardiology center at the UConn Health Center.
Calhoun also addressed the issue with the local media.
"This has been, for me, including this week, a real fun year to coach my basketball team, which is what I do and want to continue to do, wherever it may be," he said. "But I like coaching kids, and I particularly like coaching this group."
He said there has been support.
"Sen. Lieberman and all those other phone calls from around the country — from the head of the NCAA, all the other various people — that's all I've really needed," said Calhoun, a cancer survivor. "Quite frankly, all I've really needed was to go home and see [wife] Pat and my kids and look at [UConn players]. ... There have been other difficult times, much more difficult than this, trust me. When someone says you have a particular disease, that's a tough thing.
"I'll continue to stand up for the fact that I love the state and love the university, and I will continue to try to go forward to try to help people in the way that I feel is best."
So this explains almost everything I need to know: Sen. Lieberman thinks it okay to berate a reporter on national television and not pay a price. And reporters are willing to let Lieberman walk.
The mainstream media, like Sports Illustrated, get Calhoun's back instead. This story by Andy Staples argues that Calhoun is worth it because he has such a profit margin. Staples compares Calhoun to Steve Ballmer of Microsoft and Barack Obama. Hardly accurate comparisons, but what do I know.
When Staples mentions a seventh grade teacher in Miami, he fails to take into account that the University of Connecticut currently lacks a dean of students, and that my professors at the School of Law are being furloughed for eight day clips. They are being asked to give something back.
And because this directly impacts the intellectual structure of the school, and because Calhoun is a member of the same union - the American Association of University Professors - that is being furloughed, we have to wonder if double standards exist and why they exist.
This is the discussion we need to have - and we are having it. So hooray for us. But I think that powerful persons in the media are stacking the deck in Calhoun's favor. And people wonder why I called the media out.