They say you
have to have thick skin to survive in this business, and after 12
years on the job I'm just now starting to see exactly why.
I had a big smile on my face following East Carolina's win over
SMU on Saturday. As an alumnus of ECU, I take great pride in
seeing the Pirates win on the football field. That smile was wiped away
when a friend asked me if I had a chance to read the message
board on "Boneyard Banter." A website dedicated to ECU fans. Let's just
say that some Pirate fans don't think too highly of my ability as
a commentator on the ECU television broadcasts. Granted,
everyone has a right to their opinion and I am all for freedom of
speech, but I have to say the words "idiot" and "moron" have a
way of smacking you right in the mouth.
Yes, I know, I'm a "public figure" and fans say they have a right to
criticize the product put on the air. I agree 100 percent. I've
criticized a number of public figures in my day. Then again it was for
things like an NFL player shooting a pregnant girlfriend or a major
league baseball player disgracing the game by taking performance
Some of my critics have a problem with the fact that I am not a former
college or NFL football player. These are the same people that
constantly rip the broadcasting ability of ECU radio color analyst
Carlester Crumpler and he's third on ECU's all-time career rushing list.
Others (New Bern Sun Journal Sports Reporter Jeremy Slayton) find much
more important things to gripe about. In a recent newspaper article
Slayton writes "Anything would be better than hearing WITN sports
director Billy Weaver use the term "lowering the headgear" over and
over again during an ECU broadcast."
Let me go on record as saying I would NEVER publicly criticize one of
my colleagues. But according to many of the same ECU fans that
criticize me seemingly on a weekly basis, Slayton ranks ahead of me on
the "Most Hated List" of media members. Seems as though ECU fans took
exception to rest of his article, particularly the part where Slayton
suggested WITN show the ECU-SMU game on tape delay so that he can have
the privilege of watching the USC-Notre Dame game from the comfort of
his couch. Of course he had nothing better to do on Saturday since he
didn't make the trip to Dallas to cover the game.
Just goes to show you what goes around comes around. Now I know why
former ECU football coach Steve Logan never read the sports page,
internet websites or watched sports programming on television during
Some ECU fans actually appreciate the job WITN does in televising ECU
football. David and Shirley Martin actually went as far as writing me a
letter saying "Just wanted to thank you and Jeff and WITN-7 for your
coverage of ECU sports, particularly football. The ECU-SMU game was
outstanding with a victory in Dallas. We look forward to all the games
that are broadcast on radio and television. Thank you for making them
available to us."
Despite the criticism, I will continue to do my best on every ECU
broadcast for as long as I'm allowed. I'm an ECU fan and this is the
best job in the world!