Kirby Smart channels his inner Sean Spicer

University of Georgia football coach Kirby Smart is making news headlines and, once again, it stems from a souring relationship with the media.

Smart announced on Tuesday, per the Macon Telegraph, that the media will no longer be permitted to report injuries, both “non-contact jerseys [sic] and injuries seen in front of media,” until he signs off. Reporters are generally on the practice field for seven to 15 minutes per practice and, before the change, the policy was simply no phone calls and no social media posts from the field.

The new policy begins less than a week after Smart slammed the media…in a press conference. Online Athens reports that a freshman defensive back was injured during a practice in front of reporters. Several reporters wrote about the incident and Coach Smart followed with a vocal indication of his dissatisfaction:

“Well, considering I haven’t had a lot of time to talk to the trainers, but it’s nice to know that you guys have found it in your hearts to report it,” Smart said. “So his mom has to find out from you guys rather than from us, which upsets me a little bit to be honest with you. I don’t think it’s really fair.”

He then went on to say last week: “We’ll make some changes for you guys and try to handle that a little better from now on.”

A reporter from the Baton Rouge Advocate, George Morris, tweeted Tuesday that Smart should “close practice” if he does not want reporters to report what they see. He also inquired if members of the press covering UGA football were going to “kowtow to this edict, or are you going to do your jobs?”

DeadSpin speculated that local and regional reporters will be hit hardest by such a rule as their reporting is dependent upon quotes and interaction with players and coaches. National reporters will tweet and report uninterrupted and without repercussion, the site said.

There is also the public funding aspect of the argument, which puts Smart out of bounds considering the football facilities are on public university property.

The track record for Coach Smart is not good. He is responsible for the anti-transparency law, rightly named “Kirby’s Law,” which grants public universities in Georgia the ability to wait up to 90 days to respond to (not fulfill) Open Records Requests instead of three-day period like nearly every other entity in the state. While he did not “lobby” for the change, which happened in the final hours of the 2016 legislative session, lawmakers credited the change to his Kirby’s recruiting. This, after making headlines for trying to charge $13,000 and $30,000 for open records requests in an attempt to block the free flow of information two separate occasions.

The ORR law provides for the biggest window of response to ORR’s in the country and Kirby’s practice reporting policy is now one of the strictest in the country.

14 thoughts on “Kirby Smart channels his inner Sean Spicer”

  1. Is this a joke? Kirby Smart wanting to tell a hurt kid’s mother that her son is hurt before she reads it in the news paper is not part of your crazy open records request campaign? Geez. What a stretch.

    1. You really need to stop letting your personal problems with me get in the way of your ability to see (and read) clearly. It makes you look ridiculous.
      No where did I allude to the idea that this new policy has anything to do with Open Records Requests. In fact, I titled it to include Sean Spicer who, to no one’s suprise, has nothing to do with Open Records Request. The last paragraph simply mentions that Kirby Smart has had transparency issues before.
      Even more…I did not insert my opinion about the mothers or Kirby’s Law anywhere in the article.

      Stop trying to craft some conspiracy that I’m conspiring to make every article about open records conspiracies.

      1. “The ORR law provides for the biggest window of response to ORR’s in the country and Kirby’s practice reporting policy is now one of the strictest in the country.” That is literally the last line of your post. You brought it up. Not me. And yes, everything is a conspiracy with you.

        1. Yeah, you’re right. Totally a conspiracy that the sports community, of which I am not a part, is outraged by something someone I don’t follow said. You nailed it!

          The simple solution is the close practices to the press instead of trying to control the message. Saves everyone the hassle.
          I’ll wait for you to tell me the conspiracy of that as well. Though, after reading your comments for a while now, I’m not sure you understand the definition.

          1. You’re right. I’m not smart enough to understand that nearly every single post you make is somehow about ORR. Even one bout UGA football practices. It’s pretty tiresome, but you keep on making friends with small town judges and city council members by telling them that they are stupid. It seems to be working.

    2. If a kid sustains a significant injury or, God forbid, dies, at practice, I don’t think there’s a sports journalist in the world (and certainly not on the UGA beat) that would run that story before the coaching staff has a chance to talk to the kid’s parents. But that isn’t what Kirby is talking about.

      No mother under the sun is going to be traumatized by learning lil’ Johnny pulled a hamstring via Twitter and I can assure you (from my time as a beat writer for the football and basketball teams) the coaching staff does not call parents to update them on run of the mill injuries like some kind of daycare. This is Kirby trying to control information and trying to big time a bunch of beat writers that depend on the sports information office. He learned it from Saban, who learned it from Belichick. When Kirby has their resumes, maybe then he can start acting like God’s gift to Georgia football.

      1. I honestly care nothing about how Kirby runs his program or how he treats reporters. I would like to see a few more wins, but that will come. I’m simply tired of reading about ORR conspiracy theories. I’ll be scrolling past these in the future.

  2. Yeah, Kirby is a control freak, just like any other football coach. Closing practices is nothing, even though that’s probably where we’re headed unless someone from the top (ha!) reels him in. If coaches could monitor their players 24/7 they would.

    Senator Blutarsky pointed out that “treating the fan base as being on a strictly need to know basis isn’t the best way to encourage interest” but a lot of people will be fine with Kirby whatever he does, assuming sufficient wins.

    https://blutarsky.wordpress.com/2017/04/19/kirby-vs-the-media/

  3. I do not think Kirby is making any friends in the fan base or the media with his current interactions with the public. However, winning cures all. So I, for one, hope he can win. Just win, baby!

  4. This is all just weird to me. I grew up in one of the smallest media markets for both college and national football. Not much that went on in Green Bay, Madison or even the smaller Milwaukee, Oshkosh and Stevens Point areas sport wise where the public did not know who was hurt, injured, on the bench etc. It didn’t even need to make the local news and it was still all over the state by the next morning through the grapevine. Anyone can walk right up to the practice fence in Madison and watch. If they are on the field, anyone with a student or alumni ID can watch from the stands. You go to Green Bay and you can see the Packers walk or ride kids bikes across the Lambeau parking lot and Oneida Avenue to the enclosed Hudson Center or the practice fields beyond. They even have bleachers on the street side of the fence to watch the whole thing.

    Don’t get it…

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