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Coach K and the Grassy Knoll

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has wandered off the reservation. In a Winston-Salem Journal article has asserted that there is some sort of media conspiracy against Duke. Here is the money quote:

"Wow, it's been sad," Krzyzewski said. "And I think it's been orchestrated. I not only think, I know it has been."

Krzyzewski's is complaining that the media has focused too much on the foul disparity situation, has refused to give Duke the proper credit for their success this season, and failed to acknowledge the play of Shelden Williams. His chief example of this media conspiracy is an apparent focus on whether or not Williams should have gotten his fifth foul at the end of the Florida State game. The article says the Krzyzewski refused to elaborate on the conspiracy or its source.

Wow! Has he lost his mind? First and foremost I think it is utterly improper for a coach of Krzyzewski's stature to go on record and accuse the media of bias against his team without bringing some serious evidence to the table. And let us be absolutely clear, he did simply imply media bias or suggest it as a possibilty. No, he said it is happening and he knows for a fact it is happening. Based on what evidence? If you know for a fact something is happening then why not present evidence to support the claim? It is grossly irresponsible for Krzyzewski to state as fact that he knows unequivocably media bias against his school exists and then refuse to name the source or beg off that he is attempting to start an inquiry. The idea that the media, in general, is biased against Duke just because of some poor coverage of one game or one player is absolutely ludicrous.

Perhaps someone should remind Krzyzewski that ESPN used every network they had to show the Duke-UNC game Saturday night. They had one network devoted to the Cameron Crazies. Do you see any other student sections getting a whole channel trained on them? Not to mention former Dukie Jay Bilas is a studio analyst for ESPN and Dick Vitale cannot stop gushing about how great Duke is. In fact one part of Saturday's coverage included footage of Duke honoring their seniors. Does anyone else benefit from that kind of coverage? Of course not, in fact had the game been at UNC, none of this journalistic orgasm by ESPN would have occurred.

And maybe Krzyzewski does not read the News and Observer but two weeks ago the paper devoted a front page story and Caulton Tudor's column to debunking the theory that Duke gets all the calls. In fact when Krzyzewski dodged the question in an ESPN interview the N&O sent a reporter to Durham to ask Krzyzewski questions about referee bias so he could save face for not addressing it on air. And if he is upset about Shelden Williams getting little to no credit(which is total garbage), maybe someone should remind him that J.J. Redick has been sucking all of the air out of the room all season long by breaking two scoring records and nearly leading the nation in scoring. If you want someone to blame for the failure to notice Williams, blame your star shooting guard. In fact it was wall to wall Redick over at the N&O during the weeks leading up to and following the record breaking games.

What makes this absolutely infuriating is Krzyzewski is acting like the rich man who when buying something at the grocery store complains he was overcharged 15 cents on the item. The goodwill that Duke enjoys in the media is an embarrassment. ESPN loves them, the News and Observer loves them, 850 the Buzz radio rarely has anything negative to say about them and afternoon host Adam Gold is a favorite of Krzyzewski and one of the only local media persons Krzyzewski will permit into his office for an interview.* Krzyzewski routinely shuts the media out and rarely gives them the time of day unlike his counterparts at UNC and NC State who have a weekly Q&A with the public. So for Krzyzewski to complain about the media given his behavior toward them is comical.

I heard it suggested last week that Krzyzewski had been dropping controversial comments on the record in an effort to deflect attention from his team and take some of the media pressure off of them. My first reaction was to dismiss it. Based on these comments I am going to have to rethink that. Given the attention Redick is getting, the criticism being leveled at Duke for their current woes, it is entirely possible that Krzyzewski knows exactly what he is doing. After all, Bobby Knight taught him everything he knows. Referee bashing and media manipulation were probably the first lessons he learned.

*Author's Note: Unlike Krzyzewski I do not make baseless charges without evidence and the relationship between Krzyzewski and Adam Gold is laid out in full, based on Gold's own words, in Will Blythe's new book: To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever.

Copyright 2006, BCB