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Gibbs Fires WTEM

Feb 12, 2005, 2:46 AM EDT

From the same Post article quoted above:

The team also announced that Gibbs will answer questions from fans Tuesday from 6 to 7 p.m. on WJFK-FM. Gibbs conducted a weekly show on WTEM-AM during the 2004 season, but was unhappy with recent comments made about him by its hosts and is not expected to continue his relationship with the station. Gibbs said during his most recent news conference that he is considering alternative avenues to interact directly with fans.

So it appears that Gibbs has fired The Team’s Steve Czaban and Andy Pollin as hosts of his call-in show. It’s unclear exactly what one or both of them said to provoke this action by Gibbs, but the best guess is that it was Czaban speculating, or passing along and discussing speculation, that Gibbs may have come back to the Redskins strictly for the money.

I caught Czaban in the middle of discussing Gibbs on his show on Fox Sports Radio this morning. Right when I tuned him in he was saying something about the coming back for the money thing was something he talked about because it was a topic that was on other peoples’ minds. He then went into an analogy about how Gibbs was the dad that nobody ever thought would come back, but he did.

I’m probably in a minority among Redskins fans in that I like Czaban and Pollin. I’ve been on the Sports Reporters a few times and they’ve been very generous in giving me air time to promote my books. Last fall I was in the studio with them for an hour and a half and they were extremely cordial and, in the course of conversation, they revealed themselves to be real Redskins fans. Still, I do think that they, particularly Czaban, say some things that are out of line sometimes and speculating that Gibbs was in it for the money certainly was outrageous, whether or not others were talking about it.

Was it OK for Gibbs to jettison his radio show with Czaban and Pollin because he didn’t like what they said about him, outside of the context of the show? Keep in mind that it’s not certain that the move was made in reaction to the “in it for the money” thing. It may have been that one comment, it may have been an accumulation of things that they said.

No matter what it was, while Gibbs certainly is free to be on whatever radio show he wants, it’s a bit disturbing that he bailed on WTEM for the stated reason. The incident could have a chilling effect on interviews and reporters who cover the team. Extreme softball could become the game of the day as far as the media is concerned, out of fear of losing access. Imagine coverage like this:

Interviewer: Coach, great call on that second and four in the third quarter. How did you know that play would gain five?

TV Anchor: And, next in sports, the big Redskins news–Joe Gibbs’ grandson gets a puppy for his birthday.

Stay tuned.

  1. mbarnes202 - Feb 13, 2005 at 1:26 PM

    I’ve not heard the WTEM show, but, I think it’s perfectly acceptable for Gibbs to do this. I don’t believe his weekly radio shows and TV appearances are required under his contract, he has official Redskin Press Conferences that he is likely required to conduct; if an accredited journalist has a question for Gibbs, even a difficult one, he or she may pose it at the Press Conference. Frankly, all I really want is for Gibbs to Coach. Everything else is secondary.

  2. mbarnes202 - Feb 13, 2005 at 5:26 PM

    I’ve not heard the WTEM show, but, I think it’s perfectly acceptable for Gibbs to do this. I don’t believe his weekly radio shows and TV appearances are required under his contract, he has official Redskin Press Conferences that he is likely required to conduct; if an accredited journalist has a question for Gibbs, even a difficult one, he or she may pose it at the Press Conference. Frankly, all I really want is for Gibbs to Coach. Everything else is secondary.

  3. oneampoet - Feb 14, 2005 at 2:52 PM

    Rich…

    I agree with you on everything I’ve read on your blog except this.

    Gibbs can take criticism regarding his coaching and his decision making as it relates to the Redskins. What Czaban did was attack his character, and if we know one thing about Coach Gibbs, it is that character is what counts with him.

  4. oneampoet - Feb 14, 2005 at 6:52 PM

    Rich…

    I agree with you on everything I’ve read on your blog except this.

    Gibbs can take criticism regarding his coaching and his decision making as it relates to the Redskins. What Czaban did was attack his character, and if we know one thing about Coach Gibbs, it is that character is what counts with him.

  5. Doug - Feb 14, 2005 at 4:41 PM

    Oneampoet, you’re right. Rich, you blew it on this one.

  6. Doug - Feb 14, 2005 at 8:41 PM

    Oneampoet, you’re right. Rich, you blew it on this one.

  7. Rich Tandler - Feb 14, 2005 at 6:37 PM

    I’m not saying that Gibbs doesn’t have the right to do this or even that it was the wrong thing to do.

    All I’m saying is that an unintended consequences of this may be a chilling effect on coverage of Gibbs and the team. Interviewers will tred a little more lightly, not knowing where the line is that will get them cut off.

    I don’t think that a team’s fans are well served by either extreme of coverage. When it’s overly adverserial, the truth doesn’t come out because it’s an us against them mentality. When it’s too cozy or nervous, the truth doesn’t come out because the right questions are never asked.

  8. Rich Tandler - Feb 14, 2005 at 10:37 PM

    I’m not saying that Gibbs doesn’t have the right to do this or even that it was the wrong thing to do.

    All I’m saying is that an unintended consequences of this may be a chilling effect on coverage of Gibbs and the team. Interviewers will tred a little more lightly, not knowing where the line is that will get them cut off.

    I don’t think that a team’s fans are well served by either extreme of coverage. When it’s overly adverserial, the truth doesn’t come out because it’s an us against them mentality. When it’s too cozy or nervous, the truth doesn’t come out because the right questions are never asked.

  9. mbarnes202 - Feb 16, 2005 at 11:37 PM

    I have to disagree, Rich. All Gibbs was asking was for the reporter to do some basic background research before making those comments– that’s a basic principal of journalistic professionalism.

    I actually think the “soft” media (basically, non-print) already is way too loose with their stories– even Mortenson and others at ESPN sometimes publish “rumours” that inflame situations rather than reporting on reliable facts.

    Hopefully, this rebuke will get WTEM to be more careful with their reporting, this is not a bad thing.

    Mike

  10. mbarnes202 - Feb 17, 2005 at 3:37 AM

    I have to disagree, Rich. All Gibbs was asking was for the reporter to do some basic background research before making those comments– that’s a basic principal of journalistic professionalism.

    I actually think the “soft” media (basically, non-print) already is way too loose with their stories– even Mortenson and others at ESPN sometimes publish “rumours” that inflame situations rather than reporting on reliable facts.

    Hopefully, this rebuke will get WTEM to be more careful with their reporting, this is not a bad thing.

    Mike

  11. Rich Tandler - Feb 17, 2005 at 7:33 AM

    Well, I’m clearly in the minority here, perhaps a minority of one. We will see how it turns out. He wasn’t exactly grilled by Larry Michael the other night, but that’s to be expected from the play by play.

  12. Rich Tandler - Feb 17, 2005 at 11:33 AM

    Well, I’m clearly in the minority here, perhaps a minority of one. We will see how it turns out. He wasn’t exactly grilled by Larry Michael the other night, but that’s to be expected from the play by play.

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