Iowa CITY, Ia. - Believe it or not, I never expected or intended to be news on Tuesday. I've gotten plenty of messages calling BS on that notion and accusing me of looking to sell subscriptions and generate hits on the site.
I learned a long time ago and try to teach my children that people are going to say and think what they want to say and think. We can't control that. That's never been more true than it is today with the internet and its social networks.
I also don't want to make more out of this situation than it is or was. That's not my intent here.
I'm writing this as an explanation or my side of what happened when I asked Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz questions on Tuesday that elicited a story about my motives. The topic was an accusation from his former receiver, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, that the player was being black listed in the NFL by the coach.
I'm not trying to win anyone over here. I just want to share my thought process. It's posted on my message boards, but I'm figuring some folks will be staying clear of those with their perception of me as a Hawkeye "hater."
Derrell came to me with the accusation that Ferentz black listed him with the NFL and that he was hearing it from sources in the league. I guess I could have ignored it. I think those of you out there that have a negative opinion of Derrell would have done that.
As a journalist/reporter/media member/whatever, it raised a red flag. The kid is accusing a respected coach of submarining him. So, I looked into it (this started more than a month ago). I find in the Iowa media guide that 75 of 82 senior starters from '02-'09 at least got in a camp. I'm not going to name guys who got a look that surprised me. I will say that Derrell not getting a shot did.
So, I make multiple calls over weeks to Derrell's agent. What did you hear from the NFL? Do you think Derrell's accusations against Kirk are legit? He never responded.
At that point, it's time to ask Kirk to respond to the accusations. I wanted to do that the last few weeks in the secondary press conference. Those used to be where you could approach more sensitive topics with the coach.
The "on The Side" portions of the press conference have been shortened up and it's very hard to get in your inquiries. We've been told by sports information to ask what you need in the main press conference because we might not get them in in the extra session.
I've been asked what I was hoping to accomplish by asking Ferentz for his side. What did I expect him to say? The answer is that I did not know what the response would be and that's why I asked.
I can't just not ask a question because I didn't think I was going to get the answer I wanted. I did not know how he would respond.
Yes, I figured there would be tension because of the subject matter. But coach could have said "I'm not talking about it. I'm concentrating on my current team. What Derrell is saying doesn't concern me." Again, I could have just ignored Derrell's charge. If people dismiss him because of his past here, that's there prerogative. As a reporter, I'm trying to find if there is or isn't a story there.
Kirk answered my questions in the main press conference. I was done. He pursued me into the secondary press conference. He said it was a stupid question and came at me through a crowd.
Please read my story again, if you would. I did not go in there as a representative of Derrell. I went in to pursue the other side of a potential story. If you read my story, you'll see that's what I did. It wasn't an opinion piece.
You don't have to believe me, but I had absolutely no intention of becoming part of the story or in having a confrontation with the coach. Maybe it was inevitable with the line of questioning, but I think this would be less about me and coach if he would have let it go after the main press conference.
I wish it would have ended there. I had what I needed for my story. I wish that was the focus and not the video of me asking questions that's out there.
The story is Derrell saying his coach sabotaged him and the coach responding by saying the reason was the player was not good enough to overcome his off field transgressions. That's what I wrote.