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Where is the love, coach?

By Jeffery Armstrong

Every year, I am constantly amazed by the way many head coaches in sports conduct themselves in their weekly press conferences.

Coaches like the Dallas Cowboys' head man Bill Parcells and Texas Tech University basketball coach Bobby Knight can't go more than five minutes without berating a reporter or two who asks questions they don't like.

As a member of the media, I'm frankly sick of this mess.

I admit that some media members approach coaches after games, especially losses, and ask some stinging questions. They may not give the coaches time to calm down and think of a politically correct answer as to why their team played terribly that afternoon or night. So every once in a while, a coach may have the right to get upset with an insensitive reporter during the heat of the moment.

But there is absolutely, positively no excuse for coaches to become evil at mid-week press conferences that happen days after the game is over. That's enough time to get over the loss (on the surface) and speak well with reporters, who are only trying to inform readers about the team's progress.

Already this season in the NFL, Atlanta Falcons head coach Jim Mora Jr. and Parcells have gotten attitudes with the media at press conferences. Parcells is absolutely the worst.

I guess being a Super Bowl-winning coach entitles Parcells to say whatever he wants to people. It's pretty wild. This is a man who just said his team was "too stupid" after their blowout loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. So if he will say that about his own football team, he will definitely curse a reporter or two who says something he may not like.

And what makes it worse for a sports writer, especially one like myself who doesn't like being disrespected, is that if you challenge Parcells about the way he's speaking to you, he's liable to cancel the press conference and walk away. If that happens, then the other writers and TV reporters that are present will get upset because their day's stories have ended abruptly.

What irritates me about Parcells is that reporters and writers are asking him fair questions that relate to football. Cowboys starting quarterback Vinny Testaverde has not been great this year (just like I predicted to my best friend who lives in Dallas) and is a significant reason why those jokers are 3-5 right now. So some writers have asked Parcells if he will ever pull Testaverde for either of the two young backup quarterbacks on the team. That's a fair question but Parcells acts like he's insulted and starts spewing venom for darn near the rest of the press conference.

Every time he conducts a press conference, Parcells always berates the media and it bothers me. The Dallas sports reporters are only trying to do their jobs and collect information that the fans who pay his salary deserve to hear and/or see in print. Any reporter who covers collegiate or professional sports deserves the respect of these head coaches. Writers and TV reporters work very hard to get info to the public and these coaches need to develop a thick skin and move on.

Jeffery Armstrong is a sports writer for the Daily and his column appears on Thursdays. He can be reached at jarmstrong@news-daily.com .