For the Sake of Journalistic Integrity, Will the Tri-Cities Sports Media Please Ask These Questions at the Next George Quarles Press Conference?

Marky Billson
7 min readOct 22, 2023

They’ve become nothing but apologists for a losing program.

Marky Billson

I cannot imagine a more irresponsible mainstream media than those who cover the East Tennessee State Buccaneers.

“Kid gloves” does not even begin to describe the treatment the Buccaneers receive in the media. The ETSU football and men’s basketball teams have gone from being big winners to big losers seemingly overnight, yet mainstream media commentary about their demise has been practically non-existent.

It begins with the fact there are no mainstream sports opinion makers in Johnson City.

There are no sports columnists in the Johnson City Press. If you’ll excuse my patting myself on the back, now that I’m not on the air the local radio sports talk show hosts often refuse to comment on local issues, preferring to offer opinion on national topics they have no influence over.

Television has reduced the local sportscast to such a scant amount of time commentaries have become a thing of the past. Besides, commentaries on local television sportscasts always seemed reserved for larger markets than the Tri-Cities.

The sports website doesn’t provide reliable ETSU coverage. They’ve written three stories on the Buccaneers this year, ignoring major stories such as the men’s basketball coaching change.

The Bristol Herald-Courier’s ETSU coverage has improved since Brian Woodson became sports editor. Though he doesn’t cover most away games (standard budget reduction at newspapers these days), Woodson is on hand at press conferences and home games.

But prior to his arrival five years ago from the Bluefield Daily Telegraph the BHC hadn’t put a beat writer on ETSU since Brian T. Smith left 15 years ago.