The Stinkin’ Media!

Marky Billson
5 min readSep 8, 2023

Usually that’s said when it’s suggested the media is too critical. But when covering ETSU, the media isn’t critical enough.

Marky Billson

“What do we want from our media?”

Former Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones asked this at a press conference early in the 2017 season when asked about the criticism he was receiving.

Jones’ line was outrageous. He was the coach, not an editor. The moment an entity controls the media that covers them journalism is replaced by propaganda.

And while it isn’t uncommon for a public figure to try to control how media covers them, it’s the responsibility of the media to not allow them to do so.

Historically the media covering ETSU has been compliant, and that is likely a reason for the Buccaneers’ demise.

There are no newspaper columnists writing about ETSU sports. Now that I’m not on the air there’s little discussion of the Bucs on local sports talk radio and none of it critical.

Sure, there’s social media, but it tends to be fanboy and simply doesn’t have the scope of traditional media.

Neither does a blog like this or podcast.

Without being held accountable by the mainstream media, it is far more likely for ETSU to be allowed to fail, whether it is hiring the wrong coach or, in a previous era, dropping football and getting kicked out of the Southern Conference.

But one wonders how much the media covering East Tennessee State believes this. Perhaps it isn’t being controlled outright, but in reviewing George Quarles’ first two press conferences, it is hardly probing.

The first press conference came only a few days after athletic director Richard Sander had decried that if ETSU athletes enter the transfer portal, they would not be allowed to return.

Considering the Bucs have five football players who returned to the team from the portal this season, including starting quarterback Tyler Riddell and leading wide receiver Will…