Feb 22, 2011, 9:00 AM EDT
There has been plenty of negative backlash for the way that Rick Stansbury has handled the Renardo Sidney situation. I ripped him back in January over the comments he made regarding his handling of the fight out in Hawaii, and I wasn’t the only one.
But for Rick Cleveland, a columnist for the Clarion Ledger, the tipping point came after Mississippi State’s win over Ole Miss on Saturday. You see, Sidney has been off-limits to reporters since the fight heard ’round the world. That fact didn’t change on Saturday, despite Sidney being allowed to interview with the SEC Network after the win:
As always, Sidney was requested for post-game interviews by local TV and print media. The request was denied, we were told, because the university wants to protect Sidney. State basketball publicist Gregg Ellis made the announcement and a argument, quite heated, ensued.You mean, we asked, you escorted him to do an interview on regional TV, but he can’t go before tape recorders and notepads of the people who regularly cover the team?
As you might imagine, this ticked off the reporters in the room:
The SEC Network wasn’t going to ask about the fight with the former team captain in Hawaii or the re-tweeting of teammate Ravern Johnson’s critical tweets more recently.Those are questions Mississippi reporters have wanted to ask for weeks. Obviously, State doesn’t trust Sidney to answer in a way that won’t embarrass either him or the school. Too bad. The reason Sidney has the problems he has now is because he has always been treated as someone special. He has been coddled and not held accountable.
At some point, he has to stand up, be a man, talk like a man. And act like a guy who is 21 years old, which he turned in December.
Cleveland is 100% right.
Stansbury is just the newest in a long line of enablers that have turned Renardo Sidney from a kid that was once considered the best prospect in his class into an out-of-shape, entitled, and selfish punk.
But at this point, Stansbury has no choice but to coddle Sidney. His success, and his future, as the head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs is completely intertwined with Sidney. He cannot afford to have this young man embarrass the program and the school again, so he has no choice but to shield him.
Everything about this situation reeks of self-preservation. Stansbury knows that he has to sink-or-swim with Sidney.
Its just a shame that he, too, has to further enable Sidney and reinforce all of the negative sides of Sidney’s character.
Stansbury has made his bed. Now he has to sleep in it.
I’m just not sure I understand how he can sleep at night.
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