Content available exclusively for subscribers
One way to keep the media off your back is to play ball with them.
Give them stuff.
It’s not just in sports, it’s in politics and other areas.
To use a fancy term, it’s called quid pro quo.
Quid pro quo is a Latin term meaning “something for something.”
I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine.
Joe Benigno pulled back the curtain a little bit for the uninitiated, talking about a texting conversation with Robert Saleh.
“I can tell you right now, he don’t like Zach,” Joe Benigno would say on Monday.
Benigno went on to talk about a texting conversation he had with the coach. Benigno said he had texted the coach the team should start Zach Wilson again.
“He texted me back — and he might get mad at me for this, but I don’t care,” Benigno said on the air Monday. “He texted me back and said, ‘Joe, about No. 3’ — which was playing Wilson — ‘Are you kidding me?’ It might have been, ‘Are you serious?’”
Benigno is now backtracking saying he misinterpreted the coach, and the coach was just getting on the host about going back and forth on the issue. First he wanted Wilson benched and now he wants him back.
Most writers getting stuff from a coach, would never out a text conversation like this. They understand how to use the stuff without giving up their sources. The long-time fan-turned-host, clearly doesn’t understand the game, or at least he didn’t, when he blurted out what he did on the radio show.
But what Saleh is doing with some reporters and hosts is really smart. Give them stuff, and they will support you.
After establishing a relationship with Bengino, and even golfing with him, Benigno went from being a Saleh detractor to a fan.
If you recall, the writers never turned on Adam Gase, during his two years as coach. Why? He gave them stuff, and would often come over and have off-the-record chats during practice, when his assistant coaches were conducting individual drills with their position groups.
It’s smart. For years, Brian Cashman kept the media off his back by being very accessible for background information on Yankee moves.
In the last couple of years, he’s stopped doing that, so the media heat has been turned up on him.
So you see how this works.
Reporters don’t rip their sources.
So if you want to keep people off your back, give them stuff.
But Saleh got burned by playing ball with a guy who broke the rules of the game.
I’m not going to act holier than thou, but I stay away from this quid pro quo world. I don’t want to be swayed by relationships and information gifts from people I cover.
“He’s a tremendous guy,” Benigno said about Saleh. “You can’t be a nicer guy than Saleh.”
What does that have to do with how we judge him as a coach?
I am sick of reporters talking bout how nice players or coaches are, and then letting that impact their coverage.
Or letting being fed scoops impact their coverage.
Just calls balls and strikes man.
As Bill Parcells always says, “You are what your record says it is.”
And as Robert Saleh likes to say, “Make the main thing the main thing.
The main thing is winning games, not winning over reporters by giving them your cell phone number.
December 6, 2023
Premium will return by 9:30 pm on Thursday.