UPDATE: SEE BELOW.
That is a mouthful, to say the least, but it doesn't make the situation any less serious.
Mike Casazza has begun to tackle this controversy, but even before that was posted, we were receiving word from people that cover the team regularly were not happy about this exchange.
Here's the timeline:
- First, Tony Caridi sits in the front row of journalists, not a usual spot for him. He is usually towards the back.
- Stewart calls on Dave Hickman, who asks a question about the officiating, to which Stewart deadpans a joke.
- During the laughter, just after the 17 minute mark of this video (seen below), Stewart looks right at Caridi and very, very, VERY clearly mouths the words, "Ask me about kickoffs. Kickoffs." You can actually hear him say it on the video,
- Hickman continues with another unrelated question.
- Caridi asks "his" question about kickoffs.
- Stewart delivers what looks to be a very canned, rehearsed answer.
Don't believe me? Watch it for yourself.
[video courtesy of WV Illustrated]
I hate to inform Bill Stewart of this. but that's not how a press conference works. This also isn't a conspiracy theory, as it's plainly visible on the tape.
In press conferences at any level, it is common knowledge to ask on favored journalists for less than hard-hitting questions. Every elected official has done it at some point in time. But to very clearly (and secretly, or least an attempted secrecy) ask for a specific question from someone on the staff at Mountaineer Sports Network planted in the front row is disrespectful to both the other journalists in the room and the fans watching at home.
As I mentioned above, the other journalists are not happy about this, and can you blame them?
UPDATE: I have gotten numerous e-mails from readers asking me if Mike Casazza from the Daily Mail was my source. Nothing could be further from the truth. I understand the way I worded my sentence may insinuate that, but I assure you, that is not true. Sorry for the confusion.