Syracuse Orange basketball coach Jim Boeheim was understandably upset following his team's 66-58 loss to the Connecticut Huskies Wednesday night, but he seems to have chosen a shocking outlet upon whom to vent his frustrations.
According to Fox Sports' Peter Schrager, Boeheim unloaded on ESPN's Andy Katz in his postgame press conference, calling the broadcaster an "idiot," among other things:
Peter Schrager @PSchrags
Jim Boeheim to Andy Katz: "I will answer anyone's question but yours, because you are an idiot. And a disloyal person."2/14/2013, 2:57:48 AM
You can listen to the full audio of Boeheim lashing out at Katz here, courtesy of WAER Sports.
One could easily chalk this up to a frustrated coach misdirecting his anger at one person. After all, Syracuse came into the game the No. 6 team in the country and had just lost to a bitter (and unranked) rival.
However, that does not seem to be the case here. Schrager was told by sources that Boeheim's rage toward Katz stemmed from ESPN sharing what he thought was off-the-record information about James Southerland:
Peter Schrager @PSchrags
I'm told by "in the know" sources that Katz irked Boeheim by sharing info JB believed was off the record on the air re: James Southerland.2/14/2013, 3:04:00 AM
The Orange forward had been suspended indefinitely in January due to academics, but returned against St. John's on Sunday. Katz wrote extensively about Southerland shortly thereafter, saying he "has let down his teammates and the [coaching] staff." He also mentioned on ESPN that Southerland admitted the issue merely concerned two paragraphs in a paper he wrote, per Syracuse.com's Jason Murray.
Regardless of why exactly he was deemed "disloyal," Katz did not exactly seem fazed by the events. According to WAER Sports' Twitter feed, Katz insinuated that his loyalties should lie with his employer, not Syracuse University:
WAER Sports @WAERSports
.@ESPNAndyKatz response to the press room crowd: last time I checked I wasn't getting paid by Syracuse U2/14/2013, 2:43:16 AM
Meanwhile, ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz offered the following in a statement to USA Today Sports:
Andy Katz is one of the industry's best reporters, who is extremely professional and respected. He doesn't know exactly what led to that reaction from Coach Boeheim, who hasn't spoken to Andy since December 2011.
Based on reading the tea leaves, it seems like we're headed for another "on-record and off-the-record" debate. That phenomenon has been a source of contention between reporters and players dating back to the inception of sports reporting (and all forms of media in general).
Boeheim seems to feel Katz violated the trust of someone at Syracuse, while Katz obviously feels otherwise. No matter whose side you ultimately fall on, it's unlikely we've heard the last of this story.