Well, that was pretty awkward. Tennessee head coach Butch Jones finished up an otherwise normal media session by sounding off on the “negative” media today. He even dropped a “fake news” line.
Watch the ending here.
Here's the end to Butch Jones' press conference pic.twitter.com/8M9IOQdQWX— Saturday Down South (@SDS) September 25, 2017
This sounds like a man that’s under pressure. He knows it. Everyone knows it. Some of the quotes in here were shocking.
It all began with Jimmy Hyams addressing a rumor that Shy Tuttle’s injury was caused by a teammate. “Football is a an emotional game, it’s a competitive game. The injury was caused not by a teammate, he landed on a helmet. That’s the truth,” Jones said.
Tuttle missed the UMass game along with Jashon Robertson due to undisclosed injuries. Butch then closed with some scathing remarks directed towards the media in the very room that he was speaking in.
“What do we want out of our media,” Jones began. “This place with the drama — again — these are kids. We all have children and we are adults. Are we focused on Tennessee Football? From a recruiting standpoint — from all the positive things that we’ve done and all the positive things we bring to this community and this great fanbase. Are we in the reality world of TV?”
Jones continued, clearly frazzled. “I think all of us as human beings have to self-check ourselves. You may not like that answer, but I’m a father. I have three boys. I think we sometimes have to put ourselves in the role of a parent. I understand we all have jobs to do.”
“I’m the caretaker of Tennessee Football. I'm here to develop and grow the football program, recruit the best possible student-athletes to represent Tennessee and win football games and graduate our players. That's my responsibility. I take that very seriously. But also I love our kids and I'm going to protect our players and I’m going to protect our programs.”
“Sometimes the negativity is overwhelming.”
Jones continued, "if everyone is Vols fans, how do we let our opponents use this in the recruiting process with fake news? Sometimes, again, we have to check ourselves. What are we here for? What's our values and principals that guide our life every single day? And I appreciate everyone in this room.”
"You guys have a job to do, and I'm respectful of that. I'm friends with a lot of you guys in the room and I appreciate it, but there comes a certain time where enough is enough. Thank you. You guys have a great day. I look forward to seeing you on Wednesday and Go Vols."
The media members he directed this shot at... were less than thrilled.
Did anyone report an altercation between Shy Tuttle and a teammate? Is it Fake News or Fake Questions?— @GrantRamey (@GrantRamey) September 25, 2017
Coaches fighting with reporters need to know that they win or lose that argument with wins or losses on the field and nothing else.— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) September 25, 2017
What I never, ever understand is the embarrassing lack of self-awareness and insecurity some of these man-baby millionaire coaches have.— Travis Haney (@travhaney) September 25, 2017
This is a bad look for Butch. The media’s job isn’t to pump up a program and hide deficiencies. It’s to report the news and sometimes give their opinion. You can only control that with your performance on the football field. Unfortunately for Jones, that performance hasn’t been very good over the last two weeks.
Nobody wants to be negative. Okay, maybe some do. But I would certainly rather be writing about a football team that is coming off a win in the swamp and a convincing victory against UMass, but that’s not what we have here.
Only Butch can change the narrative here — and he’s certainly not going to do it standing behind a podium.