Mossman Prophecies No. 002
July 2, 2007
It is tempting to write about Jackie Dubois and Jacob
Gutierrez even though you don't really care. None
of you ever said so directly to me, but the decision-makers
in newsrooms across the country conveyed the message
on your behalf.
Over the last six months Dubois has won two prestigious
honors - the John Wooden Citizenship Cup and the Wilma
Rudolph Award. The former is presented by the
Atlanta-based Athletes For a Better World, the latter
by the National Association of Academic Advisors for
She is a former cross country and track and field
runner at OU. She rates among the top students
on campus as an honors academician in Meteorology. If
someone didn't tell you, and few have, you would never
know she has done these things, and done so while battling
Gutierrez, because his name appears on the Sooner
football roster, has a higher profile. In his
lone start as a Sooner, he rushed for 173 yards in
last season's win over Baylor.
In 2005, he won the Norman Youth Volunteer Award
and later this month will be nominated for the American
Football Coaches Association Good Works Team.
Gutierrez has made a tremendous impact at local
elementary schools. Teachers tell us how he seeks
out children with no father in the home to provide
additional male presence. We know he has gone
through Jerry Schmidt's arduous early morning workouts
only to then run a mile with his elementary school
friends just an hour or two later.
When the football team was forced to spend Christmas
Day in San Diego while preparing for the Holiday Bowl,
Gutierrez asked one of the bowl representatives if
he could be transported to a local soup kitchen that
might accept his donation of time.
Unfortunately, you know little of these personal
conquests aside from what has appeared on this web
site. A number of newsrooms are convinced you
don't care, and if you do, your concern is limited
to a passing mention or a couple paragraphs.
Bad news sells. That philosophy is as old
as the printing press. Not only that, but any
journalist who reports too much in the way of feel-good
news risks that dreaded Sunshine-Pumper label. Nothing
threatens objectivity quite like these Dubois and Gutierrez
As I wrote this piece, four of the lead stories
on ESPN.com's college football section dealt with players
facing legal problems. That percentage gives a
warped perspective of what is going on in college football,
but ESPN obviously believes you have an appetite for
that sort of thing. If only there was a player
defection to throw on top of it.
I've had an ongoing dialogue with a reporter who
writes up incidents of that kind to the max. When
those kinds of things occur, he wants a comment from
an administrator or coach. He is yet to ask for
Jackie or Jacob. He is one of those gatekeepers
charged with giving you what you want and you don't
Relax, I already know that's not the case. In truth,
we yearn for Dubois and Gutierrez to remind us that
heart and compassion still rule the day. And you
know what? Of the 400 student-athletes at OU,
and at all schools for that matter, the vast majority
lean towards Dubois and Gutierrez rather than the off-the-field
coverage that more commonly appears.
An editor would tell you that it is the uniqueness
of missteps that qualifies as news. I am baffled
as to how you balance that thinking with the notion
that news is supposed to provide an objective look
at the subject matter and leave the audience with an
accurate picture of the topic.
In the end, most people probably have enough common
sense to reach that conclusion anyway, but perspective
is a funny thing. String together a couple troubling
stories here and there and a broader doubt is born.
College athletics isn't unlike most societal endeavors. Perfection
is forever elusive and a dark element exists.
The light comes from people like Jackie Dubois,
Jacob Gutierrez and thousands of others. Keep
that in mind when you take the wrap off a newspaper
or hear a newscast that likely won't mention their
names. And if you'd like to see more about people
of their ilk, don't hesitate to notify a newsroom.
Until you do, somebody might make the mistake of
thinking you don't care.
Mossman Prophecies Archive
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Kenny Mossman, Associate Athletics Director for
Communications, provides his perspective on Oklahoma
Athletics in his regular column on SoonerSports.com.