Coach Hugh Freeze spent a lot of time during the SEC Media Days being careful in what he said about the ongoing NCAA investigation into the Ole Miss Rebel football team. But what Coach Freeze actually said is not the same thing Rebel fans and Rebel enemies believe they heard.
It is amazing how two people can stand in the same room and hear the same thing but have to different opinions on what was said. There was no place that was more evident than on the final day of the 2016 SEC Media Days.
Hugh Freeze was the final coach during this four-day media circus. But it was clear that he was the coach most of the media was ready to encounter. The NCAA investigation has been front and center in the SEC and the media was salivating at the opportunity to corner Coach Freeze and force him to answer questions.
Coach Freeze stood at the podium and answered the questions that were posed to him. But a funny thing happened. Depending on what side of the Hugh Freeze coin you are on, your perception as to what you heard during his press conference was different. Your preconceived feeling toward Coach Freeze, skewed your perception of what he actually said. It doesn’t change what he said, it only changes what you heard.
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So as a public service, we will translate what Coach Freeze actually SAID about the NCAA investigation to what was HEARD by his supporters and his detractors. For purposes of this article, the aforementioned supporters will be referred to as The Good Guys and the detractors will be referred to as The Bad Guys.
Freeze said: “I appreciate the media and the exposure you give our great sport.”
The Good Guys heard: I appreciate the media and the exposure you give our great sport. And when I say media, I mean the real media. Not you guys who pretend to be un-biased media, but are really so anti-Ole Miss you can’t get through a news cycle or radio program without re-hashing the same story you’ve done for the past three years. Then you trick your audience by calling it “breaking news”.
The Bad Guys heard: Thank you to all those who are apart of the bear-controled media that believes everything I say. Don’t question it. Just believe it.
Freeze said: “Before I get into football, I’d love to address our NCAA case right now.”
The Good Guys heard: Sure. The University of Tennessee is dealing with a rape case. Vanderbilt is dealing with a rape case. Alabama had two guys in a car in Louisiana with illegal drugs and stolen guns. Four Auburn players were arrested for marijuana. Mississippi State admitted a guy who’s on video beating a woman. But yeah, let’s hurry and talk about a $300 electric bill and a couple of loaner cars. By all means, because this is the worst thing going on in the SEC.
The Bad Guy heard: Before I get into football, let me sale you some snake oil and filthy lies. I’ll show my hypocrisy by quoting scripture and not being perfect.
Freeze said: “I remain very confident in who we are and our core value and how we do things.”
The Good Guys heard: They hate us because they ain’t us. Don’t be mad because we can come into your area and take your recruits. It’s has nothing to do with cheating, it’s all about being a part of the Rebel family. We are just that good at recruiting.
The Bad Guys heard: I’m confident that we will find other avenues in which to siphon money to the players and their family. It’s all about being a part of the Rebel network. We are just that good. At cheating, I mean.
Freeze said: “We look forward to the conclusion of this entire process. No one looks forward to it more than I do.”
The Good Guys heard: When this is over, I’m going to hunt down that “anonymous” coach that called us cheaters and…tell him I forgive him. Because I’m a nice Christian man. I’m going to forgive him and I’m going to flip his top recruit. Just to prove a point. Then I’ll go bass fishing. Wink, wink.
The Bad Guys heard: When this is over, I have plenty of time to golf and fish. You know, because of the five-year show-cause penalty and all.
Freeze said “Winning the Sugar Bowl was a huge highlight for me. It was on my bucket list. It was number seven on my bucket list.”
The Good Guys heard: It’s only number seven because number one is winning a national championship. I bet you are wondering what numbers two through six are. But, I’ll reveal them when we accomplish them. You’ll just have to wait.
The Bad Guys heard: It’s only number seven because with all the money we spend on players we are expecting a national championship. Number one is buying a championship. Two through six all have something to do with cheating. But, I’ll reveal them when we accomplish them. Or the NCAA finds out. You’ll just have to wait.
Freeze said “Everybody’s got a narrative. You have one. I have one. Our rivals have one.”
The Good Guys heard: We just want all recruits to know that we are going to be o.k. Ignore all the outside noise. They may write and say that they know what’s going on, but they all are just guessing. We will be just fine.
The Bad Guys heard: *actually they didn’t hear this part. They formed their narrative in 2013. So they did feel like this part was all that important to listen to.*
Freeze said “There’ll come a day when we will be held accountable for any wrongdoing that’s been found.”
The Good Guys heard: No death penalty. No show cause. No bowl ban. No problem.
The Bad Guys heard: Let’s enjoy our last year of football because “it’s coming.” And may God have mercy on our souls.