Well, it worked.
Someway. Somehow. Jack Harry has managed to come out of his â€œGayhawksâ€ comment controversy unscathed. I would have bet all the Christmas sweaters in my closet that weâ€™d be looking at a new sports director at 41 Action News this Sunday.
How did he do it? By employing a very clever strategy, one that has taken down Presidents and CEOs and criminals all through time itself. The â€œdeny, deny, denyâ€ strategy.
â€œI didnâ€™t say it. Thatâ€™s not me. Thatâ€™s not what Iâ€™m about,â€ is what Harry, a 40 year veteran of the sports news business here in Kansas City, said on Monday evening on the Channel 41 telecast.
By now, you likely know the particulars, Harry popped out with a â€œgayhawksâ€ blurt when discussing the Kansas basketball team last week. At first, there was grainy Zapruder-like video of the event which prompted a â€œdid he really say that?â€ controversy across town. When an HD version of the video came out, it was a mortal lock that Jack clearly said what he said he didnâ€™t say he said.
At this point, Harry had several options ahead of him. He could have owned it, said it was a slip of the tongue and taken a (likely) mild punishment. He couldâ€™ve fought back and embraced the name, which wouldâ€™ve been unwise. Or, he couldâ€™ve simply said he didnâ€™t do it. Which I saw as the riskiest of all options.
What Jack Harry did was the classic deny and deflect strategy. He said he didnâ€™t say it. (Even though we all heard him say it.) And he blamed social media. This has become a classic go-to in many of these events. â€œIt somehow got out on the social media,â€ Harry said in his apology. To those of us who spend hours on Twitter and Facebook, it was quite the insult. But we are in the minority. To the majority of Americans, â€œsocial mediaâ€ is a scary term like â€œcancerâ€ or â€œconservative Democrat.â€ It causes confusion and vague anger. Oh, those goofy Twitter people!!
- 1) Forty years of experience. This canâ€™t be discounted. Harry likely leaned on that in conversations with management.
- 2) Lack of any â€œheavy hittersâ€ complaining. At the end of the day, it was only social media that was making a fuss about it – and that isnâ€™t yet enough to take someone down. The story was picked up by Deadspin and Sports Illustrated, but he was able to withstand the charge.
- 3) It wasnâ€™t that big of a gaffe. To me, it was a classic Ron Burgundy moment, but to the rest of the public out there, I guess it wasnâ€™t much more than Grandpa telling an off-color joke at Thanksgiving. Oh well, there goes Grandpa again.
So, the next time you are caught red handed by your wife or your boss or your viewing public, remember what Jack Harry did. Just say you didnâ€™t do it. Of course, it also helps if youâ€™re a gray-haired grandpa and the Jayhawks are playing like garbage.