All is well in Baton Rouge. First-year LSU head coach Brian Kelly became the first Tigers’ leader to lose his inaugural game at the helm since Gerry DiNardo in 1995, who helped LSU to momentary failure against then-No. 3 Texas A&M. Kelly’s troops lost to an inconsistent Florida State team in their home state on a blocked extra point in the final seconds of Sunday night’s game.
At Kelly’s first media availability since the defeat, the losses kept coming. After his opening statement, he made eye contact with Leah Vann, an LSU beat writer for The Advocate, walking into the press conference after Kelly was about to open up questions to reporters. He quickly quipped about how it was a $10 fee for every reporter late to a press conference.
The 60-year-old Kelly then said they’ll collect all the money at the end of the year and throw a party at his house. How generous for a coach that’s due to make more than $100 million over the next decade. Vann, who admitted to being the reporter in the exchange with Kelly on Twitter, retorted “Maybe if you’ll win, I’ll be on time.”
What a weird, unprofessional response, regardless of whether Vann is joking or not. She then took to Twitter to say it was “not (her) finest hour” and that she apologized to Kelly directly after the press conference ended. Vann said Kelly was “super chill” about the back and forth and likes to joke with the press. She also stated she was three minutes early to a noon press conference when her response occurred, rushing to the availability from a doctor’s appointment.
If the exchange took place with a less-nationally relevant team, it barely would’ve gained any internet traction. If Cal’s Justin Wilcox lamented back, it wouldn’t have been a big deal. But “owning” Kelly is Twitter gold. That goes right alongside his pronunciation of fam-uh-lee when first speaking to fans in Baton Rouge back in January and dancing with a recruit, only for him to commit to Alabama.
Kelly may be a twat, but he’s obviously joking in this situation. It’s downright rude to show up late, especially when it’s your job to cover his team. A beat writer needs to show up early to press conferences. On-time is actually about 15 minutes early for a hometown daily Southeastern Conference writer. Set up your laptop and recorder, look vigorously through the media notes for information, and to gather story ideas. It’s a job. Like anything else, if you’re late, you’re not doing the job correctly. And saying that comment back was beyond idiotic, joking or not. The team’s performance has zero to do with a reporter’s job.