My goodness, McGuinness
The controversial decision by Jim McGuinness to refuse to hold the post All-Ireland Final press conference until a journalist left the room has engendered quite a bit of debate. And it will continue to do so for some time to come.
So what are the rights and wrongs of the situation whereby a manager takes umbrage at something which has been written? If the offensive material appears in a daily or weekly paper, or even a monthly magazine, there’s a good chance that the ‘damage’ can be repaired by a clarification or apology through the accepted right of reply. But, when it’s in a book, it’s a little bit trickier for the ‘injured party’ to gain satisfaction through a response, because there’s nowhere suitable to publish it.
In the McGuinness instance, the annoyance has obviously been simmering away inside the Donegal manager for many months. He indicated that this is the case when he was asked at the press conference why he had chosen that particular time to react to the article which caused offence.
“I’ve never broken court on it since the whole thing happened. I’ve held my dignity. I’ve let myself be castigated. And I did that because I gave someone my agreement that I wouldn’t break my court on it.”
The journalist in question is Declan Bogue, formerly with Gaelic Life and now with the Belfast Telegraph, who published a book called This Is Our Year, which carried chapters on a number of leading GAA players.
It professed to follow the lives of championship players and managers from each county in Ulster, one of them being Tyrone’s Ryan McMenamin.
Now, let me admit that I didn’t read the book. I got the initial blurb publicising its release but, as I do in the case of any book seeking free publicity, I sent an email back to Bogue requesting a review copy. I was assured one would be in the post, but it did not come and, when I informed him that I hadn’t received it, I was again told it would be forthcoming. It never did arrive.
Whatever Cassidy said in his interview, it clearly caused much angst between him and his manager, so much so that he was removed from the squad.
Some would say that McGuinness shouldn’t shoot the messenger and that is generally the view of reporters and their bosses when people complain about the comments of others; unless, of course, the damage is serious enough to warrant legal action - which, one assumes, it was not in this instance.
And that, even though, the explanation by McGuinness to those members of the media who were privileged to be at the post-final conference included a claim that it amounted to ‘an all-out attack’ on his character.
Yet, Paddy Heaney in Irish News on Tuesday, says he read the book and is completely mystified at how it managed to cause McGuinness so much offence.
There’s probably not a manager alive who hasn’t been annoyed at some story or opinion piece at some time or other and they tend to take everything very personal, the nature of their job meaning they often take decisions for very good reasons which cannot be made public - and, without the correct insider knowledge, observers understandably can not make any sense of the Donegal manager’s actions.
And Bogue is not alone in angering the All-Ireland-winning manager, as he explained at that infamous press conference.
“And there’s another person who, if he was here, would be out of the room as well. It was absolutely vile what he wrote, all on falsehoods. Absolutely vile that you could get away with that and degrade somebody to that level and feel then that you can write another article to rectify the wrong.”
So much for my remarks above regarding making amends for offence caused; some folk, perhaps justifiably, stick by the old adage that, once it’s said it is said and can’t be unsaid!
I have annoyed a few people by things I have written, but I have also been on the receiving end. Alas, I can’t complain, since my simple belief is that you have to be able to accept criticism, if you also feel the need to dish it out.
Jim McGuinness is entitled to vent his anger, but I have yet to meet anybody who felt it was the right time or the right place. All it achieved was to sell more copies of the book which rankled him!
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Weather for Dungannon
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 16 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 8 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 14 mph
Wind direction: North