In his remarks to the media on the same day the HBO special premiered, Chizik said he felt the presentation was one-sided:
“What’s disturbing to me is they interviewed other former Auburn football players that had exactly the opposite to say but somehow or another that failed to make the air. Unless I missed that section.”
Today a source familiar with the HBO production told me that the four ex-Auburn players who appeared on the show were the only former Auburn players who were interviewed by HBO on-camera.
When I asked HBO about its efforts to engage Auburn personnel about the show, HBO VP of Public Relations Ray Stallone sent me the following statement:
Our producers did reach out to the Auburn Sports Information Office to get comment from them on the claims made by the former Auburn players interviewed by Real Sports. The Sports Information Office represents the Athletic Department in dealing with the media. We read to them in detail over the phone the statements made by the former players that we were planning to include in our report and the response we received from the school was a “no comment,” which we included in our piece.
Later in the press conference, Chizik said of HBO’s reporting:
“It saddens me that somebody’s going to air a show with basically one side being known. I think that’s pathetic and I think it’s pure garbage.”
When asked whether or not anyone from HBO contacted him directly about the piece, Chizik responded with, “Absolutely not.” But as Brooks points out, it sounds like HBO went through the proper channels at Auburn in terms of requesting comments or interviews about the segment. Not surprisingly, Auburn wanted nothing to do with the show and naturally, now Chizik is offended that he wasn’t asked to give his side.
All of this is textbook. Details emerge about dirty college football program. Dirty college football program denies any wrongdoing and pins blame on the media. Pretty soon, dirty college football program fans will all start to rail on the media for clearly having a personnel vendetta against their team. We’ve seen this all before. Of course, what is Chizik supposed to say at this point? “Spot on, HBO – man, you nailed us! Jesus H., nice reporting. Truly good work here…”
No, he’s going to vehemently deny it all and see if it all goes away. But by the look of things, the sh*t has only started hitting the fan.