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What's the best question you've heard asked?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by RecoveringJournalist, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    My all-time favorite was after the Florida State-Clemson game, I think it was the first Bowden Bowl. FSU had destroyed Clemson and Mike Bianchi asked Tommy, "Do you still love your daddy?" and Tommy answered, "Not as much."

    It sounds like a simple, stupid question, but it was asked in a way that elicited a perfect response that was the lede in almost every story that was written on the game.
    Donny in his element likes this.
  2. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    That's cute, but in a funny, press-conference-crack-up way. (Maybe that's what Rob Parker was referencing when he asked Marinelli if his daughter should have married a better defensive coordinator!)

    For my money the best one (or series) was Koppel's follow-up question to Al Campanis. If Campanis just says the first thing, it doesn't go thermonuclear.

    TK - Why is it that there are no black managers, no black general managers, no black owners?
    AC - Well Mr. Koppel, there have been some black managers, but I really can't answer that question directly. The only thing I can say is that you have to pay your dues when you become a manager. Generally you have to go to the minor leagues. There's not very much pay involved, and some of the better-known black players have been able to get into other fields and make a pretty good living in that way.

    We're OK there. Maybe Al would have had to issue a clarification the next day, maybe not.

    And then ...

    TK - Yeah, but you know in your heart of hearts, you know that that's a lot of bologna. I mean there are a lot of black players, there are a lot of great black baseball men who would dearly love to be in managerial positions, and I guess what I'm really asking you is to, you know, peel it away a bit. Just tell me why you think it is. Is there still that much prejudice in baseball today?
    AC - No, I don't believe it's prejudice. I truly believe that they may not have some of the necessities to be, let's say, a field manager or perhaps a general manager.
    - Do you really believe that?
    AC - Well, I don't say that all of them, but they certainly are short. How many quarterbacks do you have? How many pitchers do you have that are black?
    TK - Yeah, but I mean, yeah, I've got to tell you that that sounds like the same kind of garbage we were hearing forty years ago about players, when they were saying, "Ah, not really, not really cut out." Remember the days when you hit a black football player in the knees. And you know, that really sounds like garbage, if you forgive me saying so.
    AC - No, it's not garbage, Mr. Koppel, because I played on a college team and the centerfielder was black, in the backfield at NYU with a fullback who was black. Never knew the difference whether he was black or white; we were teammates. So it just might be that they, they - why are black men or black people not good swimmers? Because they don't have the buoyancy.
    - Oh, I don't, I don't - it may just be they don't have access to all the country clubs and the pools....

    TK - I'd like to give you another chance to dig yourself out, because I think you need it.
    AC - I have never said that blacks are not intelligent. I think that many of them are highly intelligent. But they may not have the desire to be in the front office. I know that they have wanted to manage, and many of them have managed. But they're outstanding athletes, very God-gifted, and they're wonderful people, and that's all that I can tell you about them.
    AC - (asked to estimate the percentage of blacks among Dodger players) Roger [Kahn has] mentioned the fact that about a third of the players are black. That might be a pretty good number, and deservedly so, because they're outstanding athletes. They are gifted with great musculature and various other things. They're fleet of foot. And that is why there are a lot of black major-league ballplayers. Now as far as having the background to become club presidents, or presidents of a bank, I don't know.
    TK - I must stay, I'm flabbergasted. It seems to me we haven't made all that much progress, then, in forty years.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  3. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    It's interesting. I've seen the interview before, but seeing the transcript almost makes it seem worse.
  4. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Yeah. If anything, Koppel bent over backwards to be fair and offer him a way out, and Campanis kept falling further.
    RecoveringJournalist likes this.
  5. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    I think it often depends who is asking the question. I think Bianchi, who is very well-liked, can get away with something that Parker, who is not, can't pull off.

    There are also questions that get a different response coming from a columnist than a beat writer.

    When I was covering the NFL, one of the beat writers asked the GM about the struggles of a first-round cornerback and the GM said jokingly, "Oh, you're just giving me crap because I didn't take the corner who you had us taking in your mock draft."

    Beat writer responds: "The guy I had you picking has six interceptions."

    It was a funny, light moment, but when one of the papers wrote up something about the exchange, people went batshit because they thought the writer was saying he could do a better job than the GM. It was a Friday press conference, which was always a lot looser than the Monday or Wednesday ones, in part because it was usually only the beat writers.
  6. mpcincal

    mpcincal Well-Known Member

    Well, if you're talking about a question that elicited a classic response, I'll go with "What's your opinion of Kingman's performance?"
  7. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    "Coach are the Bears as good as you thought they were?"

    Some of the classic responses come to pretty innocuous/harmless/typical questions.
    BrendaStarr likes this.
  8. Rhody31

    Rhody31 Well-Known Member

    I covered the NCAA Tournament for my chain a few years back, mainly just to get some experience covering a big-time event. I wrote three features, but my first was talking to the higher seeds and why they weren't just happy to be there.
    First team up was St. Mary's, who had a center named Omar Samhan (who turned out to be a quote machine). I asked him and the other guys up there why, based on history, why anyone should think they could win more than one game.
    Guys gave some pretty good answers and I kept the questioning the same with Ohio, Robert Morris and Richmond (a 7 seed). Wrote my feature, was excited to cover the games and find some more features.
    That not on SportsCenter, my question was leading SportsCenter's NCAA preview stuff. Felt pretty cool.
  9. RecoveringJournalist

    RecoveringJournalist Well-Known Member

    I always hated asking questions in the press conferences at the NCAA Tournament, especially when they would make you state your name and organization.

    I once stood up and started to ask my question and was interrupted by the NCAA minion who reminded us to state our name and organization/affiliation. It was the first question of the press conference.

    The coach I covered and had traveled with for three years, looked me square in the face and said with a huge smile, "What was your name again? I didn't quite hear you." The players up there were howling because they knew he was fucking with me. I stated my name again and he said, "Nice to meet you." I swear to god, I thought one of the players up there was going to piss himself he was laughing so hard.

    It's a funny story to tell years later, but at the time, it was pretty embarrassing.
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