Silence of the Frogs

With a men’s basketball team sitting at 4-13 and last place in the Mountain West Conference, it’s only natural for TCU fans to have some questions. But they better not want any answers.

Head coach Neil Dougherty imposed the latest gag order on TCU athletes after Saturday’s 75-49 loss at Air Force, prohibiting his players from talking to the media until further notice.

In Wednesday’s Skiff, Dougherty said he needs to protect his players by handling all media inquiries. He said some reporters have been “asking stupid questions” about the team’s poor play and players may be made available to comment after the team’s next win.

Apparently, a win cures stupid questions.

The fact that players can only talk when things are going well raises a few questions. Is the coach trying to hide something? What could the players be telling us? Is trouble brewing between team members and the coaching staff? TCU fans will be left to wonder – speculating about the worst.

Dougherty’s desire to protect his players is understandable, but they’re athletes. They should be used to winning and losing and the emotions that go along with each. As adults, they should be expected to stand up to questions regarding their performance. Their bosses may have a few when they enter the workplace.

The gag order is hardly the first of its kind applied by a TCU coach, and it probably won’t be the last – It’s easier to stay quiet than to be honest about a losing season. But personal freedom, integrity, and the dignity and respect of the individual are supposed to be among TCU’s core values. Isn’t it time the values applied to students in the athletic department match those of the university?

News editor Mike Dwyer for the editorial board