The Latest On Steve Spurrier And Ron Morris

In both the 2011 and 2012 football seasons, University of South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier has made headlines for his petulant battles with columnist Ron Morris of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper. In fact last September things reached a boiling point when Spurrier issued an ultimatum regarding Morris,…

In both the 2011 and 2012 football seasons, University of South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier has made headlines for his petulant battles with columnist Ron Morris of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper. In fact last September things reached a boiling point when Spurrier issued an ultimatum regarding Morris, saying he was “not taking any more of this stuff that’s coming out of our local paper.”

“If that’s part of the job, I’ll head to the beach,” Spurrier added.

As we’ve noted previously we’re not fans of Morris. He’s written some moronic stuff – and made some over-the-top comments about Spurrier’s program. But we’ve also called out Spurrier for the juvenile manner in which he has handled Morris’ criticism.

Anyway, things have been all quiet on the Spurrier-Morris front this season … and apparently there’s a good reason for that.

According to a new post from media blogger Jim Romenesko, “The State has told Morris he can no longer write about University of South Carolina Gamecocks football.”

Wait … what?

“The State’s publisher, Henry Haitz III, made his veteran columnist agree in writing that he would never again write about Gamecocks football or talk about the USC program on TV and radio shows,” Romenesko continues.

Whatever you think of Morris, that’s ridiculous. And for those of you thinking “why not just fire the guy?” Haitz apparently tried to do that last season.

“(Haitz) wanted his columnist fired,” Romenesko writes. “Executive editor Mark Lett talked him out of it, though, according to sources. There were no legitimate grounds for dismissal, the publisher was told … Morris kept his job, but he was told he could no longer attend Spurrier’s press conferences. He was also ordered by the publisher to write an apology column.”

FITS attempted to reach Haitz for comment, but he didn’t return our calls.

Replacing Morris on the sports pages at The State?

Self-described Gamecock “Super Fan” Glenn Snyder.

“I love the University of South Carolina,” Snyder told Romenesko. “I love Steve Spurrier.”

Wow … can’t wait to read the incisive commentary coming from that guy, who oh by the way received his job at The State in no small part thanks to a phone call from Spurrier, who admits he “put in a good word” for the 67-year-old fan.

This is not how it is supposed to work, people. Coaches prepare their teams and direct them during games – and columnists critique them based on the outcome. That’s the way it is.

Our website was among the most aggressive critics of Spurrier from 2007-09, when his teams were failing to show a consistent level of improvement which we believed was warranted. Over the last three seasons, though, Spurrier has proved us wrong (and shut us up) by winning games. In fact the only occasion we’ve had to criticize him over the last three years is when he goes off on these petty Ron Morris vendettas.

Spurrier is a great coach. The best South Carolina has ever had. But he’s got to understand that criticism – even unfounded criticism – comes with the territory. It is “part of the job.” He’s also got to realize that it’s up to the marketplace of ideas – not his heavy-handed threats and suppression of journalistic freedom – to sort the good out from the bad.

A coach ousting a critic and replacing him with a stooge serves no one …

UPDATE: Deadspin – the greatest sports website in the world – has a story up on the Spurrier-Morris-State fiasco, calling it (accurately) “bullsh*t.” So does The Sporting News, which refers to Spurrier as the “capo di tutti cappi” (or “boss of all bosses”) in Columbia, S.C. Meanwhile a local alternative paper in Charleston, S.C. is referring to Spurrier as the “Kim Jong-un” of Williams-Brice Stadium. Ha!

UPDATE II: The State has flip-flopped. It is now “allowing” Morris to cover Gamecock athletics again if he wants.

Related posts


Letter: Defending Dawn Staley


Dawn Staley Went Woke Again

Will Folks

Clemson Claws Cats For Second-Ever Trip To ‘Elite Eight’

Will Folks


shifty henry September 12, 2013 at 10:14 am

What happened to freedom of the press(ure)?

jch9596 September 12, 2013 at 11:43 am

It’s actually alive and well in Columbia, SC. the State is free to do whatever it pleases with it’s staff, whether that be firing someone or telling them what they can and can’t write. Otherwise, they’d be a blog.

CNSYD September 12, 2013 at 10:28 am

No Spurrier press conferences for you.

Billy K Mulligan September 12, 2013 at 10:28 am

Obviously the “marketplace” for The State warranted his removal. If Morris was good for business, no changes would have been made.

You extoll the virtues of the “marketplace of ideas” but fail to acknowledge that the real “marketplace” did not support MoRon.

Can’t have it both ways FITS.

what about September 12, 2013 at 10:42 am

You couldn’t be more correct. I want to wrap my head in duct tape because my head is going to explode reading drivel like this. He is not a reporter – he is an opinion writer that is costing the paper money. The paper is charging subscribers for Gamecock content. No one is buying for Morris’ content.

I will say that the paper should fire him and move on – not leash him. FITS is being naive or just flat out a hypocrite on this one.

Question: If Morris i costing the paper advertising dollars and potential subscribers, should they keep him on and all gone down on a sinking ship?

Smirks September 12, 2013 at 10:57 am

By stifling the “marketplace of ideas,” The State is inevitably going to stifle itself in the actual marketplace. Their readership isn’t dwindling for nothing.

MoRon being MoRon aside, this only affirms why I wouldn’t even wipe my ass with their publication.

Billy K Mulligan September 12, 2013 at 11:33 am

If so, the real marketplace will respond negatively against The State.

Does The State make management and financial assessments of FitsNews, such as it is?

I think this will improve the financials of the company.

Original Good Old Boy September 12, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Morris had an agenda against Spurrier and it was obvious. It’s not “good journalism” when your personal feelings are clouding your judgment, as was the case with Morris. Folks’s defense of Morris just sounds like a journalist seeing this issue with blinders on and taking up for one of his own. Yes, a jounalist needs to report the good and the bad, and there is nothing wrong with wriitng negative opinions, but when you start writing articles and columns just to feed your petty vendetta, I have no sympathy for you.
Morris made his bed. Spurrier was right that if anyone is to blame for his removal from his position, it’s Morris himself.

Scooter September 12, 2013 at 10:47 pm

Morris will win it yet. You can’t argue with the press and expect to win.

ELCID September 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm

Let’s get this straight!
Truth in Newspapers should be adjusted for money?
I think the USC School of Journalism would take great exception to your point. That ideas and truth are a marketable exchange.

The State Newspaper was totally wrong stopping Ron Morris from writing about USC. Losing objectivity is profoundly wrong.

“The Truth will set you Free.”
And, in The State Newspaper’s case: sell news in paper or Internet formats.

The State Paper is losing readership, just like all newspapers. Not because of Ron Morris or it’s content. The Internet is the place most people get their news today. Not day old news in paper form. Writers like Ron Morris, whether you like him or not, bring people to The State’s web site and advertisers. Rah Rah BS, and close minded USC Crap will not do USC, The State Newspaper, or the great Steve Spurrier any good: ever.

Mr. Spurrier would be well advised not to support this Censorship in any manner what so ever. I’d advise him to give Ron Morris a private sit down interview for publication in The State Paper, or on the Go Gamecocks Web Site. Mr. Spurrier is bigger than this BS, and can handle anything that Ron Morris can throw at him with dignity and honesty.

Original Good Old Boy September 12, 2013 at 1:04 pm

I agree that “losing objectivity” is wrong, and it’s why Morris was re-assigned. Morris became a troll and caused his own fate.

Scooter September 13, 2013 at 2:52 pm

It must have. He is back at it.

What else is new? September 12, 2013 at 10:30 am

Now that so much money is in the hands of so few they can dictate whatever they wish.
I do not like it but that is the way the world works these days. As long as we stand by and allow the public corruption to pay, tax dollars to be streamlined to decision makers pockets and don’t question public/private development deals that are not put out to bid then what do you expect?

It will take a revolution to turn back the clock now and a bunch of couch taters aren’t going to lead the pack. As for me, I’m just too tired to fight. Piss on it.

what about September 12, 2013 at 10:47 am

“Now that so much money is in the hands of so few they can dictate whatever they wish.”

That statement is BS on its face. There is so much more content out there as is relates to the Gamecocks (and any other sports team) that competition is driving this. I decide to pay for sports news and I have choices. My choice was to not go with The State. The fan’s hatred of Morris predates Spurrier.

I’d venture to say Spurrier had very little to do with this. If Morris had a paying audience, the paper would have told Coach to suck eggs.

Jim September 12, 2013 at 10:39 am

What a joke.The State needs to get effing real,and show some balls.If your main sports columnist,publisher,etc,can’t get it together,and are afraid of Coach,you need to,FOLD…

My high school newspaper did a better job…

This makes Spurrier AND The State look so bad,but they have no one but themselves to blame…


9" September 12, 2013 at 10:46 am

Is Ron in love with Steve’s finger?

Same ol' Same ol' September 12, 2013 at 10:44 am

It’s the golden rule at work, nothing less. He who has the gold makes the rules, the fucking rules, got it?

TontoBubbaGoldstein September 12, 2013 at 10:47 am

*Thinks back over the last 1748 days.*


It is what it is…

The old Ball Coach has gotten to big for his britches.

If he is not fired NOW, it will be like Munich 1938 all over again!!!



Do the right thing!!!

EJB September 12, 2013 at 12:33 pm

You ok man, got something there you need to get off your chest? Go ahead and share, you’re among friends. By the way, I’m missing something with the tie between Munich and Spurrier, is there a sports metaphor about that?

TontoBubbaGoldstein September 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Naw, TBG was just invoking Godwins’s Law in a semi-facetious attempt to get y’all to put The Old Ball Coach out to pasture. 1748 days is a LONG time to listen to Sakerlina fans talk trash.

Click here if not familiar with “Munich 1938” or “Godwin’s Law” references.

Smirks September 12, 2013 at 10:51 am

Quitting is more honorable than accepting censorship.

EJB September 12, 2013 at 12:28 pm

and makes you wonder if he was “reporting” truth or just trying to tick Mr. Spurrier off.

not fair September 12, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Sometimes you make sacrifices to keep supporting your family. Maybe that’s why he stayed. That’s why I stick to a rotten job.

Original Good Old Boy September 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm

Not when you are being censored because you have lost all objectivity and are writing stories, not to provoke thought, but to agitate. Morris was just a professional troll — a more sophisticated Big T, if you will. His job was to create controversy. When that shtick started costing subscribers, the State rightfully said it had had enough.

Grumpy Coot September 12, 2013 at 10:54 am

Going to the mat for Ron Morris instead of getting a proper sports writer doesn’t make good journalist/publishing/business sense. Saddest editorial group in a market the size of Columbia

BillC123 September 12, 2013 at 11:33 am

USC football needs one more sunshine pumper.

craig321 September 12, 2013 at 11:48 am

Spurrier was not the only coach who had a problem with Morris. No other coach in any of the major sports liked or trusted him either. Of course this all grew out of the coaches displeasure with eric Hyman and the fact that Ron Morris was a toadie for Hyman and would print whatever Hyman wanted him to print.

Herman Helms September 12, 2013 at 12:28 pm Reply
Original Good Old Boy September 12, 2013 at 12:49 pm

It’s only “interesting” if you like to hear from the perspective of a self-important wind bag.

dsmith September 12, 2013 at 12:37 pm

As long as things are running smoothly and USC is ranked and winning the fans really don’t want to read nit picking columns from Morris. However, I did enjoy seeing Spurrier’s face turn crimson, exposing his prima donna side, when Morris pushed his button. Ultimately, this is censorship and should not be endorsed by The State. What’s next…bowing to Nikki Haley?

jimlewisowb September 12, 2013 at 12:53 pm

Haitz runs his paper about as well as Spurrier coaches big games

Original Good Old Boy September 12, 2013 at 2:06 pm

So pretty good?

Michael September 12, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Ron Morris waged a personal war against Spurrier’s integrity in regards to his players, and Morris used lies and assumptions to back it up. What Ron was writing was well outside of normal journalism. He was intentionally attacking Spurrier to get more readers via “shock journalism.” Morris lied about the wrong person.

Walking Around September 12, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Screw Ron Morris!

Carolina Girl September 21, 2013 at 11:53 pm

No, fuck Ron Morris! And Gene Sapakoff who writes for the Post and Courier in Charleston, SC. He is so biased towards Clem’s sons he can’t be believed. Gamecock fans hate him because he stirs up so much crap about how bad Carolina is, but Clem’s sons is the best in the world. Never a bad word about Clemson. He and Morris are nothing but Spurrier and Gamecock haters and it shows in their articles. Fuck them both!

Raymond September 12, 2013 at 1:11 pm

“According to a new post from media blogger Jim Romenesko, “The State has told Morris he can no longer write about University of South Carolina Gamecocks football.””

Did he also say that this was on the instructions of Steve Spurrier? I’m in agreement that Spurrier’s feud with Morris was weird given Spurrier’s status and Morris’ relative anonymity. But if Spurrier caused this with his tirade last year, it was awfully slow in working. Maybe it had nothing to do with Spurrier.

NSJS September 12, 2013 at 1:37 pm

The paper didn’t want him killing business, which he did by repelling readers who
were South Carolina fans drawn to the sports page for news about the Gamecocks, not contrived, incessant attacks against the school’s football program.

NSJS September 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Snyder wrote for Spurs & Feathers, a publication associated with USC athletics until it recently folded. He is biased, which I don’t mind as long as he provides fair and accurate reporting. My problem with him is that he’s a weak writer, although an adequate one. Morris had the opposite problem. He was a great writer but his efforts to stir-up drama to entice readership gave the perception of bias, which drove readers away. Fans of teams read the sports page to learn about their teams, not to be offended by someone who gives every impression that he disdains the team.

So we’ve gone from an attack dog reporter to a lap dog reporter. Which is worse? For the newspaper business purposes the answer is an attack dog reporter, when the attack dog is attacking the object of the fans’ passion that draws those fans to read the sports page
in the first place.

demarke September 12, 2013 at 2:10 pm

As a former regular reader, Ron Morris lost me over a year ago when I got tired of his consistent overly-critical articles, many of which were based on unfounded rumors and unchecked sources. I can think of no other sports town where the primary sports editorialist was so consistently outspoken against the hometown team. Do you think Clemson has ever had one? Doubt it. Even sportswriters in NY or Boston with a more national readership still refer to their local teams as ‘us’ or ‘we,’ something I don’t recall Ron doing very often or at all. The only column of his I have read the last two years was right after Clemson’s rock was vandalized and, of course, he immediately blamed Gamecock fans and further fanned the national flames making our supporters look bad.

The paper stuck with an unpopular columnist for quite sometime, but the paper was losing readers because of him. The market chose to stifle Ron Morris and the readers who grew tired of his brand of ‘journalism.’ Yes, Spurrier didn’t seem to like him, but their tiff was over a year ago and Spurrier had a right to be upset over some of the attacks on his integrity. Spurrier is just a more public voice of what the rest of the readership already felt. The fact is that intentionally inflammatory articles only drive up short-term views and they cost readership numbers dearly when burnout sets in.

Steve Spurrier is not suppressing Ron Morris, Ron Morris’s own actions suppressed Ron Morris. Every time an unpopular journalist is let go or moved to a new position, does not automatically equal an attack on freedom of the press or cowardice by a newspaper’s editors.

Johnny east side September 12, 2013 at 4:26 pm

Capo di tutti capi[one p] ? Ahahahah! Two middle aged men in search ot attention,not unlike two spoiled brats.Morris,as i`ve said before,thinks he`s the MIKE LUPICA[NyDaily News] of the Midlands and ‘red dye’ Spurrier blames everyone but his arrogant presumtuousness which works well in any southern college town,where college wins is all that`s important to the local ‘culture’ ,,if that`s what IT IS ,,Local sports radio shows,what else would they talk about,,,??..Banal inanity!

uh oh September 12, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Steve Spurrier can dictate who covers SCAR football? Well, how about he just go ahead and write the story? That way it can be just exactly like he wants? And, who says that what Ron Morris wrote is not true? Steve Spurrier? Well guess we can take that to the bank, NOT! Look SCAR fans I realize that as long as your program is doing better that you will buy into whatever Spurrier is selling. But, sit back for a minute. Is this really good for journalism? Besides I have gone back and read plenty of Ron Morris’ articles. He also compliments Spurrier and the team when deserved. But, God forbid if he does not agree with what Spurrier does! Spurrier, so what? Get over it! Hell I don’t agree with what my kids or husband does a lot. We are not all going to think alike. Everyone has their opinions. And it just so happens to be Ron Morris’ job to write his opinion. What exactly do you all think Ron gets for writing about when Spurrier and SCAR does not do something right in his mind? Nothing, it is just his job. Spurrier, USC and the USC fans need to get the HUGE chip off of their shoulders! Grow up!

Mebbeimamazed September 12, 2013 at 7:36 pm

Spurrier is a bitter 68 year old man, with a prematurely thin skin caused by the (rightful) lambasting he received as head ball coach of Washington Redskins.

Let him enjoy his last several years with his modest success in Columbia.

After that its back to Lou Holtz, Sparky Woods and 5-7, 6-6, 7-5; year in, year out.

A dynasty is NOT being built!

Bob the builder September 12, 2013 at 8:39 pm

The State shouldn’t bend to the will of someone they cover, but then again so much of the stuff in The State is crap that its hard to blame Spurrier for trying.

9" September 13, 2013 at 5:18 am

One more thing.Ron’s nipples are erect,and he’s swishing . .

Scooter September 13, 2013 at 10:36 am Reply
Carolina Girl September 22, 2013 at 12:03 am

MoRon had a vendetta against Spurrier and the Gamecocks. His writing sucks. I stopped subscribing to the paper when I had to read nothing but his bullshit. He backs nothing up with facts, just his blatant hatred for Carolina Football.


Leave a Comment