What everyone is talking about today is Renee Gork, the name sounds like a Harry Potter character, but Gork was not wearing a wizard hat at a Bobby Petrino press conference this week, she was wearing a Florida Gator cap. A member of the Arkansas media, Gork was there to cover the Arkansas head coach press conference and even asked a question to Petrino. After responding to the question Petrino added one final comment… "And that will be the last question I answer with that hat on." Gork tweeted on Monday that she was fired by KAKS (Hog Sports Radio) and she should have been.
Let me preface this by saying please stop all the BS that Bobby Petrino got her fired and this is another reason he is a bad guy. Petrino had nothing to do with her being fired and frankly he should be commended for calling out the "professional" wearing a Florida Gator hat during an Arkansas press conference. It wouldn't matter if Gork was wearing a Florida, Louisville, Boise State or Atlanta Falcons hat at the this press conference, it was inappropriate. Now the Louisville or Boise State hat probably would not have gotten her fired but the point remains the same. Any unbiased journalist covering a sporting event or press conference should not be wearing any team logo, professionals don't do that.
Gork wanted to publically apologize for making the mistake and this was obviously a mistake and not something done maliciously but the reason this is such a unique situation is because no one does it. The question becomes did something so stupid and seemingly trivial warrant losing her job? The reason that answer is yes is because the radio station could not keep its integrity while employing someone so irresponsible. Wearing a hat seems small, but it was enough to warrant a reaction from the head coach and her insistence on publically apologizing.
Could Gork continue to do the job she was hired and paid to do with the stigma that she had created by wearing a Florida hat? Could she continue to cover press conferences in the same capacity and with the same respect from colleagues? Would she be blacklisted by the Arkansas staff or pushed to the back of the line because of one mistake? All these things could have happened and it makes no sense to pay someone to do a job that they can no longer do effectively.
This could be viewed as an overreaction by the radio station and it is an interesting debate, but KAKS had the right to fire her and should have done so. It is a hard lesson for any young professional to learn, but it was a mistake so unnecessary that it should never have happened.
What are your thoughts on Renee Gork, should she have been fired or was she just wearing the wrong hat? E-mail
me Brian Harbach
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