ESPN the Magazine‘s Tom Friend tells the tale of former Oklahoma State QB Bobby Reid (above), a story that makes two points which to me were always pretty obvious, but got papered over in the awesome media tsunami of head coach Mike Gundy’s “I’m a man! I’m 40!”

1. That of course the Oklahoman‘s Jenni Carlson had sources on the Cowboys coaching staff.

2. That the whole thing hardly did the player, who has since transferred to Texas Southern, any favors.

[Reid] showed up for the next day’s pregame breakfast, where, curiously, not one copy of the local Oklahoman newspaper could be found. Reid thought nothing of it, but, truth was, every copy of the paper had been confiscated. Even in the hotel gift shop.

Why? Because a writer had finally gotten brave.

That morning, a columnist from the Oklahoman, Jenni Carlson, wrote that Reid was benched for being soft, for not playing through injuries, for being coddled by his mom. And, to prove her point, Carlson wrote Rajika had fed her son chicken after the Troy game.

In a lot of ways, it was a cheap shot — because Rajika had fed no one but herself and because Carlson hadn’t even been at the Troy game. But, in a lot of ways, the article reeked of everything the OSU coaches had been saying behind closed doors. Yes, Rajika had been a concern (remember the Missouri game in ’05). And, yes, the staff felt Reid was made of tin….

Reid was caught off guard. Here was a coach who’d been burying him and now he was going to war for him? It didn’t add up. “At first, everything [Gundy] was saying sounded real and true,” Rajika says. “But I’m a believer where there is smoke, there’s fire.”

In other words, Bobby and Rajika Reid felt info in Carlson’s column came indirectly from Gundy or his staff. (“I’d have a hard time agreeing with that,” Gundy says.)

In other words, they felt Gundy’s rant was fake.

“Honestly, the way I took it, I felt like it was all a front,” Reid says. “That it was all a big show. It didn’t feel genuine.”

Rajika: “It wasn’t the truth. If it was the truth and this kid does everything right, why wasn’t he back on the field?”

Gundy: “The last thing I would ever do would be to draw up some production to say in front of the camera. The first reason is because I don’t have any interest in doing that. The second reason is I don’t have time to do it. … I didn’t direct it toward football, I directed it toward he had done everything right. If they thought it wasn’t genuine then obviously they have a right to their opinion. I’m not concerned with changing their mind.”

(Via Mark Cuban’s favorite blogger at the Dallas Morning News)