Jay Simpson, a former Champaign Central High School and Purdue basketball standout, writes for The News-Gazette. He can be reached at

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This week’s Big Ten basketball media days in Indianapolis reminded me of the off-and-on relationship of athletes and the reporters that cover them.

Some athletes enjoy the interaction; others hate it.

I can see why some coaches and athletes dislike the media. Even though they’re doing their job, it’s the way some go about doing it that irritates people. They might switch your words around to make it seem like you said something you didn’t just so they can get an audience to tune into what they’re talking about.

As a basketball player at Purdue, I never had problems with media, but I know others who don’t care too much for them. Maybe they had their words changed around or were asked questions they knew would cause commotion.

At Purdue, we had classes and people who helped prepare us for the tricky questions. A lot of schools — and coaches — will have someone accompany an athlete to make sure things don’t get out of hand during an interview.

As a columnist, I’ve been on both sides.

There are always going to be really uncomfortable questions. It’s up to the athlete to be prepared to handle those so they can’t use anything against you.

If you feel a certain way, let it be known. But if it’s something that can be avoided, don’t even pay it any mind.

Jay Simpson writes for The News-Gazette. His column appears Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. He can be reached at

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