This season should be one to remember for the Bradley Braves, but the program’s latest decision could erase their charm. Although the underdogs from the Missouri Valley Conference continue to earn respect on the hardwood, they might lose appreciation from their media members in the future.
Bradley cut an 18-point deficit against Norther Iowa to punch its ticket into the NCAA Tournament. The comeback victory put the Braves on the map heading into March Madness.
However, this latest debacle involving Bradley will turn them from a cinderella program to a controversial one. Instead of celebrating the team’s trip to the tournament, the Braves are attracting negative publicity.
Leading up to the big dance, head coach Brian Wardle and the media relations staff blocked Journal Star beat writer Dave Reynolds from taking part in an event for the team’s upcoming tournament game.
Reynolds spoke about the incident and his displeasure with the news.
From The Journal Star:
“He pulled me aside and said their policy of me not given extra coverage opportunity was still in place, and I was not allowed to do any interviews. I told him, ‘The newspaper received the invitation.’ He said, ‘That was directed to (Huett), not to you.’ I said, ‘He doesn’t cover the team. I have for 29 years.’
“He responded by saying, ‘You don’t promote the Bradley brand, and basically we don’t want you here.’
Perhaps Reynolds had negative coverage of Bradley at certain times, but this move seems more petty than justified. Honestly, the timing also makes matters worse because this tournament appearance a golden opportunity for reporters.
It’ll be interesting to see if this situation affects how the public views the Braves this March.