The Kentucky Wildcats’ 65-62 win over the Wichita State Shockers on Sunday was marred by an ugly incident at the end of the game, where Wichita State head coach Gregg Marshall’s wife, Lynn, was escorted from her seat by Bankers Life Fieldhouse security in Indianapolis.
Two reporters sitting on press row in front of Lynn Marshall speculated that she was drunk and one of them, Kentucky Sports Radio’s Drew Franklin, tweeted video of Marshall leading cheers that he says NCAA officials told him to take down. Franklin deleted the video only to repost it on his website after leaving the arena.
The Associated Press reported Lynn Marshall spent 10 minutes in the stands after Wichita State’s defeat, initially consoling fellow Shocker fans but then yelling about calls made during the game. That’s when security asked her to leave the lower bowl and escorted her to her husband’s press conference.
But Franklin and WTVQ reporter Kennedy Hardman both said that Marshall’s behavior had drawn negative attention throughout the game, not just at the end of it. Hardman said Marshall was visited by security at least three times throughout the game, and that at one point, Marshall’s daughter apologized for her mom’s behavior.
Fellas, talk about a ride or die chick. Gregg Marshall, I love your wife. Inappropriate? ...maybe Entertaining? ...YES ! (Security visit #3) pic.twitter.com/cF6SGQUNYK— Kennedy Hardman (@kennedy_hardman) March 19, 2017
Hardman also tweeted a video of Marshall, which remains up.
Should Lynn Marshall have been removed sooner?
According to accounts, security members said they felt they “had to be delicate” with Marshall because she was the coach’s wife. Franklin alleges that Marshall’s behavior pushed arena staff’s patience:
Someone from the NCAA came and got my name and told me I could no longer tweet about her because “it made her upset.” I guess it didn’t make anyone else upset when she told Malik Monk to get in the weight room or told Isaiah Briscoe to buy some bigger shorts or told Calipari to “shut the f-ck up” or told Roger Ayers he is garbage or any of the other classy things she yelled between F-bombs.
But I’m the bad guy for drawing attention to her. I guess I deserved the “MOTHER F-CKER!” after the game.
If those things are accurate, then the arena staff would have been fully within its rights to remove her sooner.
The NCAA’s alleged attempt to suppress this story only escalated it
Franklin said NCAA officials went to him in person and made him delete the video of Marshall because she had seen it and was upset:
NCAA guys stood over me and made me delete the tweet. I'm sure they're reading this. I plan to tweet it again as soon as I leave here.— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) March 19, 2017
Trying to remove something from the internet only amplifies its message. That’s the Streisand effect, but people in positions of power still clearly haven’t learned that lesson. Franklin’s video — which was fairly innocuous! — had already been disseminated by the time the NCAA made him delete it. So it would have existed even if Franklin and Kentucky Sports Radio didn’t choose to repost it. (You can see the video here.)
That said, the NCAA disputes Franklin’s series of events, saying no one asked him to delete the video — at least, no one acting under directions from the NCAA.
“We do have a policy that no one can shoot video from inside the bowl once we get to within 30 minutes of the first game of a session,” NCAA spokesman David Worlock told Philly.com’s Rob Tornoe. “So yesterday in Indianapolis, that would have been a half-hour prior to the Michigan-Louisville game.”
Franklin said his encounter was with two NCAA officials, while Tornoe writes that a source said it could have been an Indiana Pacers employee acting without permission.
Regardless, thanks to the censorship that appeared to take place, this story has even more life today.
Nobody comes out of this looking good
Lynn Marshall doesn’t come away from this looking good. As a Wichita State superfan, we’re rooting for her to be as loud and passionate as she wants — up to the point where she’s being visited by security several times and eventually escorted from the arena. It’s safe to say that’s the line fans shouldn’t cross.
Arena security members don’t come away from this looking good either. They appeared to give special treatment to Marshall because she was the head coach’s wife. While initially understandable, it seemed like they would have been justified in removing her earlier if she was causing as many problems as was reported. Instead, they failed to act until the game was over.
Finally, the NCAA doesn’t come away from this looking good. It attempted to bully a media member into censoring a story that it didn’t like, and that only added fuel to the fire.
Franklin appeared to come out of this situation unscathed, saying the NCAA hasn’t taken away his credentials for covering Kentucky next weekend. After all, he had every right to report on a situation that was happening right behind him.
Franklin probably shouldn’t have been piling on and tweeting out memes about Marshall, and Hardman’s tweets could have provided less unfounded commentary (she included the hashtag “#DrunkMomProbz” in one), though that’s a smaller addendum to a story full of people making more significant mistakes.
Sunday featured several thrilling games and amazing performances. Instead of talking about those, we’re here discussing a coach’s wife. That’s unfortunate.