Barber Asks, “Do You Just Want Us To Fail?”

September 29th, 2009
Ronde Barber is upset with the Bucs beat writers. The Bucs icon would like the media to embrace more positive stories.

Ronde Barber is upset with Bucs beat writers. The Bucs icon would like the media to embrace more positive stories. He says their negativity is part of what's "wrong with society."

Ronde Barber has a question for Bucs beat writers and those who cover the team regularly. 

He asked it live on the radio tonight on Total Access, a Buccaneers Radio Network call-in show on 620 WDAE-AM.

In response to a caller who asked Barber whether he is influenced by the media, Barber thanked the caller for raising a subject he’s wanted to talk about publicly for a long time.

Then an annoyed and passionate Barber said he dislikes the barrage of negativity from the Bucs beat writers even during good Bucs seasons and asked, “To our beat guys, ‘Do you just want us to fail?'”

Barber went on to say he embraces positive thinking and that constant negativity from the media is part of “what’s wrong with society.”

Good guy Total Access host Scott Ledger responded to Barber by saying Web sites and blogs should be added to the list of negative media outlets and “I agree with you.”

Joe just about drove off the road listening to such crybaby drivel.

First off, Barber and Ledger need to realize the Bucs have rejected opportunities for positive media coverage. has first-hand experience. Here’s just one example, of many:

Last week, on Tuesday, Sept. 22, contacted the Bucs in hopes of having its award-winning feature writers produce uplifiting Bucs features stories in the face of largely negative media coverage following an 0-2 start. Joe suggested a profile on Tim Crowder, who got good reviews in his first game for the Bucs against Buffalo. Joe also suggested an interview with wide receivers coach Richard Mann, who has done a seemingly great job with the Bucs young receivers on the heels of his success with Antonio Bryant last year. Joe also suggested an interview with Joe Barry to talk Xs and Os about Geno Hayes’ emergence.

So far, Joe hasn’t had a response.

Here’s the unedited e-mail Joe sent to the Bucs media relations chief on Sept. 22.

Hi, Jeff,

I’d love to put out some more positive news on the Bucs. But it’s a huge challenge without access, as you  can imagine.

As I explained, our goal is to cover the Bucs differently than the other outlets. Sort of go right when they go left.

Various media outlets are down on the Bucs. For me it’s the perfect time to talk to the wide receivers coach about how well the receivers have played, among the best in the league. Or it would be a great time to do a Q&A with Maurice Stovall, or Tim Crowder, who Raheem praised yesterday and is new to Bucs fans. Or talk to Joe Barry about Geno Hayes’
emergence and how his speed affects the game.

If you’d like to make any of these stories happen, or if you have something else in mind, I’d be happy to get it done over the next two days. It’s the kind of stuff the hardcore fans craves.

At we’re on pace for 100,000 visitors this month. The Clear Channel partnership has really ramped things up a notch.

Thanks for your consideration. Hope all is well with you. —Steve

Steven Isbitts

Barber and Ledger need to realize that all is not as it seems when it comes to media coverage.
If Barber doesn’t like what he’s reading, then maybe instead of being a whiner he should offer his services to the newspapers. What a great way for him to help repair “what’s wrong with society.”
Every last newspaper would be happy to have Barber write a weekly notebook or insider story or two. (You’re always welcome here at, Ronde. Joe will even transcribe your every word.)
Ironically, Barber is a Bucs icon who largely has been embraced by the media for many years until a string of poor games last season, which sent him into seclusion from the media. It was odd that Barber went into hiding, considering he’s a guy who has worked hard to be a part of the media himself.
Barber co-hosted a show on Sirius NFL Radio for three seasons. He was a regular co-host for years on Sunday Sports Extra on WFLA-TV. And for many years he had The Ronde Barber Show on 620 WDAE-AM.
Now Joe could write on and on about the subject of media coverage but will stuff a sock in it here.
But Joe does have to question the wisdom of Barber calling out the media for negativity just hours after the Bucs turned in one of the worst performances is franchise history. That’s horrendous timing. And it makes him look naive.

38 Responses to “Barber Asks, “Do You Just Want Us To Fail?””

  1. Justin Says:

    Sorry Barber but journalists are not the same as propagandists–well they are actually if they are covering Obama…

    But back to the point, I agree with Joe. Writers are supposed to cover reality, not what they want reality to be.

    If Barber and co. want more positivity when they read their paper in the morning, they should win some games.

  2. nick Says:

    hey joe, its not a big deal but anyway you can put it on the homepage how many viewers actually come here??? just curious… thx man

  3. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    Nick, not sure what you’re asking, but JoeBucsFan takes 3,000+ visits per day more or less. It’s referenced in this story.

  4. Joe Says:

    Well Nick, this month (September) the figure will be in the neighborhood of 200,000 page views.

    Unlike some other (ahem) places, Joe doesn’t rely on 80 percent of his pageviews from a message board forum. And Joe has more readers than several local sports radio shows have listeners. A certain clown in the afternoon who can’t pull a 0.1 rating springs to mind.

    This figure is 13 months after Joe was launched and had no pageviews.

    Joe is extremely humbled by the following, which grows and grows and never ceases to amaze Joe.

    As far as the “negative coverage” Barber mentioned, Joe has contacted roughly a dozen representatives of Bucs players both past and present over the past several months, offering to help promote whatever charity function or cause they are involved with in return for a feature story on said player.

    Thus far, only a handful of those player representatives have taken Joe up on his offer.

    So if Barber is so distressed about “negative” media coverage, maybe he should start pointing a finger at his and his teammates’ (and even the Bucs’) media liaisons.

    Or is he just blowing smoke to draw attention to his radio show?

    Joe has told this to Jeff Kamis personally as well as none other than Mark Dominik himself: Not once has Joe done a hatchet job on any player he has had access to — not once! Nor will he.

    If a player is going to be kind enough to give Joe a few moments, Joe feels it’s only ethical to be fair to the player.

    In this age of rapidly decreasing local mainstream media coverage (not the fault of the local beat writers in any way; it’s just economics) Joe is absolutely baffled why his services and forum are not utilized.

    So you can see why Joe is highly skeptical of Barber’s outburst, and frankly, saddened by it. Joe likes Ronde.

  5. Jackson Says:

    Your exactly the type of negative crap he’s talking about. Good for Barber.

  6. Nick Says:

    On some websites there is a spot on the homepage that shows viewers how many people have came to the site. Kinda like youtube. I just think it would be neat to show new viewers how kick ass this site actually is so they will tell their friends….. Sadly I’m the only Bucs fan within miles of my house. My brother is a Panthers fan so he is always talking trash when I check your site. It’s hard to be a bucs fan when ur just about the only one in NC so I cant really bring many new viewers to the site…… All I know is I think it would be cool to show people how popular you really are.. Keep up the good work… Love the site, been here daily sometimes 2 times a day since I believe last Nov. Thanks Joe.

  7. Joe Says:

    Thanks for the kind words Nick. Appreciate it.

  8. Pete Says:

    In any media there’s no news like bad news – makes better copy. Sells papers. The nature of the beast.

  9. Ian Says:

    “So far, Joe hasn’t had a response.”

    That sounds like crybaby drivel to me. Pot meet Kettle.

  10. Tom Edrington Says:

    Joe: You are so very right on with this post. I can speak first-hand as a former 10-year veteran of the Tribune back in the olden days, spent many days at One Buc Trailer Park….was young Richie McKay’s golf buddy, drank many pitchers with then Bucs quarterback Steve Spurrier and our buddy former tight end Bobby Moore.

    Can you imagine doing that now? It was a different time and era but still, now, the PR departments have to realize that the majority of readership is of the online variety. I write for three online outlets (yes, out of retirement, basically doing it “for the love of the game” without pay). No one wants to grant access unless your Fox Sports online, CBS sports online, you know, an offshoot of the companies that pay huge money to the NFL.

    That being said, this is an age-old problem. Buys like Barber want coverage when they’re in a golf tournament somewhere….or trying to boost their “image”.

    I run into the same thing with USF. They are not friendly unless it’s the rah-rah websites or the main print media. They feel they don’t need to make friends, which they really do. A school like USF needs all the help and exposure it can get…same with the Buccaneers.

    They may or may not get the message as ticket sales go in the crapper.

    What they don’t realize it that when they win, readership goes up, interest goes up, everything is up.

    If they want real negativity, all they need do is replay their game video from that horrendous effort against the Giants.

    It’s one thing to lose and compete hard, but this team is not even competing and the folks who buy tickets see that.

    The front office needs to compete as well and strive for all the exposure it can get….but the more “online” guys they let in, heaven forbid, the more work they would have to do to line up players for sitdowns and they certainly don’t want that, do they?

    Great post Joe, but it has been that way for decades and some things never change. Although back when Bobby Bowden was building the FSU program, he gave me INCREDIBLE access, I can tell you about it sometime if we cross paths.



  11. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    Ian, You are way off base. Joe’s not complaining about anything. Barber is.

  12. Sgt Mike Says:

    Questioning team decisions when they suck really bad as a loyal (me since ’77) is a god givin right. We support the team in our merchandise, ticket and cable sports package purchases. The fact that the Glazers will not spend what the league allows and revenue shares to them is appalling. They certainly have not put there best foot forward. The teams apologist hint that it is because of a possible uncapped year and salaries that could spike out of control. I call bullshit. There’s only about 10 to 15 teams that could sustain an uncapped year and be competitive. It’s all hype and the league, owners and players understand what can happen. Just like when baseball had it’s labor woe’s and strike. They lost there fanbase to football. Now football rivals baseball as americas pasttime. The NFL should be very careful not pis off it’s fanbase. I relly think they would hate the negativity coming from fans and media then. Ronde has been a fan favorite for a long time. It would be good for him to shut up, make his millions and find a way to make his team a contender again or at least competitive. He can choose not to talk to anyone about negative crap but don’t shut us out it’s bad policy to shut out those who ultimately pay you or at the very least make it possible for someone to pay you those big ass duckins. I think the league and players need to tread lightly as they could see a backlash from the fanbase for years to come especially considering the current economic climate. We just don’t have the money to support you overpriced players anymore. Ronde and others would do well to take advantage of all good PR opportunities. You want to talk about a beating from the media try listening to talk radio and sports news in Washington DC where I am now. I know Joe gets on there backs a lot but it’s usually the real deal. I don’t always agree with the views here but as a longtime Bucs fan living outside of Tampa since being in the military I get better scoops form this site than most others. BSPN will say “Lefty benched for JJ” , Joe say’s ” Lefty benched for JJ and Freeman #2 and Raheem …”. Anyway, Ronde get over it. If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the kitchen or start winning.

  13. Sgt Mike Says:

    DC talk radio beats the crap out of the Redskins, Snyder, Zorn, Campbell, Haynesworth, Portis and on and on. These guys take a real beating and there are 2 talk radio sports stations on FM I’m afraid to listen to AM.

  14. Joe Says:

    What they don’t realize it that when they win, readership goes up, interest goes up, everything is up.


    Joe can confirm your information about Bobby Bowden. He’s still pretty open and very approachable. Joe a few years ago tried to get a hold of Joe Paterno. It was easier to crack the Kremlin.

    The sad thing about Barber’s comments is he is a bright guy but his comments were so foolishly inaccuarate. He claims the local MSM doesn’t want the Bucs to win is, on face value, ludicrous. Ask any beat writer — from high school through the pros — what is easier: Covering a winning team or a losing team? Ask any ad rep (TV, radio, print) about ad sales when the local teams do well.

    It’s hard for Joe to believe a smart guy (who has worked in the fourth estate) like Barber would say something so dumb. Joe has to believe Barber was fishing for attention for his radio show.

  15. leningan Says:

    grasping at straws but, perhaps Barber was attempting to put a public face/voice on the “it’s us against the world” mentality that I hope is taking over the locker room… ??

  16. Joe Says:


    Possibly. As Joe has written already in this thread: Barber is not dumb. Either he is terribly naive or this is an ulterior motive to get attention for his radio show.

  17. Mike Says:

    God I love coming onto any and every website known to man and finding at least one bitter little windbag to throw a crack at the President. President Obama. Suck on that one and get back to the deep fryer, pissant.

    And don’t be shocked that Ledger is all rah-rah. Have you ever listened to his postgame shows? If you even dare hint at the team/organization doing something wrong, he’ll cut you off quicker than Lorena Bobbitt. Talk about toeing the company line (and I thought TJ Rives was bad).

  18. KennyL Says:

    Ledger deserves some slack. He works for the Buccaneers radio network. And he dances the line of criticism at times. IMO, he does a solid job for his homer role. Way better than Rich Herrera.

  19. Ricky Rubio Says:

    Crybaby drivel? Why is that every time someone questions the objectivity or role of the media, the media all shout that person down? Media (blogs, papers, whatever…) need thicker skin. They spend their entire work day questioning people, usually over something they have very little experience in, and when the tables are turned and they are questioned, the media hops on their high horse and screams about being objective blah, blah, blah. You, and by that I mean the media, have a daily forum to express your thoughts an opinions, often unobjectively, and no one else has the ability or forum to disagree or question you. That’s quite the existence for a whole industry isn’t it?

    All it seems to me is that Barber was raising a question about the objectivity of the local media? Granted, his timing was bad, but why is that such a horrible question?

  20. rodeho Says:

    This is ONE media outlet that has tried to shed a positive light on a struggling Bucs team. Maybe Ronde should not have opened his mouth on this topic but you have to understand his frustration.

  21. BigMacAttack Says:

    Wow Ronde, you should get a job with Fox News. They love to bash the MSM. Wait, they are the media. Anyway, I’m sure Ronde’s words of whit will definitely help the situation. Not. Ronde should feel lucky that it isn’t the Cleveland Buccaneers where fans would have been throwing things mid way through the first quarter. Ronde is the president of the Raheemster’s Union, and a solid backer of this incompetence going on. Maybe Ronde should just shut up and play Football, and maybe King Raheem should call Derrick Brooks to teach his defense how to read plays, make plays, and tackle. Oh yea, wake Bates up who has been sleeping on the sidelines and tell him the party’s over. Bubbbbye.

  22. Joe Says:


    Thank you for the kind words. Much appreciated.

    Look, folks, before this gets out of hand, this is not a bash-Ronde Barber item. Barber has been cool with Joe when we’ve spoken and Joe respects Barber a great deal.

    This thread is about Barber’s absurd comment and how in fact (most) player’s media representatives if not the Bucs themselves either don’t want “positive stories” or make little to no effort to ensure “positive stories” are placed in the local Fourth Estate.

    For example, is there another player on the Bucs playing better than Donald Penn (a Joe post on him coming later)? Have you seen, heard or read anything about Penn of any substance? To be able to write or produce a quality story on Penn, or to hear an interview with him on the radio, the Bucs have to make him available.

  23. Brian Says:

    Typical media. Someone calls them out and they close ranks. I thought Joe was supposed to “go right when they go left.”

    What’s worse…a player complaining about media coverage, or a media outlet complaining about the access the Bucs give him? Close call

  24. Joe Says:


    No need to move the goal posts, but nice try.

    Joe is pointing out what Barber is complaining about would be the same as an owner of a bar whining that people in his establishment aren’t drinking beer. Maybe he might want to offer a bottle opener? People can’t drink the beer (Kool-Aid?) if someone doesn’t first open the bottle.

    Please re-read this post. Joe’s not complaining about access, just simply clarifying for Ronde Barber and Scott Ledger that any logical discussion about media coverage has to look at the Bucs’ role in driving the coverage. And sometimes that’s about access.

    More importantly Brian, thanks for reading and commenting. Joe appreciates the feedback.

  25. Ricky Rubio Says:

    Barber wasn’t complaining about this site, he was apparently complaining about the beat writers…and they do have access. You are implying the the coverage has been negative in the Tirbune and Times is negative because they don’t have access.

  26. Joe Says:


    Joe will ask again, has anyone seen/read/heard anything of substance about Donald Penn?

    With the exception of the locker room after a game, for any credentialed reporter to talk to a player, the reporter has to go through a Bucs representative to get access to the player. Woody Cummings or the Mad Twitterer just can’t walk up to Penn in a deli or go banging on his front door at night.

    Covering an NFL team is not like covering a baseball team where you pretty much have access to everyone on a nightly basis.

    And as Joe has pointed out already in this thread, what newspaper wouldn’t jump at the chance to run a weekly column by a player? The team has to allow such a forum.

    Also, in Joe’s 20+ years as a sports journalist, he’s found it nearly impossible to write positive stories about such a piss poor team without losing any and all semblence of honesty and credibility. Joe doesn’t write romance novels nor is his name Sally Jenkins.

  27. John Says:

    Hmmm not sure you listened to him.. He mentioned he understands it now but wants a more positive outlook. But the main thing your not mentioning is the part that really bugged him was that even when they won the superbowl people were posting negatively on them. Best team in the NFL and rather then congratulate and celebrate these sites were harping on what they did wrong and bashing them. His point was that no matter what they do how they do it good or bad the reporters never reflect that and go with the negative. he believes that feeding off the positive would better support the team then constantly pointing negatives and NO Positives. he was not saying do not print the reality call it as is but not just the negatives.

    kinda like everyone harping on how bad Leftwich is. When he was rated as the #4 quarterback in yards for the first two games. Third yeah he stunk it up.. I am not a leftwich fan and believe if they want a winning QB get garcia back..

  28. Joe Says:


    Who exactly was “bashing” the Bucs when they won the Super Bowl?

    And once again, this is a two-way street. Maybe if the Bucs front office was a little more proactive in getting certain stories out, Barber would read about them. Has Barber offered to write a column for any of the local fishwraps (including the Lakeland Ledger, Bradenton Herald or the Sarasota Tribune-Review)?

    Here, Joe will help out Ronde:

    And thanks for commenting John. Joe appreciates it.

  29. John K. Says:

    Why in the world are you taking Ronde Barber to task for speaking the truth?! The media in this area and nationally is extremely negative the majority of the time. Listen to talk radio and you’d think the Bucs won’t win a game for the rest of eternity and Raheem Morris is the worst hire in NFL history after 3 games. 3! He starts Josh Johnson and immediately you think someone up on high is directing him to play Josh? Could it be

    Ronde had a few off games last year and suddenly he’s ripped for being washed up and old. The media’s job is to report the news of the team and too often reporting is misconstrued for commentary. There are columnists and there are reporters but in this area your title doesn’t seem to matter because you can do both at all times.

    For the blogs they are what they are. You’re obviously not an accredited media member for the team or else you’d have that access to the players. Your intentions may be good but you’re a blog for fans. The Bucs and every other franchise would have to give out media access to every “joe schmoe” that came their way and I can understand not wanting to do that.

    Which raises another issue. All these reporters and columnists and leaving their papers and big media outlets to set up shop on the internet on their own and that’s great. Ultimately the fan wins but you can’t go crying woe is me when you leave a place that did have access to all these franchises and expect the same access. If I want to leave a big corporation and start my own business I can’t complain that I don’t have the benefits any more of that corporation.

  30. Ricky Rubio Says:

    Me thinks Joe is contradicting himself/herself/whoeverself.

    I’d love to put out some more positive news on the Bucs. But it’s a huge challenge without access, as you can imagine.

    As I explained, our goal is to cover the Bucs differently than the other outlets. Sort of go right when they go left.

    Followed by…

    Also, in Joe’s 20+ years as a sports journalist, he’s found it nearly impossible to write positive stories about such a piss poor team without losing any and all semblence of honesty and credibility. Joe doesn’t write romance novels nor is his name Sally Jenkins.

    So which is? You can’t write positive stories because your lack of access or you can’t write positive stories because you would lose your credibility?

    Is it also your stance that positive stories aren’t being written about Donald Penn because he isn’t made available to the media?!?!?! I have NO idea if he isn’t allowed to talk or not, but why would they hide him?

  31. Joe Says:

    John K.

    No need to move the goal posts. This post is not about Joe. This post is about calling bullshit on Barber’s moronic statement.

    Please read the original post again.

  32. Ricky Rubio Says:

    John K.

    No need to move the goal posts. This post is not about Joe. This post is about calling bullshit on Barber’s moronic statement.

    Please read the original post again.

    Again, your stance makes no sense. YOU called Barber out for what you felt was a moronic statement, so it is in part about you. If someone disagrees with your stance, they have every right to call bullshit on you. What’s the difference between you calling out or disagreeing with Barber and someone disagreeing with you?

  33. Joe Says:

    Three things Ricky:

    1) Please feel free to document all the postiive things about the Bucs based on their game with New York Sunday. Take your time.

    2) As an example of why Barber is full of shit (Joe’s getting tired of being nice), Joe contacted the Bucs earlier this season offering to write a positive story (if you search real hard, one can find one or two items) in order to give Bucs fans more reasons to come to Joe’s site. Joe reads that he’s too negative too. Joe sent the e-mail some weeks ago. He’s still waiting on a reply. Hey, if the Bucs don’t want to give Joe the time of day (which may be odd because Joe has received phone calls from Bucs officials before), that’s fine. No hair off of Joe’s ass.

    Joe’s also contacted various player reps offering puff-piece stories and Joe has mostly been ignored. Fine. No problem. Glad your charity is raking in so much cash you don’t need Joe. That’s OK. Again, Joe’s not losing any sleep.

    So when a prominent member of the Bucs starts crying that the pen and mic club along with blogs are too negative, Joe’s calling bullshit.

    3) Is it also your stance that positive stories aren’t being written about Donald Penn because he isn’t made available to the media?!?!?! I have NO idea if he isn’t allowed to talk or not, but why would they hide him?

    That’s a damned good question Ricky. Joe can name at least 30 media members accredited by the Bucs off of the top of his head. No stories — none — that Joe has seen/read/heard about Penn which is pretty damned obvious to Joe that the Bucs have not made Penn available to any reporters. You can’t tell Joe there’s some conspiracy to not write/produce/interview Penn (Joe will later today; obviously sans quotes). You can’t tell Joe that even some see-no-evil, hear-no-evil radio whore like Paul Porter (who lets anyone not named “Joe Redner” co-host a show with him so long as they cut him a check) is also in on such a conspiracy against Penn?

  34. Joe Says:

    So let me get this straight Ricky, Joe caught Barber in a major lie and it’s about Joe? Are you kidding ????????

    It’s not what Joe feels, Joe provided ample evidence that Barber is full of it.

  35. Justin Says:

    Hey Mike (the regular one, not the Sgt), that was a great response! Do I even need to remind you that my comment was about the media, not actually about Obama?

    You seem to have trouble with facts, words, and using the space bar.

    If you are interested in losing a political debate, just keep on talking, friend.

  36. Ricky Rubio Says:

    So Ronde is full of shit because you offered the Bucs an opportunity to write a positive story? Is that really your logic? Hilarious, absolutely hilarious. Do you think a) he knows that joebucsfan exists or b) that you offered to write a positive story?

    and what happened to all the talk that writing a positive story right now would ruin your credibility? You can’t bemoan the lack of access for not writing a certain slant, THEN say you can’t write positive right now because it ruins your credibility.

  37. admin Says:

    Joe here,

    Ricky, two suggestions for you:

    1) Re-read the original post and realize that this is factual commentary about Ronde Barber and Bucs media coverage. Anything else is you bringing your own baggage and agenda.

    2) Your IP address is from a very interesting company. Joe sincerely hopes you bring the same passion to your employer.

  38. JK Says:

    Joe, I think some of what Barber says holds water. I lived near Tampa over 20 years and never could understand why writers wouldn’t get behind the Bucs. I just figured with so many transplants that their true passion was for a team up North. Even with good times and there weren’t many the local media always seemed like they tried to tear the Bucs apart.