Long time Tulsa World and The Oklahoman sport columnist Dave Sittler has retired. The announcement comes less than a month after he he was caught on camera stating that former OU coach John Blake was a “slap dick” and was only hired because he was black. From Sittler’s farewell column in the Tulsa World:
Mike Sowell told me this day would come. But my good friend didn’t warn me how quickly it would arrive.
Sowell’s prediction came during a job interview. As sports editor of the Tulsa Tribune, Sowell’s sales pitch was simple and direct – he said I would fall so in love with Tulsa that I’d never leave. And my writing career would blossom because of the opportunity to cover so many teams and big-time events.
That was more than 26 years ago. And everything Sowell promised me on that day came true.
Tulsa remained my home even during the seven years I wrote for The Oklahoman in Oklahoma City.
And it’s been such an incredibly exciting journey that it truly feels like I accepted Sowell’s offer last week instead of on a hot August afternoon in 1985.
But my birth certificate, my AARP card and my beautiful bride have all confirmed that it’s time to retire. Well, at least on a full-time basis.
So while this is a farewell column, it isn’t the final one. My bosses at the Tulsa World have graciously offered me the opportunity to continue writing columns from time to time.
Hopefully, after taking my first prolonged break from writing in 41-plus years, I’ll have the urge to take them up on their part-time plan.
Yeah, we thought the the same thing. That Sittler’s being forced out due to the camera goof at the Fiesta Bowl. But we asked some Moles for their thoughts on the situation, and they honestly didn’t think the two things were related. Granted, Donnie Duncan did tell us that Sittler should be fired for being a blantant liar and stooge, but who can blame him.
Despite the timing of Sittler’s announcement, I kind of believe what our Moles are saying. If the Tulsa World had a big problem with Sittler’s gaffe, they would have acted sooner. And even though the whole exchange with Bill Young was awkward, what Sittler stated was accurate and true. John Blake was slap dick, and let’s be honest, race probably played a factor in the University’s decision to hire him. Plus, the talk was supposed to be off-record.
Anyway, this kind of sucks. I have always liked Sittler. I think he’s the closest thing this state has ever had to an “East Coast” style sports columnist. He always seemed step or two ahead on story, and his columns had a pointed, cynical edge to them. At press conferences, he was never scared to ask a tough question, and wouldn’t back down after doing so. Good luck to him the rest of the way.
p.s.- I always just (update: incorrectly) assumed that Sittler wrote the Picker column. If he’s quitting that, too, can we take it over? I think we could do it pretty well.
Thanks! Your message has been sent!