Myles Jack’s Departure – No Wonder Jim Mora Doesn’t Trust the Press


Following Myles Jack‘s announcement today that he’s leaving school to focus on rehabbing his knee and preparing for the NFL draft, the media has chosen to focus on Jim Mora‘s press conference remarks, creating a narrative in which Mora undermined his star player and second-guessed Jack’s decision.

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As covered earlier by Go Joe Bruin, Myles Jack announced today that he is withdrawing from UCLA in order to focus on recovering from the torn meniscus that ended his season and preparing for April’s NFL draft. Accompanying the announcement, Mora gave a press conference and answered questions about his relationship with Jack and what advice he gave Jack during the decision-making process. Matt Joye of the Daily Bruin shared the transcript:

The story that circulated around the internet quickly became, ‘Jack leaves UCLA for draft; Mora calls move “very risky.”‘ This was the headline circulated by the Associated Press and ESPN. While not technically incorrect, this narrative takes Mora’s remarks out of context and makes his opinion as much of a story as Jack’s decision to leave.

Sep 19, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins linebacker Myles Jack (30) warms up before the game against the Brigham Young Cougars at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

That thread has been taken up by Adam Lewis of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Jack’s hometown paper, who said that Mora was ‘less than thrilled’ with Jack’s departure. Jason McIntyre of Fox Sports Radio called Mora’s remarks ‘weak’. If you go back and click on that link at the top of the previous paragraph, you’ll see widespread criticism of Mora as petty, selfish, and vindictive.

RELATED: The Evolution of Jim Mora

If you’ve read the transcript, however, you’ll note that nowhere does Mora say that Jack needs more developing or more experience to become a better player. Nowhere does he suggest that Jack is in any way unprepared to compete in the NFL. He’s not undercutting Jack’s draft-worthiness.

He’s only suggesting that the byzantine, risk-averse NFL – where one scout, remember, said that Marcus Mariota‘s lack of red flags was itself a red flag (!?!) – won’t be fully able to appreciate Jack’s ability from his two years of game tape. You can agree or disagree with this assessment, but it’s a far cry from calling him not draft-ready and questioning Jack’s value to an NFL team, which is what most of the media coverage would have you believe.

The pièce de résistance along these lines is an article by SB Nation: Why is UCLA coach Jim Mora questioning Myles Jack’s draft stock? This article was shared by their NFL and College Football divisions as well as their Pac-12 blog, Pacific Takes.

The reason that so many are ready to buy into this narrative is that it fits with what has been said about Mora in the past. Some of this reputation is earned, from when he publicly blamed Olindo Mare for a Seahawks loss. Some of it is overblown, like when Mora chewed Josh Rosen out during fall practice and everyone got all worked up about it. But either way, this notion that Mora publicly undercuts players has become part of his public identity, a lens through which all his future remarks about players will be viewed.

RELATED: Mora Yells at Rosen – Good News for UCLA

It’s unfortunate. It’s also lazy and misleading journalism. And, again, it’s no wonder that Mora has a somewhat adversarial relationship with the press.

Next: Offensive Line Comes Up Short Against ASU

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