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The State will allow Ron Morris to cover South Carolina football again

Steve-Spurrier-South-CarolinaEarlier this week, we shared with you a surprising report about a South Carolina newspaper writer being banned from covering Gamecocks football. Ron Morris, who is a columnist for The State, has developed a poor relationship with Steve Spurrier over the years because of Morris’ tendency to criticize the South Carolina football team.

Spurrier once refused to answer questions at a press conference as long as Morris was in the room. The hatred the Ole Ball Coach has toward Morris grew from there, and eventually Morris was told to stay away from the Gamecocks. Mark Lett, executive editor of the State, sent an email to his colleagues on Thursday that essentially announced Morris is once again free to cover any topic he’d like. A copy of the email was obtained by JimRomenesko.com:

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South Carolina newspaper bans Ron Morris from covering Gamecocks football

Steve-Spurrier-South-CarolinaA little over two years ago, South Carolina football coach Steve Spurrier went on one of his most epic rants to date when he refused to answer questions during his press conference as long as a certain reporter was in the room. That beat writer was The State’s Ron Morris, and apparently Spurrier no longer has to deal with him.

According to JimRomenesko.com, Morris has been banned from covering South Carolina football by his publisher. Several people who are familiar with the situation reportedly told Romenesko that Henry Haitz III, the publisher of The State, made Morris agree in writing that he would never write about Gamecocks football again or talk about it on television and radio shows. One of Morris’ former colleagues described it as a “journalism restraining order.”

“The publisher of the paper has removed Ron from any coverage of the football program, which down there is akin to the Washington Post not letting Dan Balz write about government,” an ex-colleague reportedly said. “Effectively, he’s being forced out at the behest of the football coach, with the publisher not standing up for him.”

In other words, Spurrier won. At the time of his tirade in 2011, the Ole Ball Coach said Morris was one of two reporters that he has ever had to completely dissociate himself from in 26 years of coaching. Morris had become known for writing columns that were critical of Spurrier’s decisions, and he pushed the 68-year-old over the edge when he wrote a piece accusing Spurrier of stealing a player from the school’s basketball program.

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