MEMPHIS, Tenn. — When an Alabama radio personality called Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze a “snake-oil salesman” on air Monday, the insult eventually reached its intended target.
Ryan C. Fowler made the comment while on a show in Jackson, Miss., prompting Rebels fans to retaliate against Fowler on Twitter.
When Fowler tweeted about the negative response, Freeze unexpectedly sent something back.
“Keep honoring our Lord (in) this world,” Freeze wrote to Fowler. “Salt and light are needed. Sorry for the attacks you got today.”
@RyanCFowler Keep honoring our Lord is this world. Salt and light are needed. Sorry for the attacks you got today.
— Hugh Freeze (@CoachHughFreeze) July 18, 2016
Asked about the tweet on Monday night, Freeze said he didn’t realize Fowler had called him a “snake-oil salesman.” (The university did, however, confirm that Freeze sent the response).
“I probably get called things like that everyday,” he told SEC Country before a fan event at Memphis Botanic Garden. “Certainly I’m far from perfect, but I do believe I have the right core values, and I am a man of faith. And the ones who really know me, know that. I probably can’t do a whole lot to change that perception with those that will never get to know me. So you kind of come to peace with that.”
Last week, Freeze faced tough questions from reporters at SEC Media Days, and he showed some humility in while discussing the currently NCAA investigation his program faces.
He displayed similar poise Monday, sounding resigned to his fate … whatever that is.
“You only worry about things you can control, and you have no control over the process,” Freeze said. “We’re just gonna be very cooperative in it, all the way through it. Hopefully, it gets to an end fairly quick, but it’s been a long process.”
That investigation involves 28 alleged violations within the athletic department, including 13 within the football program.
The school announced several self-assessed penalties earlier this summer in an effort to appease the NCAA office. There is currently no public timetable for the governing body’s decision on whether the Rebels deserve further punishment.
Freeze sees the situation as an opportunity to grow.
“It certainly has brought us — as a unit in our building — a lot closer,” Freeze said. “Hopefully, it has awakened a lot of people around our program of just the scrutiny that we’re under, because we’re very good, and we need to do everything right all the time. So I think it’s heightened all of our awareness to that. And adversity always — if it’s handled the right way — brings you closer together.”