Dallas Sports Powerhouse






Friday, September 29, 2006

Final Thought: Media

"Coach, do you feel that the off the field incidents will become a distraction for your team?"

This is perhaps the most ignorant, repetitive and rhetorical question in sports today. If you say "yes", you shouldn't be in a coaching capacity of any sorts. If you say "no", the media will ignore your statement and claim that you aren't being truthful.

So, if you will not be satisfied with the answer, why ask the question?

My wife does the same thing. There is a brief moment of fear in thinking that you may have the audacity to answer incorrectly. But, when you realize that you are in a no-win situation, you just look for the "right thing to say". I.E. What will cause the least amount of collateral damage?

I am pumped for the Cowboys/Titans showdown this weekend. It will be the first time the Dallas market gets to view Vince Young in a professional capacity. (Allegedly) But the T.O. situation has overshadowed the "sure win" for the Cowboys. While my man-crush on anything VY is strong, I realize that the Titans aren't exactly bringing the pain this year. But, what if they keep it close, or worse, win? The dominant story won't be the play of their team, but the lack of focus from the Cowboys due to T.O.'s brush with certain death.

This is utterly ridiculous. Every NFL roster has 63 of the most finely tuned athletes in the world earning millions upon millions of dollars for their on the field ability and composure. For the media to assume that anything other than a crashing blitz can distract a professional quarterback from completing a pass is plain stupid. As a journalism graduate, I am shocked of the hypocrisy from that line of thinking. Here are people that are trained to deliver a robotic interpretation of the news without becoming emotionally invested in the subject content. Yet, they find that no one outside of the copy and teleprompter bubble could possibly hold the same standard of just doing your job. A reporter is simply a viewer's conduit to keeping up with the day's events. You don't speak into the camera about an 80 year-old grandmother killed in a house fire, emotionally lose your composure and rant about how the tragedy could have been prevented. That would be a different category of suicide...career suicide.

Imagine working for a high profile company and having the CEO's wife pass away. You certainly feel sympathy for the CEO and his family, but the need to function and be productive for your employer doesn't cease. Now, every time you leave the office, 30 reporters are shoving microphones in your face to talk about the passing of the CEO's wife. So, you have dealt with the emotional scar internally, but now you have a barrage of people picking at the scab hoping to see it bleed. Having been focused on your job, you weren't even thinking about the situation until they brought it up. The fact that they are is the TRUE distraction. All you wanted to do is get in your car after a long day at the office and relax. But, some news channel or writer is aiming to win a prestigious award at your expense.

And doesn't some unspoken hostility form towards the greiving person...however misguided? After all, it isn't your function to play unwilling PR duty when you have done nothing wrong.

If the Cowboys lose on Sunday, it won't be because they got beaten by a better team. It's because they did not properly execute their plays. Pinning the blame on a couple of swallowed pills is a lousy scapegoat.


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