You Say Tomato, I Say Tomahto
With Marshawn Lynch set to make his return to the NFl with the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders (argh), many are wondering whether he will continue his postgame shenanigans with the media. Lynch is famous for either not responding to the media or giving short, vague answers that leave us shaking our heads. However, Marshawn is not the only professional sports player to ever diss the media. He isn’t even the only NFL player. Pro sports are littered with “gentlemen” who would sooner tell the media to cram it than give a thoughtful answer.
All these instances make us common sports folk wonder how someone who possesses bountiful amounts of both talent and money can also have a large register of bile when it comes to inquisitive journalists. Every young sports player dreams of being in front of dozens of reporters, rehearsing lines over and over in their heads for multiple scenarios (You da real MVP…) Yet when these people get to the top, their eagerness to answer seems to stop.
Perhaps these players feel self conscious, as writers can sometimes paint them in a bad light or criticize them for certain actions. They feel they are being attacked, so they lash out themselves in an attempt to shield the criticisms. Or, they simply say nothing, refusing to add fuel to the fire. This of course seems silly given that most of these professionals have received their fair share of harsh words over the years, leading one to believe that they are “thick skinned”. Though maybe they are like bullies. Brash on the outside, but deep down just like the rest of us. That’s not to say that these players are bullies; they are most often the opposite, with a few short-tempered folk littered in.
The most recent example of this heinous behavior comes from Boston (big whoop). Pitcher David Price, an extremely successful player over his career, took issue with fill in broadcaster Dennis Eckersley, a Hall of Fame pitcher himself. Over his brief tenure, Eck has been known to be straightforward and say what he thinks. Things reached their tipping point when Eckersley had this one word response to a Red Sox pitcher’s rehab outing stat line: “Eww”. Price accosted Eckersley on the team plane, cussing him out and defending his fellow teammates. In a later interview, Price once again slammed the broadcaster, calling out his brash words and citing his inability to connect with the team.
This is a slightly different issue, as this was a riff between a player and an announcer, but the theme holds true. In the NBA, one man who very much dislikes the media is Paul George. George, a four time All Star, has gone on numerous tirades over the years, slamming the media repeatedly. Another famous NBAer who closely resembles Lynch in his responses to reporters is Russell Westbrook, now a teammate of George’s. Westbrook, like Lynch, often gives vague answers or refuses to answer at all when questioned by reporters. The two should make for an interesting combo this year, both on and off the court.
These players deserve some slack though. They work harder than all of us every day to do something none of us could, ands sometimes tensions can snap. It is an extremely competitive environment, which can turn these athletes into beasts of burden. So next time you come home from a tough day at the office and snap at your family, think of these bitter men and women at their press conferences.