I have a ton to say about this topic, but I’ll keep this post quick and to the point.
NJ.com’s Darryl Slater shared a refreshing perspective regarding Corey Davis’s comments on Sam Darnold being the New York Jets’ QB1 (for now) on a recent episode of the Play Like A Jet podcast that simultaneously made me want to nod my head in agreement and hang my head in shame over the sorry state of sports journalism.
If you missed the podcast, I highly recommend giving it a listen, but Darryl’s basic point was that Davis’s comments about Darnold clearly didn’t mean anything – particularly when placed into the context of the question that preceded said comments and how the Jets’ newest receiver was practically held by the hand and pushed where reporters wanted him to go during a followup like a lawyer leading a witness – and running with what the former Tennessee Titan said as if it was of any significance whatsoever was doing nothing more than attempting to create a story out of thin air.
Over the years, I’ve heard scores of sports journalists lament that they’re starved of refreshing candor from those they cover. But the ink’s on their own hands. Even when an athlete tries not to make news, too many reporters disingenuously react with, ‘Ooooh! Can you believe he said that?’ Not exactly an incentive to keep it real.
I saw this phenomenon up close far too many times during my 3 years as Communications Director for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Beat reporters are granted regular access, surely feel free to ask and write whatever they want, yet wonder why so many players and coaches don’t like or trust them.
Call me old fashioned, but I’d prefer a reality where reporters report news rather than manufacturing it. And when those they cover scrupulously avoid making waves, they should stand a fair chance of avoiding it. I’ve noticed that the savviest athletes are often the most guarded. The naive ones are once bitten, twice shy. (h/t to Great White by way of Ian Hunter).
Scribes pride themselves on being wise. Yet too few abide by the occam’s razor axiom that the simplest explanation is the most likely one. The reporters who neither dramatize nor play dense may not be as popular with their editors in the here and now, but will ultimately earn the respect of the locker room.