Greetings & Salutations my friends, I return from afar with a different perspective, one given to me by the planet now formerly know as Pluto -He's not happy with being grouped with Prince, but that's a different story- on players vs. media.
I woke this morning and heard all the hub-bub about Michael Strahan's comments, both on his weekly radio show and in the locker room. The media is crucifying him, several stations, ESPN being one of them, are showing you clips, playing snippets of the conversation, the speech, Strahan gave just the other day. I was intrigued by his comments, at least of the parts ESPN and several newspapers gave t the general public. Having been a big fan of Mike's and not being a fan of Plaxico Burress' for reasons only his play or lack there of could explain, I wanted to see; "what was up."
I always believe you keep problems within the family, never air your dirty laundry, well, almost never. There are reasons for sharing the troubles in a family, but like Pluto, that's another story. Any way, as I perused the INTERNET today, searching for every word Strahan uttered, trying to see how he came to say the snippets I was given by ESPN and other publications, I finally got to the bottom of the statements.
Here is the key phrase as found on the NY Times (not known for telling the truth all of the time); "On Monday, he was asked by the WFAN talk-show host Joe Benigno about Burress."
Michael was asked about Burress, in other words, he did not initiate the conversation about his teammate. Yes, he could have just given the company line; Great guy, hard worker, yadda, yadda, yadda. However, that would be some what painting a blue sky when it's raining. The knock on Burress, in NY and in Pittsburgh and even leading into his drafted year was that he is NOT a hard worker, will take plays off and lacks concentration among other detrimental factors. Instead, knowing his team had lost three in a row, suffered a complete melt down in the last game, blowing a 21 points lead with just over 11 minutes left in the game, I see Michael's comments as more him trying to get his teammate to give his best effort every time he takes the field.
Strahan's response to the question; "It's a shame, because Plaxico is a great player and he's a good guy to be around," Strahan said. "But, at the same time, you're judged by your actions out there on the field. And you can't give up, you can't quit, because you're not quitting on yourself, you're quitting on us, you're quitting on everybody."
Keep in mind, I/we still do not know the exact way (if you do please share with me) the question was framed. He goes on to say; "He's too great of a player to have people look at him and think: ‘Oh, he's a quitter. He doesn't finish. He doesn't try hard.' He's too good of a player for that, because we all see what he does, what he can do."
Now, the media, in general, wants to sell papers, wants you to click on the story and naturally will frame quotes the way they want you to read them. Do you see the key word in the last statement? "He's too great of a player to have people look at him and THINK."
When you take his entire quotes into context, Strahan never said Plaxico quit, in fact, what he said is Burress is a great player who some are saying quit, that Burress gave them the impression he quit. Could he (Strahan) have chosen his words better? Sure, but at the same time, it is clear Burress did not give his all on a key interception most are saying turned the tide of the game. That Burress once again, failed to do everything possible to not only break the interception up, but also make the tackle; AGAIN. It was not the first time this type of apathy for a play has occurred with Burress and it will not be the last.
So when ESPN, the media, went "hunting" to find the story, when Strahan would not talk with them on Tuesday, his routine is to speak with the media on Thursdays, always has been that way, they went looking for Plaxico, to get a reaction from him. Sure, their job is to get stories, reactions, what have you. However, to me, this type of digging, it tantamount to a child tattling on his siblings with the sole intent on getting said sibling in trouble.
Apparently, Strahan felt the same way and frankly, I say- Go Mike, GO, when it comes to his remarks to a reporter for ESPN, yesterday. "We're 6-5; we've lost three games in a row," Strahan said. "What do you want us to do? Put our heads down and go into a corner? We don't do that. We're men. We get back, we practice hard, we prepare for plays to win. We don't prepare to come in to have someone who wants to take a comment and try to divide teammates in a way that it just disrupts this team, because we don't have that division here. So if you want to come here with the negative, you're coming to the wrong guy, because I'm not a negative guy. I don't kill my teammates. I'm a man, and I talk to my teammates."
Should Michael have gone that far? Was there truth in what he said? My feelings on the matter, yes, to both questions. Those with press credentials, who are at their respective team's facilities, day in and day out, do know the players very well. They know where the player is coming from when the player makes a statement. Yet time and again, they (the media) always have to justify their "tattling" with: "it's my job". I've watched it hear in Baltimore from the local media for 11 years now. Living in the proximity of several players, I have been out in establishments at the same time as several of those players. Witnessed some things, one would almost be taken aback, by the Professional athletes actions or words. You know what? They are humans, just as we are. The difference is their job, their's pays millions, mine, jelly donuts. Is it my duty to tell everyone what some of these players do in their off time? Does it really matter?
NO, it may help explain why a player is not performing well, may give me insight as to possible moves by the front office, in the off season. But by keeping it "quiet" I am not protecting the player, more so the team. If any reporter goes public with natural human nature stories, players just enjoying themselves, with in the law mind you, as most of us do, that leads to other reporters asking other players about these actions. In essence, stories like that, like what the ESPN reporter and all the reporters for that matter are now doing to Strahan and Burress, tears at the fiber of a team, causes controversy and teams seldom recover. Oh it sells papers, people tune into the program, beit on television or radio, they click the links; the media wins.
Michael is clear in the way he asks, tells the reporter to not only approach him, but how she intended to frame her question."Come here, I want to see your face when you ask this question, the way you are going to ask it," Strahan said. "I know you are going to ask it in a way there is more division and more of a negative way than it was, so come here, I want to see your face, please."
There are many ways in which to ask a question and far more reasons for even asking said question. The real question is, does she need to ask it? Instead of asking why, putting the questions in a sense of-throwing a teamate under the bus- why not ask, "Michael, you said Plaxico has the abilities to be a great receiver in this game (see quotes form radio interview), yet he sometimes appears to get frustrated in games, is there anything the team can do to help him?" Or something in that form, that mind set? That is the spirit from which Michael is speaking. No, players do not want every question to be about patting them on the back, just report all of the quotes, all fo the facts and the nature of the quotes. Strahan was not throwing Burress under the us, he was basically telling him, the perception outside the locker room is that Plaxico is dogging it at times.
Strahan could have guarded his words more carefully, but he certainly does not deserve his feet put to the fire on this one. This was all media driven and because a person from the media was called out, they have circled the wagons in the name of "doing their jobs." Want proof? Turn on ESPN today, see if they give you Strahan's entire quote from his radio show, and tell you exactly what talk-show host Joe Benigno asked Michael. The next time you read what could be a controversial article , hear it on the radio or see it on tv, make sure to read it, hear it, see it, thoroughly, get all the facts, before you decide judgment.