Ahead of the Curve
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Ask a silly question and you'll get a silly answer.

That one dates back "before Moses wore short pants ("Corrado")."  I miss The Sopranos.

To the silly answers in pressers, they happen from time to time, but goofball queries, hell, they're a dime a dozen today. Just ask Peyton Manning and Patrick Kane (Blackhawks).

Broncos' dejected, down-trodden and wholly depressed Super Bowl losing quarterback Peyton Manning had a run-in with one of those goofball reporters, the kind whose editors pay 'em to press people's buttons.

Clean & scrubbed and impeccably dressed, as usual, after he and his team endured one of the worst drubbings in the history of the Super Bowl at hands of Seattle (43-8), Pey-Dirt took to the press room Sunday night and fielded questions like the trooper he is and as required per collective bargaining agreement, HELLO, Mr. Lynch.  Player's mistaken if he thinks it's all about the game, which sometimes seems just so much excuse for the celebrity, a fascination that goes as far back as King Kelly and Annie Oakley.

And wouldn't you know it, someone just had to ask the question: 'How does it feel to look like the biggest schmuck on the planet right now, Manning, after having played yourself into a legacy that now teeters on the brink of collapse'  Well, that's not exactly what the punk asked, but they might just as well have worded it like that.  Same sentiment.

In fact, the question was something along this line: 'Did you find your performance tonight "embarrassing?"

Peyton: "It's not embarrassing at all, I would never use that word. (It's) an insulting word, to tell you the truth."

Loaded questions are less inquisitory than they are statements of the poser, spewed only to draw attention to their particular media-group and start trouble. Trouble makes news.

These faux reporters and their betters, most in their 20s & 30s, are instigators, not the cheery sort like Woody Woodpecker, but without standard or respect for the subjects they try to set-up. And this time Mr. Manning wasn't gonna' play along. Good go, big fella.'

There was no doubt what happened Sunday night at MetLife Stadium was "embarrassing" for Manning and his teammates. That's understood. But asking it at that time is like asking someone who just got a cancer diagnosis if the news hurts. Ya' think, dullard?

Peyton's in good company. What happened to him is all too common in these crass times.

Another punk reporter has a press pass to the Blackhawks' dressing room and Tuesday night worked their rough routine on Chicago's star winger, Patrick Kane.

Kane had a grandparent die recently and was forced against the emotional boards when, after leading Hawks to victory began fielding a routine question. Then he was asked, like Peyton, the painful obvious by another bombastic, bonehead reporter better suited to the customer service biz. I paraphrase again: 'How do you feel after the death of your relative?'

Well, not hard to imagine what that triggered. Patrick lost control and began to sob.

Whether it's a baiting reporter, political charlatan, locker-room bully, PED user, a chiseling neighbor or greedy business practice, it's all the same thing: weak constitution and ignorance, a bad combo for anyone who must suffer their presence.

In both their cases these reporters seem to get an odd sense of accomplishment if they can get their subjects to give-up that last shred of dignity, that tiniest bit of strength or cover that remains onto which they cling in order to keep composed & dignified in the moment. Take it away, coerce them into admitting their failure or private pain and they'll crumble as any person with a heart usually will.

Peyton knew the loss was "embarrassing" and we all knew he knew. Duh. But in conceding the painful obvious this fallen warrior would lose everything that night, anything left that might've helped him cope. Pat would've fought back too but his heart got the best of him. Duh II, reporter.

If there's one good thing PM can take from his SB.48 experience it's the life lesson this "insulting" exchange has taught him and maybe other jocks, owners & GMs watching:

1) be welcoming but leery of reporter questions as many lack a standard of humanity;

2) don't feel obligated to field each & every one of 'em; and,

3) don't be afraid to go to a round, to say calmly, 'That's a baiter, you can stick it, next.'

For Mr. Kane, it will be his friends, maybe family and strong spirit which will help get him through these painful days.

For Mr. Manning, it will take longer.

But here are some choice words for Pey-dirt from a terrific film in his father's younger days, "Little Big Man ('70)," starring Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway & Martin Balsam.

As "Old Lodge Skins (Chief Dan George)" prepares for his passing into the next realm, he speaks to his Creator:

     "Thank you for helping me to become a warrior. Thank you for my victories and for my defeats. Thank you for my vision and for my blindness in which I saw further,...take care of my son here (Dustin) and see that he doesn't go crazy...(and) sometimes the magic works, sometimes it doesn't."  "You know it, Kid (Arletta)."

Yes, Peyton is in good company.

Steven Keys

NFL Hunch Line

Photo Credit: Peyton Manning / SB.48 2014 / USATSI

Updated: 2-7-14 @ 4:22 pm 

 

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