Donald Trump has taken aim at the media’s coverage of his campaign for months. Some of the charges he levies are fair in my opinion, especially as it relates to the balance in reporting. Tom Brady could have followed that same path and shouted from the rooftops about how unfair the majority some of the local media, and the majority of the national media, treated him during the never ending Deflategate saga. But what continues to strike me as odd, is the number of media people, be it reporters, columnists, or others, who create phony opinions just for the sake of being noticed. Hot takes and trolling are here to stay my friends, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it or accept it.
Case in point, I direct your attention to USA Today’s blog, “For the Win” and a column written by Nina Mandell entitled “Tom Brady whiffed when given the chance to make a strong statement about how the NFL handles domestic violence.” Really Nina? Do you really feel this way because I think you’re grasping at straws. Ms. Mandell would like us to believe that because Tom Brady has had such a successful career that he can use his stardom to in her words, “do something bigger,” when it comes to advocating for action against domestic violence. Honest to God I offer that to you verbatim. Let me tell you something Nina, if Tom Brady wanted to “do something bigger” he would, but it certainly would not be announced at a Wednesday press conference or a Monday telephone interview. He told WEEI’s Kirk and Callahan during his weekly appearance on the show, that he finds domestic violence horrific and intolerable. He went on to say that he has no respect for those who abuse women. What else do you need? Does that make his opinion different from any other rational person on the planet? Who in their right mind would think otherwise? Do you think a comment from Brady saying that Josh Brown should be kicked out of the league will actually change anything? Of course not, but there are those out there, like Nina Mandell, who think that athletes can shape the way society acts and that they have a responsibility to try and do so. She’s right in one regard. Brady does, in fact, have the largest platform the league and if he did want to come out and denounce Josh Brown, the Commissioner or anyone else he could do it and it would be very effective, but that’s not the point.
Professional athletes have no obligation whatsoever to comment on social issues. The fact that some do is their choice and they can deal with whatever feedback comes from their comments or actions. But to criticize an athlete, Brady or anyone else, for choosing not to comment is simply foolish and I don’t believe that any journalist worth their salt, would actually believe in that kind of column, yet too many of them are written anyway. How many times do we have to hear about athletes as role models? I want my kid to look up to Lebron James because he’s the face of the NBA and one of the most recognized superstars in the world yada yada yada. Sorry folks, don’t tell your kids to look up to Lebron James. Or Jon Lester. Or Tom Brady, or any other player. Tell them to look up to their parents. Or their brother. Or their cousins. I can’t wait for the day when sports fans stop with this nonsense. Superstars are not role models, and they should not be thought of in that manner.
I used to get amused by media people like this who simply make up their opinion in order to get clicks to their stories, but now, they sicken me, because this isn’t the kind of journalism I was taught to respect and admire. Frankly, the editors of these papers/blogs/newsletters are just as bad, but unfortunately, that’s the world we live in today. It’s all about traffic, be it viewers, listeners, downloads, or clicks so whether it’s Bart Hubbuch calling the Patriots racist for not employing enough black quarterbacks, or Max Kellerman saying Brady is all washed up, or this empty list of words by Nina Mandell, there are some media types who can’t express themselves intelligently and thus choose to fabricate a bunch of gibberish in order to gain attention. Interesting how many of these “hot takes” revolve around Brady and the Patriots isn’t it? The jealously of those who aren’t used to covering teams that win is staggering.
The media does get a bad rap quite often, but in cases like this the criticism is absolutely justified. Anybody can start a blog, write a newsletter, or post a column and claim to be legit. That’s why it’s so important for the so-called professionals not to manufacture opinion and dialogue.