If there's one thing that I've always thought was really tough about being an athlete, it's dealing with the media. Because they (we?) serve a two pronged purpose. They are at the same time an athlete's main conduit to communicate with fans and also the filter through which fans gets news and quotes. So you have to talk to them to get your message out and yet you have no control over how they manipulate that message. No wonder athletes have embraced social media so quickly...
Case in point. Vince Young met the media today and spoke for a good 10 to 15 minutes. He said a lot. By my quick calculation, about a thousand words were spoken. But, not surprisingly, the vast majority of the media grabbed one sentence and ran with it.
Dream team," Young told reporters. "From Nnamdi [Asomugha] to [Dominique Rodgers-] Cromartie, to Jason [Babin] to myself. I know they are going to do some more things. . . . It's just beautiful to see where we're trying to go."
And actually that's ok. Frankly, a lot of what he said wasn't that interesting. And his "dream team" quote was fun, so there's really no problem with the media running with that. However, some issues can and did arise. If someone, say a blogger or other journalist, sees that that once sentence published somewhere, they can then decide to interpret it. One of our NFL writers at SBNation.com did just that.
Let's be real here: One of those things is not like the other. I've got nothing against Young as a person or a player, but he, in no way, belongs with the rest of those names. He was signed to stand around and hold Michael Vick's jock. In the event Vick does go down, let's not act like the Eagles are in good hands or that the drop-off won't be significant.
It only took Young five minutes to open his mouth again and remind us why he's one of the more frustrating talents in the game. Perhaps a bit of humility from Young would help his cause, but don't wait around on it.
Here's the problem... that line about the "dream team" was half of his quote. You might have noticed that from our earlier story in which we published the full quote. Not surprisingly, the people responding in that thread didn't take it the some way as our SBNation blogger did.
Here is the full quote with the omitted part bolded.
"Dream Team. From [CB] Nnamdi [Asomugha] to [CB Dominique Rodgers-] Cromartie, and from [DE] Jason [Babin] to myself, I know they're going to do some more things. It's beautiful to see where we're trying to go. I'm all for it. Whatever they ask me to do, to be scout team quarterback or quarterback learning, do whatever it is. I just want to be here to help and be a part of a team. I'm just happy to be a part of the Philadelphia Eagles."
Now here's my question. Had the writer of the SBNation article seen the last line of what Young said, would the writer have included this last line in his piece?
Perhaps a bit of humility from Young would help his cause, but don't wait around on it.
Because I'd say that last line from Young showed quite a bit of humility. In fact, I thought he was rather humble in many of the other things he said today. For instance about his time in Tennessee and the opportunity he has here..
"Definitely. All the things that happened there. I definitely have a lot of respect for the Tennessee Titans organization. Definitely Bud Adams, that's my guy. For them to give me the opportunity to come play there and the things that we went through, I thought it was best for me to move on. The Eagles saw that it was the best opportunity to come here as well, and a fresh start is going to be good for me. To learn from some good guys and hang around a great organization and team, most of the guys I already know, so it's good to be in contact with some guys and I really feel like moving forward it's going to be good for us."
And when he reflected on his career to this point.
"That's definitely behind me. It was a learning experience and I'm a working product. There isn't no one perfect in the league. As you see as guys get older and more mature, they start to take off so I'm kind of in that mode right now. I definitely wouldn't take anything back. I've learned from all of my mistakes. I'm basically just ready to just move forward and do what I can to get the Eagles to a Super Bowl. That's what I'm here for. I'm very excited to be here and a part of a great tradition of a football team."
I'm trying to make sure that I'm not reading this with green colored glasses here and interpreting it as something it's not. That sounds pretty humble to me. I dunno, am I off?
So, this is really just a cautionary tale. I don't really blame the SBNation writer because he most likely did not have access to the full transcript of what was said. And frankly, there's no doubt in my mind that I've been guilty of doing the same thing.
When I do make posts about player press conference I do usually put up most of the transcript and I always am sure to include full quotes in responses to certain questions. It's not as concise as I'd be if I were writing for a newspaper or magazine or something with limited space... but we've got unlimited space here and we're all superfans. So I usually figure you are all more apt to read a full transcript that your average Philly.com reader.