Road trip to Santa Cruz to watch our nephew, David Guy, in concert. He plays bass in the Patrick Sweany band which, apparently, is a lot more popular than I realized. Then, again, the last music I bought featured Earth, Wind and Fire. After the concert, we’re on our way to Monterey to help move younger son, Alex, into school for his final year (and basketball season) at Cal State Monterey Bay. This blog will return Tuesday, Aug. 25.
Yesterday’s post ended with John Wall’s blatantly honest assessment that he didn’t feel he would make the United States Olympic team. To me, it was a refreshing display of humility by a professional athlete. Wall pointed out that there are a few guards who, along with being incredibly talented, have experienced more success in international basketball than he has. The analysis he gave really can’t be disputed and actually sounds like the conclusions the decision-makers would come up with in closed door meetings when discussing which guys to keep and which to cut.
Later in the day I was listening to NBA radio on Sirius-XM and heard radio host Jonathan Hood take umbrage at Wall’s remarks. It came off as Hood was insulted by Wall’s comments. J-Hood, as he is known, was co-hosting the show with Stacey King when Hood went off on Wall’s “prediction” he would not make the U.S. Olympic Basketball squad. Hood’s opinion is that Wall shouldn’t back down to anybody, that his belief in himself should be that, at the very least, he’s the equal of any other player trying out for that team. It greatly bothered Hood that went on a prolonged rant that Wall had the nerve to cop such an (realistic) attitude.
My initial reaction was one of shock. When I heard what Wall had said, my immediate thoughts were that he made sense. I never had a feeling that he considered his skills inferior to his contemporaries. In fact, I felt if the follow up question had been, Do you think you’ll ever represent the U.S. in the Olympic Games, his answer would have been an emphatic, “Yes!” Then again, it’s controversy that makes for “good media,” be it electronic or print, so Hood was falling in line with what most media guys do – listen to the athlete and, then, take the opposite view. For a recent example we need to look no further than the comments made by Robert Griffin III.
“I know I’m the best quarterback on this team. I feel like I’m the best quarterback in the league and I have to go out and show that,” RGIII said. “Any athlete at any level, if they concede to someone else, they’re not a top competitor, they’re not trying to be the best that they can be. There’s guys in this league that have done way more than me. But, I still view myself as the best because that’s what I work toward every single day.”
These quotes were met with derision from media types who began listing reasons (stats or accomplishments that other QBs had made) that contradicted the Redskins’ (for now) QB. Exactly like John Wall did when handicapping his chances of representing the U.S. in the next Olympics. One writer sarcastically called for a concussion test to be administered to RGIII (no word on that writer’s reaction to what Wall had to say).
If ever someone (of integrity) has been scorned by the media, it’s Tim Tebow – who has won a State Championship in high school, two National Championships in college and a Division Championship in the NFL (in addition to a Heisman Trophy). Yet, to date, he’s had a lackluster NFL career. The criticism has turned to ridicule as, year after year, Tebow stubbornly persists in chasing his dream of, not only making an NFL team, but of being its quarterback. As quality a person as he is, even Tebow must be tired of insisting he can be a starting NFL quarterback on a successful team. But he believes it as much as those who think otherwise.
The media members of the current generation lean more to being an animal that lies in wait, ready to pounce on its prey – which, in today’s case, is an athlete who makes any misstep or controversial statement. In the case with Hood and Wall, the quote wasn’t even that controversial, yet the radio personality attacked.
All this reminds me of a conversation I had with a high school student I had years ago. Every time I would say something, she would argue the opposite point. Finally, I said to her, “Whatever I say, you say the opposite.”
She immediately blurted out, “No, that’s not true!”
I looked at her and said:
“There, you did it again.”