Archive for the ‘rick reilly’ tag
I happened upon an editorial piece this week by ESPN.com writer Rick Reilly, formerly a columnist with Sports Illustrated, in which Reilly criticizes Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler for his mostly aloof and flippant demeanor in press conferences and in other public appearances off the football field.
In the column, Reilly had this to say about the former Denver Broncos QB (Being a Broncos and, to a lesser degree, a Bears fan, piqued my interest in the piece):
Cutler could own Chicago if he wanted. In a city that has had as many good quarterbacks as Omaha has had good surfers, Cutler could have his name on half the billboards and all the jerseys. My God, the kid grew up a Bears fan! But he doesn’t even try. He has zero endorsements and doesn’t want any. If there is such a thing as a Jay Cutler Fan Club, Cutler is having a membership drive — to drive them out.
Example from Wednesday’s 15-minute news conference, the only time he speaks publicly the entire workweek:
Reporter #1: So, did you enjoy the week off?
Cutler: Yeah, it’s nice to kick back and watch the games.
Reporter #2: Wait. Last week, you said you never watch the games.
Cutler (disgusted): I said you could watch the games. I didn’t say I watched the games. You’ve got to listen.
Cutler also doesn’t make public announcements of his trips to hospitals visiting fellow Type I diabetes patients, nor does he publicize Christmas present donations he makes to sick kids.
According to ESPN.com’s Rick Reilly, quarterback Jay Cutler is some kind of creep because he didn’t idolize any NFL quarterbacks as a kid.
Maybe he had other, more worthy role models like his parents or a teacher.
Reilly rips Cutler because he doesn’t have any endorsements and doesn’t want any. Brilliant. Better he should be a money-grubbing shill, willing to endorse anything for a buck. What kind of a jerk focuses on doing his job at the expense of making easy money? How dare he?
Actually, I kind of admire a guy like Cutler. Rather than clamber for attention like some other NFL stars (Chad Ochocinco comes to mind) or put up a veneer of pretended cheerfulness, Cutler seems like more a real guy to me, and he seems to treat press conference like most people treat their jobs: they would rather be somewhere else, but they come to work anyway and aren’t always outwardly happy about it. Nor do I think it’s fair to judge Cutler on his performance before the press. As the field leader of an NFL football team, he’s obligated, contractually I’m sure, to face the media and answer questions, but that’s not his main job description. His main job description is to throw touchdowns and win football games. That he’s not forthcoming at press conferences or seems to openly hold reporters in contempt shouldn’t lead to character assassination.
Cutler strikes me as the type of fellow who gets the big picture. While most coaches and players have a treasure chest of media-isms to crack open the minute they are pulled aside by reporters, Cutler doesn’t. He plays the game on the field, but doesn’t play the hype game. And while that might drive certain media folks nuts (As it probably would me if I were a reporter for a Chicago newspaper), it’s laudable on some levels.
Reilly once more:
Cutler’s teammates will defend him, when asked. “It’s funny to me how people form an opinion of a guy who’ve never even met him,” says Bears tight end Greg Olsen, a close friend.
So what’s the truth?
“He is what he is,” Olsen says.
LeGere also got it right when speaking about Cutler’s refusing to make a big deal out of his various charitable endeavors.
As a side note, I once announced in a newspaper column that I wanted anyone who was planning to buy Christmas presents for me that year, to please just donate whatever money they might have spent to the Make-A-Wish foundation. I made that statement near the end of a column about American consumerism and poverty, indicating that we should strive to get less and give more. To drive my point home, then, I felt duty bound to put action behind my words. I wrote it purely out of obligation and with no thought of myself. I truly hope it came across that way, and I only regret having written it when I think that some might have taken it a different way, that I was publicly patting myself on the back for requesting a donation be made.
Still, I think the best kind of giver is an anonymous one. The worst kind of giver is the one who donates time or money or resources and then wants to be acknowledged for it (Thus, I chafe to think that the aforementioned column might have been misunderstood). Regardless, why should Cutler announce when he’s planning to make an appearance at a hospital or donate presents to kids. Why should he seek out endorsements? He doesn’t care what people think about him, and I don’t know why that fact bothers Reilly and this guy so much. At least Cutler’s a real guy and not some self-promoting, cliché-machine Manning clone.
Like ESPN’s Rick Reilly, I’m not sure what Michael Vick critics want the man to do at this point. Some surely chaff over the knowledge that a convicted felon is now back from prison and making millions in the NFL, is on track to potentially earn MVP honors and has already become the first quarterback in history to be named as the NFC Offensive Player of the Week two weeks in a row (Nov. 9 and Nov. 16). And, the Pro Football Hall of Fame requested his jersey from the Nov. 15 game in which Vick lit up the field upon becoming the first player in history to pass for 300 yards, run for 50, throw four touchdown passes and run for two more. And, after just eight games, he’s also on track to shatter his passing yardage from 2006, the last year he played a complete season with the Falcons. For animal lovers or anyone else who may think that getting to walk around in civil society is too much of a privilege even for someone who has served their debt to society in prison, these facts may cut to the quick.
As if 18 months in Leavenworth, and six more in a halfway house, aren’t punishment enough.
“Michael Vick should give half of his … salary to animal rights groups,” Liz McGowin wrote on PETA.org.
As if losing $100 million and three years in the prime of his career wasn’t steep enough.
“Michael Vick is a Sociopathic Dog-Torturing, Dog-Maiming, Dog-Drowning, Dog-Electrocuting Pile of S—,” somebody posted on Vick’s Twitter page Thursday. Vick’s Twitter page was running about half against him this week — until it was frozen for “suspicious activity.”
As if being judged and humiliated in front of the world isn’t shame enough.
As if …
But for the rest of us, the Vick story is one of redemption. Some may say it’s all a ruse. Some may say that Vick is saying all the right things because he knows what to say and plays the role well. Some may say he’s actually unrepentant and is only doing and saying those right things because he doesn’t want to lose his career and his millions. But I think any honest look at the man’s attitude, demeanor and, yes, his words, will show that he’s “contrite,” “humble” and “chastened,” as Reilly put it.
Here are a few of his recent posts on Twitter that, I think, give a glimpse into where the man’s heart and mind are at this point:
- Well I’m about to go spend more time with my family. Thanks for all the well wishes on this day. I’ll be back in a few !
- Thank you God for watching over me another night and giving me the chance to see another day … Good morning twitter !
- I truly appreciate all the love i cant answer everybody but im going to figure out a way to start following a few of you !
- God Can Turn Mistakes Into Miracles ……….. Good Morning Twitter Family !
- Thank you God for watching over me another night and letting me see another day !
- I was just informed i’ll be this weeks NFC Offensive Player of the Week. Couldn’t have done it without my team !
- GOD IS GREAT !
Now, while we know that talking about how great God is isn’t necessary an automatic sign of someone’s character (Indeed, the opposite is the case a lot of the time. The very words Allahu Akbar, or, “God is great,” were, via Saddam Hussein’s order, placed in the center of the Iraqi flag in 1991), the humbleness to Vick’s fans and his teammates seems to come through in his various postings.
So to his remaining critics, I would say this: Is the American correctional system truly about corrections or not? Either the goal should be rehabilitation to some degree in all prisoners in which that might be possible, or we should throw away the keys on all sentences and wipe our hands of those folks. If I were to royally mess up at any point in my life, I would certainly hope society, family and friends would give me a second chance.
In the federal corrections world, they call it “re-entry.” For most freed felons, re-entry into society is fraught with trouble. Some guys get out and can’t even get a driver’s license, much less a job. The adjustment to life outside can give a guy the bends. Quite often, the road leads them right back inside.
But Michael Vick? He has made the kind of re-entry usually reserved for Apollo astronauts. The man reinvented himself into a wonder, both in his uniform and out. He has seen how wrong he was. He’s sorry. He’s making amends.
“I don’t have to think about going back down the path I’ve traveled because it’s not going to happen,” Vick said Wednesday. “I can live my life with a clear mind every day, knowing that I’m moving forward.”
Why can’t everybody else?
Why not, indeed.