Rex Ryan's Season Long Meltdown Has Begun (w/ VIDEO)
Admittedly, compared to many of my peers and counterparts, I haven't been doing this media thing all that long. Six years is all. It's longer than a mere few months, but it's far from a lifetime. Also, I've covered teams day to day in just one city, Houston. I haven't really bounced around. (Not yet, at least.)
So my sense of what "normal" is from a media relations and a player interaction standpoint is based solely on Houston's local teams with virtually no basis for comparison. (For what it's worth, I find all of our teams to be very professional and easy to conduct business with, since I know a few of you wonder about these things.)
So with that said, to my knowledge, I've never known the Texans to feel the need to hand their players a laminated card with a cheat sheet of transitional phrases to help facilitate conversations with the media.
But then again, maybe if I had covered the New York Jets at some point, that would seem normal, because that's exactly what the Jets do.
Last week, New York Daily News Jets beat writer Manish Mehta (reportedly provided to him by colleague Seth Walder who got it from Joe McKnight) tweeted out a couple pictures of exactly that -- a card to help grown men who play football facilitate football-related conversations with other grown men.
Here they are:
Jets have given players "Media Bridges" card: List of phrases to use with reporters. Here's front: pic.twitter.com/T73EGZ9aDe— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) August 21, 2013
Here's the back of "Media Bridge" card given to all Jets players: pic.twitter.com/ljdBJZm51h— Manish Mehta (@MMehtaNYDN) August 21, 2013
For the record, my three favorite "bridges" on the card are:
1. "You will each receive a copy of these as you leave today:"
I'm not sure when a Jets player would be handing out copies of anything to the media, but I'll assume that maybe that one was on there for Tim Tebow for when he handed out leaflets with Bible verses on them, and they just forgot to delete it when he was cut from the team.
2. "That's not my area of expertise, but I think your audience would be interested to knowing that"
Aside from being the one phrase on here that's grammatically incorrect (interested to knowing?), it's also the one whose context makes the least amount of sense. When would a player ever use this phrase? When they need to begin waxing poetic on their own areas of expertise just in case they're asked about something outside their skill set? There are interesting players in the league, to be sure, however I'm just fearful this transition is a bit of a loaded gun. Of course, if it leads to this exchange, then I'm all for it:
MEDIA: "Antonio Cromartie, what are your thoughts on proper birth control?"
CROMARTIE: "Well, that's not my area of expertise, but I think your audience would be interested to knowing that the child support laws in the states of Florida and New Jersey are not nearly as draconian as people think!"
3. "I wouldn't even try to take on the job of coaching, what I can tell you is"
Nothing like having a pre-emptive media bridge for players that's grounded in the assumption that they are going to get peppered with decisions about questionable coaching decisions. Which brings us to...