‘Hunger’ Follow-up

I couldn’t resist a quick follow-up to my post yesterday: Mike and the Mad Dog will be interviewing Giants’ middle linebacker Antonio Pierce the day after every game this season. Pierce is enjoyable to listen to – he’s smart and doesn’t give canned answers to questions. In yesterday’s inaugural interview, Mike and the Dog asked Pierce about the team’s decision to vote Strahan as a team captain. Once again, sports media types went for moral outrage on a bullshit issue, even when the parties most directly involved made it clear that they don’t care.

Here’s part of the exchange:

Mike: “what is the message that you’re sending the fans when you vote Strahan team captain when he didn’t set one foot in Albany this year? I mean, what is the message?”

Pierce: “it’s about what he’s done for this organization the past fourteen years…I think it shows what kind of respect Strahan has among his peers. I was one of the guys who voted for him, too, and I think he’s a great leader.”

Russo: “You know that was a great question Mike asked, Antonio, because in other walks of life, I’m not too sure if that same guy, you know, coming off of two months, you know would be named company president, coming off missing a month or two of training camp and then be named team president, or missed a huge seminar because he didn’t want to be there. That did hit us the wrong way. I know it’s your team and we don’t have a vote, obviously, but we thought that was kind of strange.’

 Pierce: “[missing training camp] is not the most important thing. It’s the effort he gives every Sunday, every day in practice.”

I’ve commented before on the divide between athletes and non-athlete commentators: the indignation that is so common among sports commentators is generally not shared by athletes themselves. This divide was on full display during Barry Bonds’ run to the all-time homerun record. And this case – minor though it is – illustrates that divide well. Strahan’s teammates have spoken as clearly as they can about whether they think his missing training camp is an issue: as a group, they don’t give a shit. That should be enough to end the discussion. But, it isn’t.

Like Araton, both Francesa and Russo – despite receiving seven figure annual salaries – see themselves as tribunes of the common man, whose goal is to work their audience into a populist lather of resentment over a trivial issue. Francesa did so by asking what message this sends to the fan – gee, Mike, what message do you think it sends? And Russo, by pulling out an old favorite – comparing sports to a regular job. In regards to Russo’s line of questioning, it should have occurred to him by now that professional sports are not typical of other walks of life. But, beyond that obvious fact, one that Russo rarely questions in any other context than player work habits, does Russo think that all company bigwigs make every meeting, show up to every seminar, and hold themselves to the same work conditions as their underlings? This is a bizarrely naive view of the corporate world.

If Russo and Francesa want to wring their hands about the bad example being set by an individual skipping out of work in the month of August (for which Strahan received a hefty fine, as per his contract), maybe they should pick on our commander in chief, a record-setting vacationer with a penchant for especially long August vacations, especially since they hold him such high regard as a leader.

Or how about (since I’m in the mood for cheap shots), the 109th Congress (the Republican led Congress of 2005-06), which managed to destroy the record for least amount of days in session over its two-year existence? I wonder if, during their earth-shattering steroids hearings, Mike and the Dog chastised them for wasting time on such obvious grandstanding when they spent so little time dealing with the important business of the country?

By the way, in the final question of a fifteen minute interview, Russo did think to ask Pierce what he thought about the injury to Kevin Everett.

52 Responses to “‘Hunger’ Follow-up”

  1. Another great post jweiler. I also agree with everything you had to say.

  2. Why would Bush or a Republican congress bother working? Cheney’s running things, the rest just get in the way. He probably just told them all to go home so he could do his thing.

  3. Nice follow-up J. I’m curious to see how many times during Pierce’s feature this season the divide will be apparent…I’m guessing every week he calls.

    In the corporate world, I’ve noticed, the higher up you go, the less work you do. That’s been my general observation and as follows the CEO of America Inc. doesn’t do much of anything.

  4. Nice followup, J. Sports media types like Mike and the Mad Dog really just don’t get it, do they? They really are the clueless ones….

  5. We are all still small voices in the wilderness.

    The masses DO care. Their hate must be fed…and Mike and the mad Dog fill the bill, which is WHY they command the seven figure salaries.

    We are a nation of myopic hypocrites.

    If we werent, TSF would be on ESPN Radio and Mike and the Mad Dog would be mad bloggers.

  6. DaveyWayne

    You’re right – Mike and the Mad Dog certainly speak for a significant part of their audience, if not all of it.

  7. “We are a nation of myopic hypocrites.”

    This may be the greatest most succinct description I have ever heard.

    Nice follow-up jweiler. I know you know about Orwellian doublethink. It’s how most people nowadays seem to be able to get on with their lives, because otherwise they’d have to look inward after casting scorn outward, and God forbid THAT ever happen.

  8. yes, nice follow-up J, and keep adding to the ex-athlete vs. ex-wannabe catalogue.

    But I really wished that Pierce answered the “what kind of message you are sending” question with: “I don’t know Mike, but what kind of message are YOU sending by spewing bullshit every morning…”

  9. Pat Forde discussed the double standard on display at Notre Dame and not once did the word “race” come up.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/columns/story?columnist=forde_pat&id=3013932&sportCat=ncf

  10. Great post.

    Do you think they notice these sorts of things, but know that’s not what their viewership wants to here? How much of this is sports radio guys just being idiots and how much of it is just pandering to their idiot viewers?

  11. J and everyone,

    If only the 109th Congress just took days off.
    http://www.rollingstone.com/coverstory/worst_congress_ever

  12. “In the corporate world, I’ve noticed, the higher up you go, the less work you do. That’s been my general observation and as follows the CEO of America Inc. doesn’t do much of anything.”

    I couldn’t agree more sports diva. Have you ever worked in a factory? If you have you can see this with the professionals and the people who work on the factory floor.

  13. If you can’t get to it, I apologize. My work PC is crap.

  14. AP its just pandering and jealousy. Mad cause some brotha with about 3 years of college makes more then they will make in a lifetime. PO cause they have 2 degrees and make $60K a year. Yet Kobe has a HS diploma and makes $15 mill a year.

  15. Yet nobody gets mad at Bill Gates making $40 bill a year without a college degree.

  16. What is scary about the Pat Forde column is– as usual– the comments section. The length that commenters will go to rationalize the double standard is outrageous.

  17. Allen What do you expect from ESPN. They just ignore the 400 pound elephant. Then when you call them on it they play dumb. But come every Sports Season they start the black athlete gone wild Birth of a Nation repoting on their crappy station/radio/website. Sometimes I wish black folks would just leave these sports and form their own leagues.

    Then they would cry and complain about where is the black athlete.

  18. “Allen What do you expect from ESPN. They just ignore the 400 pound elephant. Then when you call them on it they play dumb. But come every Sports Season they start the black athlete gone wild Birth of a Nation repoting on their crappy station/radio/website. Sometimes I wish black folks would just leave these sports and form their own leagues.

    Then they would cry and complain about where is the black athlete.”

    LOL. I’d love to see that, or at least some great black athlete/Warrior/King to lead the black athlete to a complete boycott of the white media.

  19. “Sometimes I wish black folks would just leave these sports and form their own leagues.”

    Origin, I couldn’t agree more. I was leaning that way for a while and after reading Rhoden’s book “40 Million Dollar Slaves” I was convinced its the only way…

  20. Did you see the great interviews on Fox where they asked all these different Black athletes about Tom Brady’s Baby Mama Drama?

  21. SD- why the past tense? what’s changed?

  22. Oops T3, should’ve changed my tense in the 2nd part of phrase.

    I AM convinced it’s the only way. It’s hard to break dysfunctional relationships.

  23. T3,

    Do tell about the interviews on Fox. Thanks.

  24. Sheed spoke out on this a few seasons back… i don’t remember the exact quote but he talked about how NBA players are high-paid slaves…. and he got CRUSHED by MSM.

  25. Yeah, Larry Johnson had expressed the same sentiment years back and got ate up by the MSM. The fan that yelled at LJ and told him he was nothing but a ’40 Million Dollar Slave’ inspired Rhoden’s book title.

  26. warren sapp said the same thing once

  27. Its hard to rail against the plantation when you are ON it.

    The whole slavery metaphor falls down when you get to the dotted line.

    No one individual or even small selection of individuals can afford to just walk.

    The cold reality is that the NFLPA wont push for guaranteed money because they KNOW the NFL will just go to their trump card…

    replacement players.

    So they smile when told and occasionally kick rocks when no one is looking…but they know the deal.

    The fault lies in the fanbase…Not US, per se…but the fan base at large.

    Just as folk are willing to put Americans outof work and their own children at risk to enjoy the Wal-Mart style capitalism this country “thrives” on in the 21st century…Folk would rather watch Division II level football in NFL uniforms before accepting a prolonged strike that would eat into the DEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP pockets of the NFL. Remember…the Fans didnt REALLY care about free agency.

    These gentlemen ultimately have a curious and revealing choice to make.

    Make millions and be treated like property….or not.

    Its one thing to be kidnapped and transported in slavery…

    its somewhat another to sign yourself into it for a price.

  28. DaveyWayne-

    I’d like to think you’re wrong, and that the fans wouldn’t take replacement players. That enough fans are bright enough to know the players go through some shit and deserve guaranteed dough. But, the more diehard, barely literate fans you talk to….

    Bun in the end, I think you’re correct on that part.

    But I think you’re pushing the slavery thing too far in relation to the players. Almost all of us are forced to sell out for a price, the truly principled among us tend to be pretty poor. We all sell out in different ways, and no I’m not selling my body and shortening my life to work now. I did, however, sell my freedom, and right to any self determination for four years to get money for college and a ticket out of New Mexico.

  29. GMP, I CANT be wrong…cause its already happened, and it happened when the players werent making even a portion of the money and had ANY freedom of movement.

    the CURRENT fanbase would love to slash the salaries to 200K a year for all of them and be done with it.

    THink im lying..ask around.

    As for the slavery deal…im not pushing the slavery deal. I didnt bring it up. I just think thatwhile we bemoan the state of affairs for professional athletes we need to steer clear, ESPECIALLY those of us who are Black, of throwing around that metaphor…cause at the end of the day…its about choice for us…it wasnt for our ancestors.

  30. DaveyWayne they might not be Million Dollar Slaves. But they sure are Million Dollar Whores. They can’t do Sh%$ without the approval of their Pimp I mean owner. And if they disobey they get a beat down. Not only by the Pimp but also by the media.

    I guess Mark Cuban and Daniel Synder are nice Pimps. They are the type that actually treat their h@#s with respect. You know the type of Pimps that would marry the ho# that made them the most money and who always had their back.

  31. Temple what did they say about Tom Brady’s baby momma. Did they mention Brian Urlach baby he had with that stripper?

  32. francesca freaked out the day of the o.j. verdict, and his disdain for the ability of black folks to understand the facts was nauseating. now, had strahan been white . . . .

  33. Origin,
    #31 – those bottom b!tches are the ones to keep!

  34. Jweiler:

    I think Mike and Dog were just trying to point out the irony in Strahan being elected captain after missing the entire training camp because, at best, he obviously would be more effective for the first 2 to 3 games of the season had he reported on time or at least with enough time to work himself into “football shape.” Strahan put his personal interests ahead of the team (which, by the way, is fine by me, particularly in the NFL where contracts are not guaranteed), yet he was still elected a position of leadership on the team. It is worthy of discussion.

    But, the real irony is how Dog always kills every athlete and other sports people about their work performance and accountability, yet he is the first one to show up to work after a big game and freely admit that he didn’t watch the game, listen to Mike’s analysis, and then give opinions for the next 5 hours without having even watched the game!

    Lastly, in fairness, they have both devoted a lot of their show this week to Everett.

  35. Nah dawg, that ain’t a cheap shot at Monkey Boy. I’d say his job is just a little more important, in the grand scheme of things, than Michael Strahan’s. And re: Mike and Mad Dog’s high -handed moral outrage, if they’re really so offended by Mike Strahan’s attendance record, why don’t they pose the question to him themselves?

  36. ….oh that’s right, they’re kind of chicken-ish. Also, why would two sports talk hosts, not exactly very hard labor-qualify to speak for the common man? That’s all for this edition of Rhetorical Questions.

  37. Y’all see this? The No-Fun-League is at it again. Oh yeah, and if you’re readin’ this, NSA (or NFL), hollaaaaaaa.

  38. #21:

    My bad, y’all. I posted that as a joke and meant to address it – but got a phone call. That was hours ago. Sorry about that.

    Anyway, y’all should know Fox ain’t doin’ nuthin’ like that anytime sooooon.

  39. By the way, this videotaping thing with the Patriots have probably been going on for years. If I were a Giants fan, I wouldn’t be so sure that Billy B. wasn’t doing this way back then. Seriously, when you decide to start doing something like this? The technology is old as hell. There is nothing novel or innovative about this approach. I see no reason to suggest this activity BEGAN with a regular season against the sorry ass Packers.

    It’s funny. I always thoughts the Pats were lucky as hell with their roster full of Steeler rejects. I guess they weren’t so lucky after all. There was one drill I saw them do (on ESPN) which I’m not sure is done across the league – linebackers catching passes fired at close range to improve their hands/reaction time. Over the years, the Pats LBs seem to have caught more balls (especially in the Red Zone) than any team I can remember. I’ll give ‘em a little cred – but not much.

  40. KevDog-yeah, I don’t give them a lot of credit-they got caught after all, ha ha..

  41. Strahan is not the only one whose hunger is being questioned…
    http://www.timesdispatch.com/cva/ric/sports/football.apx.-content-articles-RTD-2007-09-10-0201.html

    Article re: Clinton Portis

  42. you knew they were coming after Portis when he defended Vick. They will be on him like white on rice for the rest of his career. Can you believe that uppity negro had the audacity to challenge the white media?

  43. One more thing, when Doug Gotley or one of those ESPN sleezeballs says “why don’t they get real jobs like the rest of us?”, I can’t help but laugh at how stupid their listeners must be to fall for that crap.

  44. origin: #31

    Charles oakley …”pimpin ain’t dead hoe’s is just scared”

    Anybody getting kicked in the ass and don’t fight back, deserves to be kicked in the ass…EVERYDAY!

    It aint right, but it is what it is. We can talk about the palnation like atmosphere of professional sports, but it carries little weight if the people directly affected don’t straigten up and act right.

    As for Portis… Expect some steppin and fetchin, it’s the price of being for sale!

  45. I don’t think so. I could be mistaken, but I don’t get that particular vibe from him. He’s done some silly stuff like all those characters he uses for interviews. Portis, from what I’ve seen, has enough sense to give two shits what folks think. Edgerrin James is the same way. I don’t see it happening, but one never knows do one?

  46. T3

    Let’s wait and see. I’m not asking for no “black glove fist” protest, just being man enough not to duck your head every time these devils come around looking for drama.

  47. DW #30

    “As for the slavery deal…im not pushing the slavery deal. I didnt bring it up. I just think thatwhile we bemoan the state of affairs for professional athletes we need to steer clear, ESPECIALLY those of us who are Black, of throwing around that metaphor…cause at the end of the day…its about choice for us…it wasnt for our ancestors.”

    I don’t think there is a disconnect between the two states of being. Sure, there is are huge differences, but there are also huge similarities regarding race, power, status, abuse of power and perception that make the plantation analogy useful. We all share a collective experience and a collective memory and the very fact that the way the league treats it’s players reminds many of us of a plantation system is proof enough to me of the illustrative nature of the analogy.

  48. KevDog at 48,

    Thanks for nailing that down because it was I who brought up Rhoden’s book. LOL And of course, he addresses that point fully in his book.

    I was at this sports bar this summer and although I had seen the combine briefly in pictures and videos before, now that the vast cable spectrum and 24/7 news cycle exist you can watch all of the combine and much of it in real time. And when they had those young men up there barely dressed doing their measurements and what not…well, you see where I’m going here. Never before had that imagery so quickly attached itself to that collective memory you speak of. I can’t ever look at it the same.

  49. SD #49

    “And when they had those young men up there barely dressed doing their measurements and what not…well, you see where I’m going here. Never before had that imagery so quickly attached itself to that collective memory you speak of. I can’t ever look at it the same.”

    Exactly SD, gives me terrible chills just thinking about it.

  50. SD & Kevdog,
    I third that emotion….that was just Charleston circa 1825…it gave me chills also.

  51. Compare that to the movie goodby uncle Tom, and you will see the why of the NFL

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 33 other followers

%d bloggers like this: