Most of us work a job where if we said what was truly on our mind to our boss we’d likely get written up, and at worse, fired. So why is this concept not taken into account when pertaining to athletes? If anything athletes should be the first ones to say no comment considering all the outlets available to spread, turn and twist their words any which way but straight. Most of the time nothing good happens when athletes open up and are engaging. Outside of a select few, you’re branded a self promoting prima donna, or you’re a locker room cancer.
Below I look at two situations of when players in my opinion would’ve been best served to keep quiet.
Let’s take a look the current situation going on in Cleveland. Josh Cribbs, fan favorite and known baller. The last two weeks he’s worn his emotions on his sleeves expressing his frustration for losing through the media. Back to back Sundays he’s talked to the media after games and every Monday local media has crushed him for being selfish and directing all attention to him. While fans may like his candidness, this method of expressing his disdain for losing may not be best. While fans are appeased by his yapping, do you think his teammates are happy that they have to answer questions about what Josh said. Think about it. Do you like to be held accountable for what your co-worker did/said at work? I know I don’t. Though it’s nice to hear Josh’s frustrations, but let’s not diminish everyone else’s’ desire to win just cause they choose to be silent.
How about Desean Jackson in Philly, the city of brotherly love; after his brief holdout he decided it would be best if he reported to training camp without a new contract. Moreover what has ensued: his Pro Bowl caliber qb is injured, the team is really bad and he’s still without a multi-million dollar extension. And after one of their worst games when he was shown to be disengaged, he walks out on reporters after a couple questions he didn’t like. Now in a place where they probably like combativeness (remember they booed Santa Clause) while it was entertaining watching Desean walk out, he would’ve been best served just saying ‘no comment’. Or where was the P.R. person to run some interference so that he’s not allowed to put his foot in his mouth. Desean may have made some mistakes on how he’s handled things this year, but at this point in the season, there’s nothing Desean can say to help his cause. He’s better off just staying quiet and allowing his agent to do his job behind the scenes.
The long and short of it is, choose your words wisely, know when to stand down, and when to fight. Sometimes it’s better to be thought a fool then to speak and remove all doubt. In both of these scenarios it might’ve been better for these two to remain quiet. Not casting guilt or innocence on either of these guys, but they’re fighting a battle they can’t win. While they may be pandering to their current fan base, or pushing them away, in professional sports, you have to keep in mind everything you do is on the record for the next team you may play for to see. Furthermore what’s acceptable today may not be tomorrow.