First of all I want to thank Plink for giving me the idea for my first FanPost. You can send all hatemail if you feel it so deserved his way. Also a big thanks to Ironman for reminding me that there's an enter button. A very special thank you to Pineywoods about what to write about.Plink's recent post about the bad decisions of a certain star-wearing WR got me thinking. How much is the media to blame for how players are perceived in today's fanbase?
We all know by now how traumatizing it was when we found out about Micheal Irvin's drug problem or his womanizing ways. How long had he already been in the league when we found out about it? The "White House" seems to be a popular topic when talking about the early 90s Cowboys and how they used to party it up there, but it seemed the media was completely in the dark about it while the Cowboys were playing lights out. Was it an effective coverup by the team? Were the players more discrete or was there simply not as much media coverage then as there is now?
It seems to me that with the advent of the internet and the growth of ESPN, athletes are now viewed more as movie star type icons than they ever were before. The microscope they are under has grown proportionate with the size of the media covering them. Pre internet would newspapers have even wasted the ink to print up the story about Roy Williams' ring? Would the typical fan even known about it's existence? I raise all these questions becuase I'm concerned with how media coverage and bias can either raise a player up or destroy them or the team that they play for.
I know I've used an awful lot of question marks in this post so far without explaining my feelings but when I see a questionable story used to further demean a player or a team it raises question marks in my head. I know Roy Williams is a popular target to beat upon within fan circles but you have to ask yourself if it's truly warranted?
Roy has been a lightning rod of controversy ever since Jerry (was going to use 'we', but that somehow just didn't seem right) traded for him out of Detroit. Rescuing him from a history of losing, media obscurity, and uselessness. Now how does this huge talent repay us for this salvaging of his career? In truly gracious fashion he remains true to who he always has been. We just never saw it.
How often did he make a quote or do something of note in Detroit? I would venture to take a stab at that and say all the time. The press corps deemed being assigned to Detroit akin to being sent to Siberia however. How much interest would anything a highly drafted WR in the black hole of the NFL universe generate when there are so many more interesting stories floating across an editors desk? All of a sudden you have him thrust into the national limelight. The media coverage that he finds himself suddenly experiencing after all these years being in the shadows is daunting, demoralizing, and flat out scary if you've never been a movie star on the red carpet at the Oscars before.
This is a condition every single player that comes to Dallas experiences. That would be a culture shock to most anyone. Add that to the amount of heightened expectations that you face. As much as we love our team, think about how much your actions would be magnified with increased scrutiny at your everyday job. Every action you make, everything you would do on the job, good and bad, would be there for all to see everyday on the company website, newsletter, or the breakroom.
That's why they get paid the big bucks.
As fans who are paying their astronomical salaries we can have expectations about their performance.
They are professionals and should not only expect anything less than the media attention they receive, they should embrace it and know how to handle it.
I'm not going to go into a lengthy defense of Roy at this time, thats not the purpose of this post. What I'm getting at is that every time a player gets into trouble, says something, does anything at all in fact that can be twisted or turned around to demean that player and by association that team, if it's the Cowboys, it's news.
When Roy first got here one of the first things he mentioned was that the Lions practiced harder than the Boys did. UH OH.....we got ourselves another TO troublemaker who only wants the spotlight on himself. Yes, that was sarcasm. Just a player saying what he felt and didn't mean to start a firestorm. Wouldn't have made the late night news let alone primetime in Detroit. He's talking about how Tony and him aren't on the same page. Here we go again with another loudmouthed WR thats demeaning the guys he plays with. Everything Roy says or does just begs for the media to attack him and the organization. Its not just Roy though.
Dez Bryant from day one when drafted has been under the Cowboy microscope. The media it seems are trying their best to make sure that he becomes the character failure, waste of talent that they all assumed he would be when he was stripped of his last season at Oklahoma State. Has he made some bad choices? He's young with a ton of money to spend. Who wouldn't?
They need to give him space and a chance to grow up on his own without someone following him around on a motor scooter snapping pictures. I want to see him mature and become the player we all feel he can become and not the washed up failure the media already has him becoming.