Friday, March 16, 2012

Enough Is Enough

Where were you the day Peyton Manning died?  How about when Tim Tebow was born from a virgin in a manger or Jeremy Lin crossed the Pacific on foot and decided to play basketball rather than heal the sick and tend to the needy?
Although deifying our athletes has been going on in our society since the beginning of sports, it seems that the media has reached a new level of absurdity in regards to their coverage.
I honestly didn’t hate Tebow when he came out of college.  I figured he was an H-Back or a tight end and could possibly contribute positively on a team if he was used properly.  I envisioned a Peyton Hillis type bruising back that could throw occasionally when necessary.  Then former Broncos’ Head Coach Josh McDaniels inexplicably moved up in the draft to take him and declared he would be a quarterback.  It didn’t take long for the fans to clamor for the third stringer to start because he had some good games against bad teams at the conclusion of his rookie season.  And soon thereafter the media hitched their wagons to the Tebow train and a “legend” was born.
His biggest apologist, Skip Bayless, and a host of other sports talking heads along with a contingent of religious nincompoops began a nonstop campaign on his behalf while bashing anyone who dared point out his deficiencies regardless of how true they were (Where are you Merril Hoge?).  Never mind the fact the kid could not play—truth be damned.  The only thing that mattered was he could have been aborted or he was a scrappy fighter that had to face adversity and doubt all his life and had always been able to overcome what was stacked against him and win.  He was an inspiration because he could pray on the sidelines and was “winning” in the waning seconds of games despite the fact he had played putrid for the previous 58 minutes.
None of that mattered.  The media had their man and was going to shove him down our faces whether we liked it or not.
Recent “phenom” Jeremy Lin has been treated much the same way.  A nowhere guard on the cusp of returning to the Developmental League gets a chance to play because there is no one else to play and he has a few good games and he is elevated to Christ-like status almost overnight.  He was placed in the All-Star festivities where he did absolutely nothing ad shortly thereafter he crashed and burned and is right back to the point of where it all began almost two months ago…a mediocre guard who should be about to head back to the D-league.
But the media hyped this unproven kid up so much anyone who dares speak the truth about where he should be would get the equivalent of a public tar and feathering. 
And that’s my beef with the media nowadays.  It is in such a hurry to find the next superstar to say “I found him first” that they hardly stop to ask themselves, “What has he done?”  And in the case of these two; absolutely nothing. 
Tebow is a no-hit wonder who wins by attrition.  Someone has to lose and he is fortunate that his defense stays in games long enough for one play to decide it all.  When he had to go against real teams with real quarterbacks, he fared poorly to be kind.  Now he wants to work on his throwing mechanics and the media is lauding his efforts to improve but he is going into his third season and now he wants to improve his mechanics?  He’ll impress me when he stops being a QB and becomes just another player.
Lin story is a little different but he is trapped by the same hype monster the media has created for him.  There comes a time when these guys hear how great they are so much that they either start believe it or it starts to tear apart their team and build resentment amongst their teammates. 
In Denver Brady Quinn had to apologize for statements he made about Tebow in a magazine article and most likely won’t be back in Denver.  Carmelo Anthony is getting blamed for the failures of the Knicks as well as his incompatibility with Lin even though he has played with the likes of Chauncey Billups and Andre’ Miller in Denver.  No one will mention the fact that the Knicks are a bad team put together terribly with parts that just don’t mesh.
I mentioned Manning only because of the intense coverage he received when he left the Colts.  We all knew it was coming but ESPN treated it like it was the death of a Kennedy.  Regular shows were interrupted and fellow players and coaches had to recite their favorite moments of Manning.  Now where inundated with images of his plane flying in and out of airports as if O.J. was on board.  It’s too much.
What happened to letting athletes earn praise while allowing them to be motivated by honest criticism?  When did we stop allowing players to develop, not overnight but over time before we passed judgment?  When did it become the status quo to corner a former player, host or announcer and make them pick a side; all the while really not giving them a true choice?
I know this will fall on deaf ears but it’s about time for the media to take a step back and allow the rest of us to make a decision because God knows I am tired of having one forced on me.
And for the record, Tebow still sucks!

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