In 2012, we use more social outlets than ever to embarrass ourselves. Luckily for 20th century traditionalists, we still find outspoken individuals on the radio.
This month we heard two sports moguls stir up the air, to listeners’ dumbfoundedness. On September 5, Boston Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine appeared on The Big Show sports radio. After host Glenn Ordway pressed Valentine on a bumbling season and the sense that he had “checked out,” the skipper snapped back:
“What an embarrassing thing to say. If I were there right now, I’d punch you right in the mouth. Ha, ha. How’s that sound? Is that like I checked out?”
“…To have a successful team, you gotta have a few bad citizens on the team. I mean, that’s how Ohio State used to win all the time. They would have two or three guys that were criminals. That just adds to the chemistry of the team. I think Notre Dame is growing because maybe they have some guys that are something worthy of a suspension, which creates edge on the football team. You can’t have a football team full of choir boys.”
This sort of sageness can’t be found on ESPN (I take that back. Valentine worked for the network last year). Boston’s manager later stated his comments were a joke, but Pinkett reaffirmed on the broadcast that he stood behind his words. He was then suspended by the Notre Dame IMG Network for three games without salary.
Sports fans from Boston to Timbuktu will interpret their messages for themselves, but anyone with a sense of rationality will not take their comments to heart. Valentine was interviewed over the phone, and would have likely disconnected to avoid a traffic ticket if he drove to ambush Ordway. Pinkett has a spotless felony record, and no coaching or general managing experience.
The reason this is news, and fairly common news, is because we have two celebrities who can’t shut up. They are surrounded by microphones so often that it becomes a facet of life, and eventually their private and public worlds blur together. No one was physically harmed by Valentine or Pinkett, and the Dow Jones didn’t crash, but their images suffered. And the pair is too oblivious to notice.
Their carelessness stems from the reality of sports. When you win, you can get away with anything. When you lose, anything you say and do will be used against you in a court of civil judgement.
Missing the playoffs and a suspension aside, do you think Valentine and Pinkett feel like losers, when they have a fan base and millions of dollars?
Their statements were moronic. Whether he was kidding or not, Valentine should know never to threaten a talk show host. Pinkett forgot that a criminal per capita ratio has an adverse effect on NFL win-loss records, as the 2006 Cincinnati Bengals will attest.
The two could not escape the wrath of the media, and both their jobs are in jeopardy as a result. That’s the cost of foolishly yapping their minds to a national audience. But the next time a sports icon says something stupid on live radio, consider the context and their season record. It makes a difference.
Rui Thomas’ writings on sports can be found at The Ruination.
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