LITTLE ROCK — Laced with insight, the well-constructed sentences should be enunciated perfectly with a light touch of gee-whiz humility.
Is that what we realistically expect when a microphone is stuck in the face of an athlete following more than three hours of hand-to-hand combat with a despised opponent or when questioning a quarterback who has been under the microscope for months? I don’t think so.
Yet, Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman is roasted for a rant after his tip of a pass in the end zone resulted in a game-ending interception and his Seahawks advanced to the Super Bowl for the second time in franchise history. And, Jameis Winston’s speech is questioned after he led a length-of-the-field drive to complete a perfect season against an Auburn team that was supposed to be a team of destiny.
I don’t condone Sherman’s verbal attack on wide receiver Michael Crabtree or Winston’s rambling monologue of self praise, but I don’t want anybody recording me after a par-par-par finish that nets a couple of dollars following four hours of competition on the golf course. Keep in mind, we’re talking about celebrating victory in a non-contact sport and the people paying up are friends.
Sherman vs. Crabtree is the most out-in-the-open example of the dislike between the Seahawks and the 49ers and they have a history, including Crabtree’s reported attempt to start a fight with Sherman at a charity event during the offseason. On Sunday evening, San Francisco snapped the ball 50-plus times and somebody would have to count how many times the two men were mano-a-mano. Certainly, others who were face-to-face were not making plans to sup together.
Winston’s post-game remarks were not venomous, but remember there were questions about how Florida State would react if the game was close in the fourth quarter and whether the quarterback would fold if pressured unmercifully. All the time that talk was ongoing, Winston was 19. At that age, a beginning biology course almost overwhelmed.
Fans’ negative reaction to the words of Sherman and/or Winston are understandable; media criticism is something of a double standard since all of us in the business pursue the candid quote. Most of the time, the run-of-the-mill post-game words are predictable. Often, they are uttered after a cooling off period.
At Arkansas, there is no set policy, but coach Bret Bielema talks with the media after the game, giving players time to wind down. When the BCS games existed, there was a 10-minute cooling off period, but on-field interviews occured during the celebration.
TV’s sideline reporters also have access to coaches before the game and at halftime and drivel is the result about 99 percent of the time.
If I heard correctly, Seattle coach Pete Carroll said at halftime that his Seahawks needed to score more and tackle Colin Kapernick. Wow. The Seahawks trailed 10-3 and the 49ers’ only touchdown resulted after the Seahawks missed at least three tackles on a 58-yard run by the San Francisco quarterback.
At halftime of the AFC game, three-time Super Bowl winning coach Bill Belichick allowed as to how his team needed to do better on offense. Edge-of-the-seat insight, for sure. New England trailed 13-3 and had 119 yards total offense.
I’m still waiting for the day when a coach shares his second-half game plan with the world.
Along those lines, “whatever” grates on Americans more than any other word, but the question that begins “How much does this mean” is the most irritating on my list of post-game queries. Just once, I want a creative response.
How about, “On a scale of 1 to 10, 1,” or “Man, I beat Michael Jordan in golf,” or “Meaningful? Check out the Shazam app on my watch phone.”
Harry King is sports columnist for Stephens Media’s Arkansas News Bureau. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.