High profile athletes always get the benefit of having media at their disposal, regardless of what they may say. Society seems to always flock to the every word that “big time” athletes put out. Those athletes can shape how society perceives them to a large degree and either becomes a hero or the proverbial “bad” guy. Some athletes have absolutely no problem with how their image is portrayed, whether good or bad because those athletes clearly express feelings, sometimes not following the “team” concept and if they feel wronged in any way, a sound byte will be ensuing. There are some athletes however, that always seem to do the right thing, is the consummate professional and in the eyes of the media is the ultimate team guy.
So last week on ESPN’s “First Take”, the “poster child” for the ultimate team guy, Donovan McNabb, debating about whether or not Tim Tebow was the most unfairly criticized quarterback ever stated that, “Negative-I am”. “Nobody’s been criticized more than I have.” Now McNabb has been criticized, but “most criticized ever” is a bit much. McNabb has always been that guy that you hoped would start to defend himself, criticized primarily because of his football playing, was sometimes being too much of the team guy. If anything Donovan McNabb has been one of the most protected athletes by media because of his willingness to take the high road, so it is amazing to see him making any comment that is controversial.
Now that it seems McNabb’s career is possibly over and because of his charisma the natural progression is for him to enter media, looks as if he is using the microphone for therapy. I guess he has suppressed all these feelings as a player and it is all coming out now that he is on the other side of the mic. My only question is where was this willingness to defend himself when Terrell Owens essentially said he had no intestinal fortitude or when Mike Shanahan basically said he could not run a 2-minute offense and he was out of shape? He would be dead wrong to use this stage to defend his legacy, especially to improve public perception. He cannot escape the perception that he is a “gutless” and “heartless” guy that can only “toe the company line.”
Jamie Walker can be reached through email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through Twitter @coachjdub21.
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