Symbiosis between Press, Sports Is Not Always Comfortable

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), January 27, 2011 | Go to article overview

Symbiosis between Press, Sports Is Not Always Comfortable


Among many other things related to Jay Cutler's knee, Chicago Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo talked Monday about the media.

"You have got jobs to do. You do your jobs," Angelo said during a news conference, and, by that, he seemed to mean that Chicago's sports reporters and commentators report aggressively and thoroughly -- and therefore uncomfortably for many athletes, coaches and, yes, general managers. That, Angelo said, was a factor, in addition to Cutler's skills on the field, that led the Bears to bring the renowned grump to Chicago.

"That's why I personally wanted to trade for a veteran quarterback," he said, "somebody who earned their stripes here in the league, that was used to what comes into the fishbowl at that quarterback position. I think Jay handles what comes with the territory very well."

That depends, of course, on what Angelo means by "handles."

If he means "makes his requisite public appearances, generally avoids swearing or overtly insulting anyone, and sleeps well at night," few would quibble that Cutler handles that standard just fine. If he means "speaks with polite good humor, helps fans better understand the game and seems to care about such things," few would say Cutler handles that job successfully at all.

Nor does he have to. He simply has to recognize that how he handles his public image has a direct effect on how the public reacts to him. If he -- or any other celebrity, especially an athlete, in similar circumstances -- is feeling unfairly treated now, he can't simply blame the fans, writers and broadcasters who are pressing him.

It's rather the opposite extreme, of course, but no one questioned the toughness of Brett Favre this season when a shoulder injury kept him from playing for the first time in 297 games. …

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