There was a time the sportswriter was the fans’ lone conduit to their favorite team. If they weren’t in the stands watching the game themselves, fans relied on the sports reporter to paint the picture of what happened. The reporter also talked to players and coaches to — hopefully — give the fans some insight into why their team won or lost.
I like to think I carry on that tradition at the Daily Journal. My role as a sportswriter closely mirrors the reporters who came before. My role is to give those not in attendance a glimpse into how a game played out. After all, how would you have known the Aragon girls’ basketball team beat Lincoln-San Francisco Tuesday night without my riveting account of the game?
Professional sports? It’s a whole new ballgame. With every game on television and the Internet, with countless pre-game, half-time and post-game shows, with ESPN and other highlight shows rehashing and going over every major play with a fine-tooth comb, there is no more mystery about what happened on the field. Fans nowadays no longer have to wait until the next day’s newspaper to see what happened to their favorite team. They’ve already consumed and formed opinions about what happened. They watched, just like the media.
That’s why I find it somewhat interesting to read some local members of the media criticizing San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for being less than verbose at his post-game media sessions. Kaepernick has been described as “curt” at best and “rude” at worst when it comes to dealing with the media, which leads me to ask: does anyone really care what Kaepernick has to say? Obviously he doesn’t say much, so why keep going back to him for a quote?
Not that I blame Kaepernick. He doesn’t say anything of interest because I believe he does not want to give any kind of sound bite that could come back to bite him. Baltimore rookie defensive back Matt Elam stuck his foot in his mouth the other day by essentially saying Detroit wide receiver Calvin “Megatron” Johnson was too old. Washington quarterback Robert Griffin III was perceived to have thrown teammates and coaches under the bus for some innocuous comment he made a few weeks ago. Kaepernick will be damned if he allows anyone to twist his words.
Besides, Kaepernick is just following the footsteps of his coach, Jim Harbaugh. He gives the same type of bland, non-answers nearly every other pro coach uses, yet the local media appears to have made peace with that.
Talk radio Wednesday was all over the Kaepernick-media subject, which led to this line of questioning: by all but snubbing the media, is Kaepernick living up to the “face of the franchise” tag bestowed upon the starting quarterback of every good team?
Let’s leave that decision to the media because it’s a no-win question. There will be a faction of fans who want to see Kaepernick’s personality come through and others — along with his teammates — who just need the quarterback to go out and win games.
And let’s face it, much like learning to play the game on the field in the NFL, players have to learn to play the media game. All this media attention is relatively new for Kaepernick, who saw nowhere near this much publicity as he quietly toiled away at University of Nevada. Suddenly, he’s the starting quarterback for one of the most storied franchises in sports. Cut him some slack. He’ll learn how to better deal with the media, just as he continues to grow as an NFL quarterback.
There are a few corrections in Thursday’s article, “Skyline looks for momentum.” The Trojans open tournament play against Marin (3-2) at 6 p.m. Friday.
Notre Dame-Belmont has an opening for head junior varsity softball coach. Interested candidates may contact athletic director Jason Levine at 595-1913 ext. 255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nathan Mollat can be reached by phone: 344-5200 ext. 117 or by email: email@example.com. You follow him on Twitter@CheckkThissOutt.