October 31, 2011

Silver Bullet

This slice of wisdom from JaMarcus Russell in Jon Wertheim’s Sports Illustrated profile of the former Raiders quarterback and quintessential draft bust: Russell, according to Wertheim, “likes Drew Brees [though Russell says he throws off his back foot too much].’ ” ... On behalf of Brees and all other NFL quarterbacks of the past decade who’ve devoted more attention to developing their craft than Russell – which is to say all of them – one final thought: Yo, JaMarcus – have some more Purple Drank.
The above is from Mike Silver's weekly NFL piece on Yahoo; although I trimmed out a trio of lame jokes -- apparently, when Silver was taught the comedy rule of three, no one told him that the shit should be funny -- you get the gist of it. Anyway, I have nothing against Silver -- in fact, we seem to have a lot in common, not the least of which is our esteemed alma mater -- but I do have a major problem with him ripping Russell.

The average blogger/sportswriter didn't grow up dreaming about covering sports; they dreamt of playing them. But at some point, they just weren't good enough to compete. Maybe they realized it as far back as Little League, or were told as much as they got cut from the varsity, or when they didn't get a scholarship, but somewhere along the line it became abundantly clear that they couldn't hack it. And so they found another way to get themselves in the game -- by writing about it.

But no matter how successful sportswriters become, they constantly have one thing thrown in their faces by the players (and even some fans) -- that is, that they couldn't possibly know what they are talking about because they never played the game. Which is what makes Silver's angle so appalling to me: basically, that Russell isn't allowed to have a take on a quarterback's tendencies because he was a terrible NFL quarterback.

Apparently, Silver has no idea what the implications of this are: That the players are right -- if you can't play the game at the highest level, you can't have an opinion about it. In taking down JaMarcus Russell's critique of Drew Brees' foot, Mike Silver has managed to shoot the sportwriting community in theirs.