Sunday, September 28, 2008

When In Doubt, Shut Up

You may or may not be familiar with what Matt Bryant has had to deal with this week. Bryant is the kicker for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and his 3-month old son died earlier this week. Obviously, it's a terrible tragedy, and our thoughts go out to Matt and his wife.

Bryant played today in the Bucs' game against Green Bay. With Tampa trailing late in the game, Bryant hit a field goal to put the Bucs up 23-21. Color analyst Daryl Johnston, doing the game for Fox, had this to say:

"Hollywood couldn't write a better story. To deal with this type of adversity and overcome it is just tremendous."

Look, I think it's commendable that Bryant played and was able to play well. I'm sure it was difficult for him. But I don't think that playing well today is "overcoming adversity" in the sense that it's not really what Bryant was concentrating on. I mean, is it going to change his life all that much for the better? Clearly, he has more important things to think about and deal with right now. I'm sure football is a welcome diversion, but probably isn't his biggest priority. His hitting the field goal wasn't as much a triumph for him as it was a way for him to have some distraction from his grief (if that's possible).

And what kind of Hollywood story would this be? His son is still gone. Would anyone want to see a movie where a kicker loses his son, but then kicks a field goal in a week 4 regular season game? Is that a happy ending? I don't think so. The most important thing here is not Bryant making the field goal, obviously--it's the loss of his son.

I know Johnston was trying to be supportive. But if announcers insist on using stupid cliches, they should at least think a little bit before they open their mouths. While this wasn't the most insensitive thing Johnston could have said, it's shows how announcers overstate things--in this case, the importance of the field goal versus the events happening off the field.

Bryant's story speaks for itself. Perhaps Johnston should have let it.

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Blogger Zinglebert Bembledack said...

For some reason, the media feels that they need to show an individual overcoming some tragedy, event or obstacle and make everyone feel good about it. The Olympics is the most flagrant about this. Heaven forbid that an athlete could win a gold medal when they came from a good home, did not have an tragedies in his/her life and is an outstanding citizen in the community.

It is OK to point out the tragedy that Matt Bryant was dealing with, but don't glamourize it by trying to make it the latest Hollywood feel-good story.

September 30, 2008 at 12:05 PM  

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