Asked about a certain topic or situation, more times than not in the NFL, players will say something that prevents an all-out assault from those that observe the sport. In a way, it's entrapment. And sometimes it's premeditated, hoping for an off-the-handle response (think Gregg Doyel and LeBron James earlier this week) creating a story that shouldn't have expected because of the way the question was asked. Find a player that's historically honest about his responses, ask a question that could be deemed controversial, and watch people attack that player like the locust plagues of Egypt for honesty.
We weren't the one's asking the questions, but when Carson Palmer said he's still on a media hiatus, we went off because in our simplistic minds of every day life, we deserved an answer for his abandonment of our team; an option most of us don't have, save for those that sell alliances on eBay. Sure, we have a good idea why. We just want to hear it from him.
The climate today has harmed the perception of players where the rewards of honesty is replaced by the monotone of talking points and "coaches speak".
Asked if he was nervous about the NFL lockout, Bengals linebacker Brandon Johnson said:
“I wouldn’t say nervous. I’m actually kind of enjoying my time off. I get a lot of family time in, I get to kick it with my friends, get do a lot of traveling. I don’t have to spend eight hours at the Stadium. I mean, I’m enjoying myself. We’ve always been complaining that the offseason is way too short, well here we have it. Now we have the longest offseason in NFL history so I’m enjoying it really.”
Personally, I don't have a problem with that. Brandon Johnson isn't the one in negotiations to get a deal down between the players and the NFL. He virtually has no control over what's going on and his only option through all of this is sitting back and waiting. And by sitting back and waiting, he's enjoying his time with his family, friends and traveling. Stuck in the same situation, who wouldn't be doing the same thing?
Joe Reedy is right. It will raise eyebrows because some people expect NFL players to think, eat and speak football every moment of their waking lives. Additionally, as a blue collar worker myself, the idea of players not having to work while being financially secure, doesn't draw the greatest sympathy from fans.
Yet, while thinking about the common NFL players and not the high profile players, these guys work just as hard as anyone in their professions -- and for free during the offseason, training camp and preseason. They can't have disappointing seasons because if they do, save for high profile players, they're more than likely out of the game within a year or two. Their off days are often filled with soreness during the rare moments of spending an entire day with family.
I'm not defending players because the lockout takes two to tangle. But Brandon Johnson's comments I have no problem with because they're honest and, quiet frankly, expected.