This year The Board of Selectors (a panel of 44 journalists) voted Marshall Faulk, Deion Sanders, Richard Dent, Shannon Sharpe and Ed Sabol into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with senior selections being Chris Hanburger and Les Richter. Typically criticism follows selections every year. And typically, after the Super Bowl, it fades. And one would think that with the looming Collective Bargaining Agreement that discussions and criticisms on those awarded into the class 2011 class would evaporate just as easily.
Except it hasn't.
Jason Whitlock wrote a passionate piece criticizing the process, mostly in response to offense lineman Willie Roaf not making it into the Hall.
Meanwhile, the 44 “journalists” who participate in and profit from the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection process meet in secrecy and pledge to never discuss publicly how they determine who gets in the Hall of Fame. They don’t release who they voted for. They don’t talk about their "voting blocs" or personal biases. Their qualifications for assessing the careers of the players are never adequately debated.
“There’s been enough from idiots like Jason Whitlock who doesn’t know what he’s talking about, criticizing the process and the fact that Willie Roaf didn’t get in,” Pasquarelli said. “Let me ask you this: In his championing of Willie Roaf, OK, and the fact that he claims he would cry if Willie Roaf didn’t get in — and I assume that he’s honest about that — how is he any less subjective, for instance, than the people who voted for Richard Dent? Isn’t it his opinion and nothing more? There’s no criteria by which he goes. Isn’t it his opinion that Willie Roaf should be a member of the Hall of Fame? What does he have to go by that’s concrete about that?”
Bob Gretz called Whitlock an "ignorant bully".
Most of this revolves around the selection process having little to no transparency. Whitlock argues that the voters qualifications should be examined, saying that it's "absolute power in the hands of a few. It’s a blatant violation of nearly everything that we as journalists allegedly stand for."
One of those members in the Board of Selectors is our very own Joe Reedy, who responded on Friday by breaking down the candidates.
Joe Reedy took over for Mark Crunutte as the Cincinnati Enquirer's beat writer for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2009 and was one of the first, if not the first, journalists covering the Bengals to expand outside typical columns for the Enquirer. He was one of the first to use Twitter, often responding to fan questions. Unlike Crunutte, he embraced the Bengals blog site. Reedy is far from the old school journalists who snarl at people like us, bloggers that threaten online traffic to their own sites.
No matter how you view Reedy, he's always been in tune with what Bengals fans want and need to know, providing answers to questions that fans have.
That being said, we need to nudge him towards squeezing a Bengals player or two through as candidates if they ever make it that deep into the process for the 2012 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.