Consider this a public-service announcement for Bryan Bulaga, Quentin Jammer and every other professional athlete who thinks the only way to know what’s going on in sports is to have played it professionally. Let’s start at the end: your claim is wrong.
Jammer last week tweeted …
Still can’t understand ppl who never played a down of football but will write articles and talk football like they r the football messiah!
— Quentin Jammer(@JAM_I_AM_23) December 1, 2012
Bulaga, a week earlier, tweeted at a young journalist …
@matt_cozziunless you have ever played football or trained at a high level like these players do, don’t comment on it.
— Bryan Bulaga (@BBulaga) November 23, 2012
I have never attended culinary school, but I know enough about food to know jelly beans don’t belong in Fettucini Alfredo. I am not an auto mechanic, but I know enough about cars to understand the radiator is not connected to the rear brake light. I am not an accountant, but I know enough about finances to understand a $75,000-a-year income and $90,000 a year in expenses don’t mix.
I have never played professional football, but I know when a player is struggling. We as fans know when a team isn’t cohesive on the field. We as fans know a lot of things. If Bulaga and Jammer are so insecure in their chosen professions, if they are so emotionally fragile that they have to convince themselves that they and their fellow professionals are The Only Humans on Earth who understand zone blocking (and let’s face it, it’s not exactly molecular biology), then so be it. Let them go on living in their dream world.
Professional football players know more about football than fans do, but that fact does not mean fans don’t know anything. Fans know a lot.
When I was a sports writer, I always rolled my eyes when a player said, “You never played the game.” No, I didn’t, but so what?
No, really. So what?
I understand why players get mad when reporters question their effort. Most athletes give 100 percent. Reporters who mistakenly equate effort with success – who spew dumb clichés like one team “wanted it more” or “the effort wasn’t there” – deserve an athlete’s ire.
Beyond that, it’s all fair game. X’s and O’s can be learned whether you’re 6-foot-4/250 pounds or 5-foot-4/135. Results can be judged. Opinions may be spoken, even publicly over social media. If a pro athlete can’t handle that, you wonder what, if anything, he can handle.
Find Dave Schwartz on Twitter @daveschwartz.