Thursday, August 18, 2011

There's No Statute of Limitations for Stupidity

In honor of the opening of college sports seasons -- and the annual ritual of media relations offices giving "the talk" to teams -- these are true stories, thankfully, from other SEC member schools. I don't know if I should read into the fact that they came from the same sport -- women's tennis. Nevertheless, they stand as stunning
examples of how not to express yourself with the media. The names and schools have been changed to protect the ignorant.

After a big win, one tennis player said to the campus newspaper:

"I can honestly say that our entire team -- freshmen and all -- opened up a large can of 'whup-ass' before the weekend started," said junior JANE DOE, who won all five of her matches this weekend.

Two things can be said here. Obviously, one should never express a desire to open up a can of whup-ass on any opponent. Second, and more subtle, is when athletes speak to their peers at the student newspaper they might use vernacular that they would never use with other media. And in quest of a hard-hitting, gritty story, that student reporter probably won't save the athlete from herself by not using or cleaning up the quote.

Our second stop on the stupidity tour. Commenting on the demise of an opponent in a tournament:

"I hate to say it, but I think we're all happy SCHOOL lost just because of the fact they don't get to the final again," said freshman JANE DOE, who is 3-0 in the tournament at No. 5 singles. "It would have been great to play them and beat them. But the fact they're gone . . . we like that, too."

This time, it was the major local paper. One wonders what other things this freshman might have added to her diatribe against the fallen opponent that didn't make the final edition.

Some will say these are two examples of great quote, of young women expressing themselves. I would submit that both were highly quotable. So much so they'll be on bulletin boards for years to come since there isn't a statute of limitations on stupid statements.

Seriously, this time of colorful commentary only serves to coarsen the image of elite athletes. They both look like spoiled brats, or at least poor sports.

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