Earlier today I got into a surprisingly engaging Twitter battle with Bart Scott, the former Jets linebacker who now works in television.
I started it. And, admittedly, it was snarky. Scott was known as a miserable SOB to deal with when he was in New York. He was quite dismissive to reporters—print and TV—and even led a brief boycott of the press. I’ve never heard a New York-based football scribe speak well of Scott. Which, to be clear, doesn’t mean he’s a bad guy. It just means he was bad to the media.
Which was sorta the point of a Tweet I wrote. Namely, I’ve always been bugged when athletes who treated the media like sludge are hired to … become members of the media. My greatest personal example is Nomar Garciaparra, the former Red Sox shortstop who repeatedly went out of his way to make the lives of journalists significantly harder than they had to be. Scottie Pippen was equally bad with the Bulls, David Justice with the Yankees. All nasty, all future members of the media.
Anyhow, I Tweeted about Scott. And, to my surprise, he responded. I certainly wasn’t trying to goad him. But, well, he replied. And this is what he wrote …
Then, without warning, two strange Tweets followed.
Strange Tweet No. 1:
Strange Tweet No. 2:
I was initially baffled. Who said Scott was a bad guy off the field? Then I started thinking about this famous Chris Rock routine, which still makes me laugh and (even though he uses a certain word that makes me r-e-a-l-l-y uncomfortable) applies to men of all races, religions and creeds. I re-read Scott’s words and thought, “Is this what the behavioral expectations are for the NFL? Is it a bragging point that you were never arrested in 11 years? That you actually didn’t have a kid with someone not named Mrs. Scott?”
I’m not sure the answer. I’m truly not. But while I applaud Scott’s willingness to engage with followers, as well as his dedication to education, I’m not handing him a cookie for never being arrested; for not having out-of-wedlock kids.
Perhaps the tribulations of Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson have numbed our expectations of proper athlete behavior.
Or perhaps they’ve always been that way.