Tinderbox: Follett Story on Press Coverage, Meta

>> 1.26.2011

My reaction to the Zack Follett incident is up on Press Coverage; I suggest you go check it out there.  Amazingly, the story is still developing, as Killer and Sean reacted to Zack’s reaction to the media reaction on WDFN this afternoon. It’s incredible to see how meta this is getting . . .

Speaking of going meta, I’ll again pray forgiveness for the lack of content yesterday. My “tweaking” of the site has scope-creeped all the way up into a full-on platform change and redesign; what I have in the works ought to knock your socks off (but it’s killing all my writing time)! Tomorrow will feature a nice fat offseason post I hope you’ll all enjoy.  In the meantime, check out Press Coverage.


theicon77,  January 26, 2011 at 7:10 PM  


So Follett says something stupid and now it is a battle between good and evil. It could not possibly be his fault at all.

Anonymous,  January 27, 2011 at 9:06 AM  

Read your writeup, good work.

Often times it is tough for many fans to put themselves in the players positions because where they are, to many of us, is so spectacularly out of reach. We forget that, as you and others have said countless times before, that these are kids fairly fresh out of college who (more often than not) weren't exactly where they were in college for their academic achievements. This is absolutely what turns a young, honest player into a veteran who only gives media and the fans the normal go-to script.

As an aside, I appreciate your work because you represent the more sober-minded end of our fanbase. Thanks for that.

Ty,  January 27, 2011 at 9:36 AM  


I struggle with that stuff. I certainly don't begrudge Follett his beliefs; I'm a churchgoing man myself. But I personally don't believe that angels and demons are waging war over everything that happens to everybody . . . and yeah, sometimes citing "the battle" seems to be a way of absolving yourself of responsibility for your actions.


Ty,  January 27, 2011 at 2:37 PM  


Thanks, and you're welcome! I really appreciate that--I'd like to think my voice can be the voice of reason sometimes, even if rooting for the Lions is entirely irrational.


Matt,  January 28, 2011 at 12:12 PM  

I think your Orwellian reference was spot on. This seems to be a case of Follett using a cliche which didn't really express what he meant and the media running with it. It was a bad choice of words, but all he really meant was that there's concern about Stafford's injuries/injury history right now. Anyone who follows the Lions at all must share those concerns or, well, there's something wrong with that person. Follett just phrased the sentiment poorly.

That leads to the other big factor in this and that is the media. The 24-hour news cycle which requires constant "feeding" has been commented on a million times over. A guy says something like this and the entire media pounces because they gotta' talk about something. 10 or 20 years ago, no one outside of Fresno would know what Follett said.

With all this being said, though, I've grown tired lately of sports people (media, team personnel, fans, etc.) referring to these athletes as "kids." That might still be a fair term for an 18 or 19-year old college freshman, but I don't think it's fair for an upper classman and certainly not a professional football player. In fact, the few players I knew in college were all big fans of the phrase "I'm a grown-ass man." Guess what? Grown-ass men don't always think before they speak and don't always choose their words carefully. When someone mis-speaks, it's not automatically because he/she is a "kid" who doesn't know any better yet. There's too much absolving of responsibility going on when labeling athletes as "kids." When someone like Follett says something like "china doll," he has to take responsibility for it. If that's not what he meant, it's his responsibility to explain what he DID mean. That's what grown-ass men do when they make mistakes. They don't blame it on "being a kid." To his credit, Follett has handled this situation like a man. That's not surprising as he is 23 years old. He's been able to drive, vote, enlist in the military, and buy a beer for years (though he still has to pay "full price" for car insurance :-). If he's still a "kid," at what age exactly are we expected to act like adults these days?

Matt,  January 28, 2011 at 12:19 PM  

One additional comment, Anonymous is spot-on about this:
"This is absolutely what turns a young, honest player into a veteran who only gives media and the fans the normal go-to script."

When athletes get "burned" by/in the media like this, they, and those around them, learn real quick to just play it safe and stick to the script. BOR-ING! I'd rather have guys occasionally say something stupid while giving us fans real insight/access than listen to the same canned phrases over and over again.

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