But The Media Made Me Do it!August 27, 2009
If you’re a Cubs fan, live in Chicago, or simply watch ESPN, then you know today is quickly becoming “Controversial Thursday.” Michael Vick is appearing in court regarding bankruptcy before joining the Eagles today-Brett Favre’s arrival is creating a “schism” in the Vikings locker room-More allegations are being made in the Rick Pitino sexual assault case-Oh, and Milton Bradley is accusing Chicago Cubs fans of being racist.
If you’re listening to Chicago sports radio, I’m sure you’ve heard your fill of Bradley’s recent lash-out. In a post-game interview on Tuesday, Bradley mentioned that he looks forward to time with his family where he can avoid the hatred. The hatred? When asked about it Bradley said the hatred is everywhere, even when he’s eating at a restaurant. He then went on to accuse Cubs fans of being rascist, but was unable to provide specific examples. But it was this line that really got me, “All I’m saying is I pray the game is nine innings, so I can go out there the least amount of time possible and go home.” (Carrie Muskat, Cubs.com) That’s it Milton. That’s how you’ll gain the respect of Chicago. That’s how you’ll stop the so-called “hatred.” Make the least possible effort, and complain while you’re doing it.
As a life-long Cubs fan, I take offense to players being disrespectful, not making an effort, complaining, or talking trash about the team or fans. If you want respect, you have to GIVE respect. I’m tired of punks putting on the uniform and making a spectacle of it. With that being said, these personal opinions were exactly what started an interesting discussion with @MikeProper during last night’s Cubs-Nationals game. Below are the comments from both of us..
@MOgulnick: I don’t care how often he gets on base. He’s disrespectful and he doesn’t deserve to wear that jersey. Ugh.
@MikeProper: Disrespectful? When, since the day he was signed, did ANYONE in Chicago show him any respect? Why should he show any in return?
@MikeProper: As someone who’s interested in sports PR, I thought you’d understand that Bradley’s “persona” is a creation of the media.
@MikeProper: He was a scapegoat from Day 1.
@MOgulnick: Ok, has that been the case everywhere he’s gone? Is that why he’s been on 7 teams? Has the “Them against me” theme ever changed?
@MikeProper: Has any media market let it change or have they constantly pushed for it happen?
@MikeProper: As SOON as he arrived there were dozens of articles about how he’s a cancer.
@MOgulnick: And I won’t deny that, but bc that’s his history! They’re just reporting the truth. It was up to HIM to dispel it, not them.
@MikeProper:You can’t dispel something when you are never given a chance. He’s in an endless cycle.
@MOgulnick: Well then we’ll agree to disagree. Milton created this. Not the media. He can dispel it whenever he wants.
@MOgulnick: He’s only reinforced everything the media has ever said about him.
@MikeProper: Is he mature? Of course not. Does that mean he deserves all the negativity? Definitely not.
@MikeProper: I’m sorry but I can’t accept the notion that “the ends justify the means” when it comes to this kind of irresponsible journalism
@MikeProper: The media is a powerful tool, and it was used to bring a man down from his first day in Chicago, and I think that’s sick.
@MOgulnick: And in Montreal? And Cleveland? And Los Angeles? And Oakland? And San Diego? And Texas?
@MikeProper: So he got a bad reputation early in his career (and that didn’t even come out until L.A.) ….
@MikeProper: and then he was given zero chance to live it down…. yeah very fair
So, where do we stand on this? Was he given a chance to live it down? I will agree with Mike’s points that the media is a powerful tool and often focuses on the negative. But as a friend of mine said, in this case I believe it was Milton who created his “persona,” the media only magnified it. And this isn’t only the case in Chicago. Milton has had issues with the media and fans before. Yes, Chicago media is magnifying his reputation and has been since day 1. However, just because the papers say he’s a “cancer” doesn’t mean he HAS to be one. By making disrespectful comments, rude hand gestures to the fans, and generally not caring, he’s only perpetuating everything the media has ever said about him.
Yes, I agree that it’s disrespectful of the fans to boo Bradley even when he gets a base hit, but I also know that Cubs fans are unwavering in their devotion to their team. We want nothing more than to embrace our players, but at the same time will take it personally if a player doesn’t show respect. If you’re playing well, we’ll support you. If you’re not, then you might get booed. But that’s baseball. That’s how it is for professional athletes. You can’t take it personally. Personally, I think his behavior over the past few days has all but written his ticket out of here, but I look forward to seeing his reactions in the future.
So what do you think? Does a player create his persona, or does the media? Can an athlete change his reputation, or is he stuck in an endless cycle? How do you feel about Bradley? How do you feel about the conversation above? Does respect have to be earned? Is an athlete with weak character worth having on a team? Would love your thoughts!
Thank you to BleacherNation.com for the above image.