In today's den, an article got my attention. Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote about how Phil Emery was doing a disservice to the fanbase by not meeting with the media while at the Combine. Well, I am here to tell you that we're all better off for Emery not going through the motions of doing a little dance for Chicago's sports writers. I am not upset at all that Emery is ignoring the reporters and focusing instead on getting into the down and dirty of his new job. He should be. If you're upset he's not talking, follow me below the fold and see the reasons why you shouldn't be.
Here they are, the list of reasons you shouldn't be mad Phil Emery isn't speaking with the media in Indianapolis.
1) He just met with them. - On January 30 the Bears had their official introductory press conference for Emery. In it he answered all the questions about the teams' needs, how he'll run the franchise and what he wants to get done. Shortly after that, most fans and media agreed that Emery was at a slight disadvantage because he had to hit the ground running with the Combine three weeks away and figure out how he wanted to shape the roster before free agency. There was a lot of catch up work for him. So why then, just three weeks after he was introduced should we expect him to come out and say basically the same thing over again? He's got a busy schedule, by all accounts and he's been meeting with agents and prospects down in Indy, so let him work, no point in repeating himself if he's got work to do.
2) Fans won't miss it, or care, frankly - Potash writes;
While Emery is at the combine, he isn’t meeting the media, a rookie mistake that doesn’t bode well for relations between a beloved team and its passionate fandom that will turn on the Bears like a vicious Doberman if things don’t go well this season.
What? Why? I can't imagine nine months from now, if the Bears are sitting 5-5 that I or anyone else are going to say "Man if only Emery had talked at the Scouting Combine we'd have a better understanding of what's wrong with the team!" Potash goes on to say:
Unless Emery leads the Bears to five Super Bowls and wins three of them in 11 years, he would be well advised to find a way to answer draft-related questions without revealing whom the Bears are going to draft.
Almost everyone else does it. Kansas Chiefs GM Scott Pioli, a bunker-mentality Bill Belichick disciple and Emery mentor — ‘‘One of the finest leaders I’ve ever been around,’’ Emery said — was downright engaging in his press conference Friday afternoon. And Thompson was genial and forthright in explaining why it’s bad business to discuss draft matters in public.
The "...but, but EVERYBODY ELSE IS DOING IT!!" argument doesn't float with me. Just because all the other general managers come out and dodge questions and give vague insights into their thinking doesn't mean Emery should do it. When you read the whole article Potash is really saying is "Emery should come out and talk because the media and the fans expect it, even though what he says will have no substance."
What a waste of time! I have no desire to try to decode what our GM is saying and I'd prefer he be evaluating or doing something more productive than playing to the media. We as fans can live without it. Sure, we live and breath Bears football but is there anything worse than listening to another "We're trying to improve our team, I'm not going to give out my feelings to the other teams, etc" speech? We got it from Lovie and that's enough for me.
3) Potash is just upset because he has to work harder for his stories - I have a love/hate relationship with sports writers. I work in journalism, as most of you know, so I spend a fair amount of time around them. I have a lot of generalizations that can be made about sports writers. I'll try not to sound like a whiner, but for the most part, I have met a lot of sports writers who have an ego and sense of entitlement, they feel like they rule the roost and should have the right to meet with whomever and write whatever and be privy to all the inside information of an organization.
The fact is, sports writers are very spoiled in some ways compared to other journalists. Most journalists have to dig for scoops, hit the pavement, wait for press releases and find sources on their own, sports guys basically just show up and get a story; this is when the press conference is, this is who is available.
They get upset when someone blows them off, because they believe they're entitled to the interview, like with Marion Barber. Again, this isn't the case with all of them, but a good amount.
So to me, Potash is coming across as "Well for the good of the fanbase Emery should talk to the media" when what he is saying, between the lines, is "Emery owes me a press conference" and he needs something to write about and a presser, even with no substance, can be worth an article or two, easy. Sorry Mark, I see through you, go hit the pavement (or hallways) and work for a story. Find a potential sleeper-pick for the Bears, get some sources to tell you who the Bears are meeting with, who they are high on, who is falling on their board.
There are no free rides at the Combine. Sorry bud, but Emery has a job to do and I suggest you do yours instead of complaining you aren't getting your way.
That's my rant.