Friday, August 14, 2009

Doubling Down On Fuckery

Last night's announcement that Michael Vick was signing with the Eagles brought a lot of different reactions. But one reaction in particular was particularly irritating to me. All of these people started weighing in saying that Donovan McNabb was going to be pissed about the signing and that there was no way they could coexist together. Mind you none of this is based on anything other than wild speculation. The going meme now is that McNabb was pissed off about Jeff Garcia doing well the year that he went down with a knee injury. Never mind that Garcia wanted a pay raise and a starting job, it seems that the story now is that McNabb somehow ran him out of town.


One of the outlets that really stood out for all the wrong reasons in this regard is Pro Football Talk whom I normally like reading. When the story first broke they created a meme and they were bound and determined not to let anything change it.

Now mind you they started off pretty reasonably if you ask me. Here is how they reported on it early on:

A case could be made that one giant housecleaning could leave Vick in town, with McNabb elsewhere, but it's hard to imagine the pairing lasting more than one year together.

There is a lot to dive into regarding Vick's signing (what about poor A.J. Feeley?), but the angle that McNabb should feel threatened this year seems likely to be overblown.

Philadelphia is giving Vick a chance to re-start his career, but in football terms he's a moderately priced insurance policy.

That's a pretty sound way of looking at the situation.

But then everything goes left when they get a "source" telling them that McNabb isn't happy about the signing.

According to a league source with intimate knowledge of the dynamics within the organization, McNabb isn't pleased with the development.

But McNabb can't say anything about it for now, due in part to the fact that the Eagles gave him a money-for-nothing contract adjustment and otherwise spent a lot of cash and first-day picks to improve the offense, at McNabb's urging.

So things will get very interesting if the Eagles struggle in 2009, since the option for the second year of Vick's contract will prompt speculation and/or popular opinion that the Eagles should dump Donovan and promote Vick.

If you want to know what that translates to, some jack ass that used to play in the league guessed that McNabb wouldn't like it if the Eagles signed Vick. That somehow gets translated into fact by PFT. Mind you this comes out while the Eagles are still on the field playing so its not like anybody could have already gotten McNabb's reaction to the signing when they published this post.

Ok fine well surely when McNabb speaks on it people will hear for themsleves his take on the situation right?

Uhmmm not so much.

I happened to catch McNabb at the podium after their preseason game with the Patriots and I heard him say all of the right things. Not only that, he also touched on having a personal friendship with Vick and most illuminating of all was that he said several times that he actually lobbied for the Eagles to sign Vick after he got out of jail. Now PFT themselves acknowledged in their earlier post that McNabb had said many things in support of Vick since he had been in trouble with the dog fighting ring. But in their post about McNabb's comments they didn't even include the fact that he said he lobbied for Vick to come to Philly.

Nope, this is how they characterized his remarks.

"There's no threat for me," McNabb said at a press conference after Thursday night's preseason game. "There's no threat for [Kevin] Kolb. It's an opportunity to add another weapon to our offense, and our team."

Still, McNabb used words like "adversity" and "ordeal" when talking about the presence of Vick on the team, which in our view weren't used accidentally.

You will note that they have now updated the post to include the fact that McNabb said he lobbied for Vick. They updated it of course with out noting the update so people would think it was always there. But I saw it last night and it wasn't there. Not only that, check out the first comment on the blog.

BroadStreetBully9286 says:
August 13, 2009 11:30 PM
How come you're not highlighting his repeated assertion that he has lobbied for this?!

Now if you read the thread you can see that PFT in general and Mike Florio in particular is getting bashed over their characterization of McNabb's words. So what do they do? Yes they pull a switcheroo and slip the line in the post about McNabb lobbying for Vick, but then they turn around and double down on their "McNabb is pissed" meme.

So with everyone in Philly who has a vested rooting interest in seeing Armageddon not unfold in the locker room prepared to accept without reservation Donovan McNabb's assertion that he "pretty much lobbied" the team to sign Vick (something that, interestingly, the head coach didn't mention), we ask you this: Would you like to buy the Ben Franklin Bridge?

Reid lied, multiple times, about not wanting Vick. Why? To make the rest of the league (and everyone else) think Reid didn't want Vick until Reid decided he did.

That fact alone should prove to anyone who follows the NFL that nothing anyone says can be automatically believed.

McNabb, as we pointed out last night when explaining that he's actually pissed about the acquisition of Vick, had no choice but to sit there and smile and act like everything is fine, despite likely muttering internally all the while, "Serenity now."

At this point, these guys just come off as major dicks quite honestly. This is why professional athletes have such a disdain for some of the members of the media. They will decide what a story is and then discard any evidence to the contrary. It doesn't matter to them that Andy Reid himself talked for a long time about how long McNabb and Vick had been friends, all the way back to when McNabb hosted Vick on his recruiting trip to Syrause. Nah, see since they already have this "McNabb is pissed" story, they just look over that and move on to trying to imply that McNabb was lying about lobbying for Vick since Reid didn't come out and blatantly say he did.

What is worse about this from my perspective is that there are fans out there who will read PFT and ASSume that they have some kind of special inside knowledge of what's going on. Doesn't matter that PFT had been running around for the last week or so claiming to have a list of who will and who won't sign Vick and were totally caught flat footed when he signed with the Eagles.

Above and beyond that, when was the last time you heard a story line about a white quarterback being threatened by another white quarterback coming in? I remember vividly Brett Favre rejecting the notion that he would mentor Aaron Rodgers. But did any sports news outlets frame the story the way they are framing this one? I don't think so.

Hopefully at some point they will go back to their more reasoned take on the situation from early on and drop this McNabb versus Vick story line. But I am not going to hold my breath.

Update: After the press conference today and after the acknowledgement of how instrumental Donovan McNabb was in bringing Mike Vick to Philly, Pro Football Talk ought to retract every statement they made yesterday about McNabb being upset.

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