Dear Richard —
I was wrong.
I experienced a knee-jerk reaction during your rant to FOX Sports’ Erin Andrews and all of us in TV Land, I retweeted something about a Stanford education not teaching you how to act intelligently. I watched you with a “WTF?” look on my face and to those in the room? Who does that on national TV, I thought.
Just a few minutes later I saw your calm and collected chat with Terry Bradshaw, then soon afterward, with the guys on the NFL on FOX studio desk. Calm and even laughing at a couple of questions, you were like a different person.
I’ve worked with people who coach and play sports long enough to know the intensity that goes along with the game, especially football. Face it, football isn’t a game for someone who doesn’t want to get hit and is worried about the bruise on his face at the end of a day.
FOX’s Andrews grabbed you within seconds after the clock hit 0:00. Even if there wasn’t a backstory, one which you eluded in your MMQB post and others have since detailed, I wouldn’t have blamed you for being over-the-top animated after one of the biggest plays of the year. Oh, and your team are GOING TO THE SUPER BOWL!
You were unjustly criticized for among other things, being someone who reacted as such based on the color of your skin and plain prejudice. Isn’t it ironic — and sad — that those comments, via social media for the most part where people conveniently hide their identities — happen on a day when we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr., a man who fought for EQUALITY?
That aside, what I saw in you yesterday in your subsequent media hits demonstrated that you’re anything but stupid. You are very aware of what you do, when you do it and where the cameras are positioned. For those who diss canned and PR-perfect postgame comments, that’s a good thing. The football viewing public knows you have opinions and even a fuse. FOX knows that it was getting a guy hopped on emotion when Andrews grabbed to talk to you — and neither one of you have to apologize for anything (she said she loved it!).
I do, however, need to apologize. I watched the rant and barely heard what you said. I was more in the line of “what WILL come out of his mouth??!” (It was likely what FOX producers thought with one hand on the proverbial 5-second delay!)
Keep playing hard, clean and passionate football. And stir the pot whenever you want. Because when it comes down to the final whistle, we all love a good story.