I don’t think I have ever admitted this on these pages, but ever since 1500 ESPN came online, I have wondered at times why I even continue to cover the Vikings. They took long-time and trustworthy veteran beat writer Judd Zulgad and combined him with the fresh, uber-ambitious style of Tom Pelissero to create a truly dominant source of Vikings information.
Unfortunately for 1500 ESPN, however, they also decided to bring Patrick Reusse into the fold, as well. The phrase “better to release a guy a year too early than a year too late” comes to mind in this situation. He might have some sort of radio following, but the station should do everything they can to keep him away from a typewriter.
In my assessment, a gradual decline in Reusse’s work began years ago, but really came to a head when he made the ridiculous declaration that it was a “100 percent certainty” that Manti Te’o would end up being drafted by the Vikings. Of course, declaring anything a 100% certainty in the NFL is a risky proposition, and it is downright stupid when talking about one of the most divisive college prospects to enter the Draft in history. If the Vikings coveted Te’o, which it now seems obvious they didn’t, there were still 31 other teams that could have thrown a wrench into those plans. A veteran in covering sports should know better than to make such lofty and brainless predictions using such definite terms.
There really is no harm in a reporter crying for attention by making such a stupid declaration, though, and nobody has felt the need to hold Reusse responsible for it now that the Draft has come and gone with Te’o now sporting a Chargers jersey. Yesterday, Reusse decided to make the leap from harmless to damaging in one of the most atrocious pieces of “journalism” I have seen come from 1500 ESPN since their inception, and readers should find the article to be downright insulting to their intelligence.
For some reason, the national sports media seems obsessed with getting superstars to talk about the debate surrounding gay marriage and homosexuals playing team sports. Adrian Peterson, being the biggest superstar in all of Minnesota sports, seems to be targeted at every possible chance by reporters that don’t have the respect shown by the aforementioned Zulgad and Pelissero.
In the last couple of weeks, Peterson has been asked about it multiple times, and the gist of his comments have revealed that he does not believe in it, could see how team showers could be a little more awkward with an openly gay teammate present, but would treat a gay teammate the same way he treats everyone else.
Reusse wasn’t one of the idiots that felt compelled to ask Peterson about his take on homosexuality, but it is almost worse that he felt the need to bring the issue up days later, jumping on an almost empty bandwagon of observers who feel his comments were somehow controversial. The results are astonishingly ugly.
He foreshadowed the article with a tweet that makes him look either senile or uninformed, or both.
“Vikes dumped Kluwe because he wouldn’t shut up,” tweeted Reusse before referencing Peterson. ”Will they do same w/ this loud mouth?”
Reusse’s lack of common sense never ceases to amaze. He states that Kluwe was dumped by the Vikings due to his off-field campaigns as if it is a fact, despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. First, Kluwe’s willingness to have a public life away from football began years and years ago, and he somehow managed to spend those years on the team. Second, countless other players have been cut through the years without being divisive personalities away from the Metrodome. Oh, and you can also pick whatever other reasons you like from this gaggle: Age, injury, production, salary, and he was entering the final year of his contract.
Choosing to single out Kluwe’s activism as the reason for finding his long-term replacement via the NFL Draft is about as lazy as claiming the Vikings drafted Blair Walsh last season because Ryan Longwell was spending too much time on the golf course.
Reusse starts his dribblings by pulling out a laundry list from Peterson’s past. He cited his speeding ticket for driving over a hundred miles per hour, which is admittedly dangerous and should not go unpunished, but also not overly surprising to hear considering Peterson was in his early 20′s and had access to some pretty sweet sets of wheels.
Secondly, he brought up Peterson’s infamous “slavery” comments that came about during the NFL lockout, and unsurprisingly chose to ignore the fact the author of that article himself said Peterson did not mean to make a literal comparison. Of course, guys like Reusse and other media vultures couldn’t take a step back, disassociate the word “slavery” with racism, and try to think of a modern profession (other than professional athlete) where the rights to a human being’s professional productivity can be drafted, bought, sold, and traded. The comments were not the wisest in the world, but it is not a stretch to see how media types put more meaning to Peterson’s words than he ever intended to.
“This didn’t start with his recent seminars on gay marriage or how to deal with a gay teammate,” Reusse claims in his recent article, which can be read in full (bring a barf bag) by clicking here.
A quick trip to Dictionary.com led me to make a quick conclusion: Despite years of training and experience, Reusse knows not what the word “seminar” means. By using the word, Reusse suggests that Peterson had a pre-planned agenda to examine and study the social impact of homosexuality in football, or possibly hosted a session to educate others on the impact gay athletes might have on professional sports.
In reality, something that is increasingly clear Reusse has no grasp on, Peterson was asked about the topic and gave honest, respectful answers. Of course, guys like Reusse will refuse to admit that guys like Reusse are the only reason Peterson was discussing the topic in the first place, because that would be admitting that the media has any role in this apparent trend of asking every player they come across what they think about the social issue.
“As far as the showers and things like that, you can drop the disclaimers. We got it, Adrian: you’re a flaming straight man,” Reusse writes at the end of the column. ”Just because you play football without a governor doesn’t make it a bad idea to have one on the speedometer, or this gay gabfest.”
I don’t blame Reusse for suggesting Peterson end these conversations sooner, or before they even get started, but Reusse shows his true colors by calling Peterson “stupid” at one point and suggesting that his comments are somehow inflammatory, in addition to giving his media brothers a free pass for their contributions to this feeding frenzy of irresponsible reporting that try to paint a player as either homophobic or a brave warrior fighting for social equality.
I can’t recall Reusse ever suggesting that Kluwe should shut up about this particular subject, which leads me to believe that Reusse himself is applying more of a double-standard to Vikings players than the organization ever has.
This is the type of rhetoric that is not only counter-productive to finding a solution to a very serious discussion about social inequality, but also makes the mainstream media look like a group of biased hacks that are incapable of examining a subject with objectivity, even when there are some journalists out there worthy of widespread respect.
If blathering columnists are the judge and jury for citizens that might feel uncomfortable showering with somebody, other than their significant other, that is sexually attracted to them then we might be in for a long, long discussion about how this world needs to change from the way it is now. Is it now unacceptable to feel uncomfortable showering with people of the opposite sex? Or straight people of the same sex? Or how about with someone with a major age difference? Heck, Tobias Funke is uncomfortable showering with even himself, is that wrong, too?
If we allow people like Judge Reusse to correct social injustices by overcorrecting, and creating an emotionless generation of people completely void of quirks and self-awareness, based off of the remarks made by a guy who plays football for a living, then I am sorry America… we’re doing it wrong.
Reusse is obviously paid to give his opinions, but that is no excuse for ignoring facts. Also, 1500 ESPN editorial staff should consider moving his nonsensical click-grabbing B.S. to an area of their site that is clearly marked as opinion, instead of in the same location we have all grown to depend on for factual material out of the other fine writers. After all, if the writer can’t seem to separate fact from fiction, then how can they expect the general public to do so while reading his work?
So, Mr. Reusse, on the off-chance that you are reading the work of other writers to gain factual knowledge or widen your narrow view of the world, then I would like to challenge you to a debate on the subject of the circumstances surrounding Kluwe’s release and whether or not Peterson’s insensitivity to sensitive subjects are a figment of your imagination.
I’ll debate you in writing, over the phone, or even on the radio show you are somehow still allowed to speak on. Whatever you prefer, sir.
Of course, if you decline, maybe I’ll just opt to debate an empty chair. I get the feeling you have a bias towards people that do that type of thing, and will blindly defend them from that point forwards, so maybe after that we’d be friends and you can tell my employers whether or not they are treating me fairly.
If I can, Reusse, I would like to pick my own time slot for the debate.
I’d like the one immediately following your report on how Manti Te’o is performing at Vikings OTA’s.