I tend to hate athlete interviews. I find that they serve no purpose whatsoever other than to allow some media guy to meet his quota of quotes. What a player says is rarely illuminating not because players don’t have anything to say, but players are rarely dumb enough to say anything to open themselves up to criticism. Why bother? No good can come from giving an honest interview.
I’m a firm believer that athletes should stick to the Bull Durham school of thought on athlete interviews. We take it one day at a time here at ATVS as well.
So cringed when I saw this quote on ESPN by Ricky Jean-Francois: “"If we get a good shot on [Tebow], we're going to try our best to take him out of the game."
(Insert minor media shitstorm and internet message board meltdown here)
Now, I don’t believe RJF or anyone else goes into the game trying to make dirty hits. In fact, RJF seemed to try and explain he wanted a good, clean hit on Tebow. And I also don’t doubt that every defensive player wants to hurt every human being they hit. Football is a violent game, and defensive players are lavishly rewarded for inflicting as much pain as they possibly can. So RJF didn’t say anything that anyone didn’t already know.
But this is why we don’t tell the truth to the media. If Tebow is injured this weekend, can you imagine the howls of protest? Heck, every hard hit of the game is going to be heavily scrutinized. I don’t think the “bulletin board” aspect matters all that much since both teams were going to be up for this game anyway. This just in: this is a big game.
He should’ve just said he’s happy to be a part of the team. Being a boring quote isn’t nearly as much fun, but it does keep the media jackals at bay. Then again, when you are as intimidating as Ricky Jean Francois, perhaps you can say whatever the hell you want.
UPDATE: The quote has been whitewashed. Stealing from Josh Innes' blog, RJF has issued a clarification:
"We never go into any football game trying to hurt a player from the other team. My comments in regard to Florida quarterback Tim Tebow were misinterpreted and were intended to reflect the style of football that we play at LSU. We have great respect for Tim as player and a competitor. By taking him out of the game, I meant as a defense we are going to try to make him ineffective. I’m sorry that my initial comments were interpreted another way."
What do you think are the odds this closes the book on this non-story?