Feeding Frenzy!

The good thing, perhaps the only one, about being a bad expansion team is that there are few worries about star players and contract re-negotiations. The bad thing, one of many, about trying to control press coverage is that when a star player wants more money, you've got a feeding frenzy on your hands.<BR><BR>A feeding frenzy has beaten the water to foam this morning, as the newswire shows what happens when you starve the press and then toss chum into the water. Art Bietz offers his thoughts...

The water is thrashed into a lusty foam this morning as the local media uniformly produces the story that their patrons apparently want to read: Jamir Miller's contract situation. Readers of this site know that Miller was dangled as trade bait on and before Draft Day, and also know that this surprising tactic was prefaced by Miller expressing a desire to renegotiate his contract.

Despite the Official Site's declaration in their mini-camp article this morning that "all eyes were on (William Green)", it's clear that Tony's Grossi's statement on Friday that "all eyes will be on Jamir Miller" was far more accurate. The Plain Dealer site even went so far as to ask visitors to "sound off" on whether Miller would hold out. Controversy generated over little is the best controversy of all, I guess.

Based on past behavior, one can only assume that there's as much fuming in Berea as there is eye-rolling within the dark, dank computer laboratories of the Bietz Estates.

Of all the articles in Saturday's newswire, my own cynicism probably is mirrored best by the Sun Newspaper's Jeff Schudel. Schudel properly points out that Miller didn't seem to think that he needed a better deal when he signed a much-heralded four-year contract extension a couple of years ago. Schudel also points out that players are motivated to get whatever they can - whenever they can - because NFL contracts are about as valid from year-to-year as lottery tickets are from day-to-day. The next contract blood-letting, scheduled for June 1st, will display the team-favoring loopholes inherent in NFL contracts for all to see.

Miller, for his part, is ably dancing on the fine line between maximizing his salary and appearing to put his own needs ahead of the team. Miller seems to have no real desire to hold out, but is putting the team on notice that it will get harder to negotiate with him as he gets closer to free agency. The team's speedy OLB points out that he wants to be part of the team's success, having been part of it's painful construction.

The more I hear from Miller, the more impressed I am. From my vantage point, he's playing this with intelligence and moderation, and full knowledge of the short time frames that players have to grab ahold of the NFL's treasure.

Moderation, however, is not a word that applies itself to the eternal combatants in every public relations war: the corporation and the press. The former wishes the public to hear only positive (read: boring) news and the latter only enticing (read: scandalous) news. The corporation in Berea has driven for their goal by restricting access to the bare minimum required to avoid accusations of press emhargo. The press, never beaten, always vigilant, frequently annoyed, reacts by jumping on anything that bears a whiff of scandal.

Like boxers, always circling, and only attacking when the other shows signs of weakness, the press and the team continues its endless dance. The press and the entertainers. The press and the corporation. The press and the government.

Somewhere, deep inside, and generally hidden from view, lies the truth.

- AB

If so motivated, you can write to Art Bietz at artbtz@brownstng.com. He likes to let all emails properly age and ferment before responding, but occasionally downs a caldron of coffee and responds in a frenzy of inappropriate remarks.

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