I know I'm not supposed to criticize others in the same field, but I say why? Where's that written? No one gets a free pass, not the athlete, the coach, the general manager and certainly not the guy that makes his living with the ink pen, sitting back and writing stupid things based on what he feels he has the right to say just because he wants to. It's time for everyone to be held accountable for what they do. No one has a get-out-of-jail free card. This isn't a game of monopoly. These are real people's lives. They have wives, kids, mothers and fathers that are affected by what we write or talk about. I live in Green Bay and I also co-host a two-hour sports talk show on Monday and Tuesday nights right here in the land of cheeseheads, which is great because this is where I chose to live.
I read the local papers and I see what is written, or I hear what is talked about on the radio and sometimes it just makes me sick. I don't know how some of these athletes can sit down with someone else's head in the way, if you get my drift. A column that took me over the edge was written about Al Harris. It's one thing to say he is stupid for holding out, if that's what he is going to do, or to question his playing ability. Maybe one can question if he is worthy of a new contract. I can deal with those things but to question what he does with his money is absolutely crossing the line. What he does with his money is his business, just like what you or I do with ours is nobody else's business. It's not our business to know what he owns, buys or drives. As sports reporters or columnists it's our job to talk about what happens on the football field or the things that affect what happens on the field, but to make a joke about someone's choice of how they chose to live is crap.
Am I defending Harris? No, I'm not, but I do know this: He has been the best cornerback the Green Bay Packers have had in a long time. He has been dependable in all aspects of the game he has been the shutdown corner. He was a hero against the Seahawks by picking off Matt Hasselback's pass in overtime and taking it to the house for a touchdown. He has been one of the few players who have really been solid on the defense, and now there's a columnist that wants to make fun of him and his choices outside the game. I for one don't think it's funny. I think it's a cheap shot.
The role of the media is supposed to be unbiased. Sports reporters are suppose to call it right down the middle. For example, I just recently had a fund-raising event for my organization and part of my program I had a tailgate party with Mike McCarthy and his entire staff and we had a great time. We ate, had drinks, and had a question and answer session. But during the program I told Mike McCarthy and his entire staff just because I like them personally doesn't mean that when they do something stupid on the field I'm not going to talk about it because I will. That's my job. I am so tired of some of the media that put blinders on and whisper when things are going bad, but act like cheerleaders when things are good. It drives me crazy when the media members are scared to make a call or take a stand because they might make someone mad or it means they might not get that interview they wanted.
I understand that everyone has a different code of ethics even though INTEGRITY is supposed to mean the same thing to everyone. It's not supposed to be about selling papers or web site articles, or writing books. It's about doing the right things. We often talk about the athlete selling his soul or attaching themselves to the wrong group of people. But what about that writer or reporter that won't call it the way it really is? Isn't he doing a disservice to his profession and to you the fan because don't you deserve the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and not just their version. Trust me, it's a fine line. We always talk about the athlete's responsibility, but what about the responsibility of the media? I know that I have made people mad before with some of my articles, but that's OK because my comments have been about the game of football and related issues. I can deal with it. But I can't deal with the media that crosses the line. That's when IT'S TIME TO RUFFLE FEATHERS and say enough is enough!!!!!!!
Editor's note: Harry Sydney is a former fullback and assistant coach for the Green Bay Packers. If you have a question for Harry, e-mail it to PackerReport.com managing editor Todd Korth at firstname.lastname@example.org, and it will be forwarded to him.