When last we left Guinness explainer, Peter King, he was attributing the Seahawks’ Super Bowl dominance to their choice of hotel and practice music. He also went on to tell Irish people that they’re been drinking beer wrong for centuries. Nice of him to straighten them out. But what about this week? Well there’s a big gay nugget to discuss and Peter King is going to let you do it so long as you don’t go on the record with it. He won’t even ask! READ ON.
The news spread quickly across the NFL Sunday night.
“Pitchers and catchers are reporting soon!”
Then again, the New York Times report about mid-round draft prospect Michael Sam, the Missouri defensive end, coming out as gay two weeks before the scouting combine and 12 weeks before the draft wasn’t a surprise to every team in the league.
They were just going to secretly penalize him for being gay!
Also, name names, you waste of a press credential.
I spoke to four club officials Sunday—three general managers, one scout—and the reaction to a third-round prospect being gay ran the gamut. I spoke to all anonymously
Of course you did.
because with such a touchy subject, I assumed all would either no-comment me (and one other GM did) or say something so sanitized it wouldn’t really be the truth.
And the truth is important so long as it doesn’t damage the relationships Peter King has with front office brass and none of those executives are accountable for their shitty and intolerant views.
I don’t like to do anonymous sources to write an entire story
but I felt in this case it would give the best information possible.
You’re providing us with anonymous comments from roughly 10 percent of the GMs in the league. Because we can’t attach quotes to a name, you actually create more misinformation because, to us, those views would conceivably come from any team. It’s not actually representative of front office personnel league-wide just the type that would bother to talk to PK.
“Should I really care?” one GM said. “Is it going to be that big a deal? Aren’t we beyond this?”
This has to be Thomas Dimitroff. Not only is he simpatico with Petey, but he strikes me as the type of asshole who’d be like, “Why the commotion? I’VE been cool with the gays for years. I can’t believe society isn’t as open-minded as me.”
“It’s not a shocking thing to me, and it won’t be to our organization,” another GM said.
Because you’ll have known he was he gay before you acquired him?
“It’ll totally depend on your leadership,” the scout said. “A team with strong leadership at coach and in the locker room, like New England, I would imagine, would be okay. I could see Belichick say, ‘This is the way it is. There’s no story.’ And guys would just accept him. There’d be no choice. But without that strong leadership, I could see it being divisive, and I could see a team saying, ‘We don’t need this.’ “
Clearly it’s society’s fault for not making Bill Belichick president decades ago. He’d just grimace at intolerance and homophobia and the world would fall in line. Then he’d gas everyone with a disease that kept them from being 100 percent productive.
Two team reps didn’t know the story when we spoke, with me not naming names and simply asking what would happen if, as I expected, a gay player would be coming out before the combine
Then how is this useful information? Speaking of an openly gay player as an abstraction isn’t helpful when there’s now an openly gay player. People want to know if and how specifically the mindset of NFL brass affects Michael Sam.
“We talked about it this week,” the GM said. “First of all, we don’t think he’s a very good player. The reality is he’s an overrated football player in our estimation. Second: He’s going to have expectations about where he should be drafted, and I think he’ll be disappointed. He’s not going to get drafted where he thinks he should.
Isn’t this true of almost every player?
The question you will ask yourself, knowing your team, is, ‘How will drafting him affect your locker room?’ And I am sorry to say where we are at this point in time, I think it’s going to affect most locker rooms. A lot of guys will be uncomfortable. Ten years from now, fine. But today, I think being openly gay is a factor in the locker room.”
“10 years from now when some smarter GM has been proven to have success not considering sexual orientation as a liability, fine. But for now, I’m content to suck with pettiness and hatred.”
I asked this general manager: “Do you think he’ll be drafted?”
“No,” he said.
NAME HIM, YOU FUCKING COWARD! THIS ISN’T HELPFUL! THERE ARE STILL 31 OTHER GENERAL MANAGERS WHO MIGHT BE WILLING TO DRAFT HIM BUT NOW WE HAVE TO ASSUME THEY’RE ALL POSSIBLE HOMOPHOBES BECAUSE YOU WANT TO PROTECT YOUR SOURCES! FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOU!
The first GM—the one who seemed not to care about the announcement—asks the questions that much of society would ask. Should this matter as much as it will matter over the next few days? But Jonathan Vilma, the veteran Saints linebacker and team leader, told NFL Network last week he thought a gay player “would not be accepted as much as we think he would be accepted.”
“Unfortunately,” the scout said, agreeing with Vilma, “this is a lot more okay in society than it is in lots of locker rooms. Some locker rooms are still stuck in the ’50s.”
Like the Super Bowl teams Charles Haley played for, when he used to whip out his dick in front of teammates and beat himself off? But that was okay because Haley is technically straight?
That’s why it’s naïve to suggest Sam coming out will have no effect on where he’s drafted, as the respected Kiper said on ESPN Sunday night. It could be that a liberal owner and progressive coach like Jeffrey Lurie and Chip Kelly of the Eagles will not care at all, and if he’s there in the fourth or fifth round will grab him.
The quintessential Peter King take. “It’s naive to think Michael Sam’s draft stock will not plummet, unless it doesn’t.” Great nugget. Now please allow a few more assholes to spew hate speech off the record.
I believe the majority of teammates wherever Sam goes will be accepting and supportive. But we’ve just seen the damage caused by the Incognito/Martin fracas in Miami
Funny that you cite that because YOU accused Martin initially of “wigging out” before removing it from your column with a phantom edit. Suddenly you’re using a situation where you blamed the victim as a reason not to draft a gay player?
And the team that takes Sam has to know what the trailblazing aspect of his presence will bring: the news shows as well as sports shows, the constant buzz when the team goes on the road, the slurs bound to come his way sometime. And they’ll have to decide if it’s worth it to say they’re going to do the right thing and admit a human being who is gay to the team.
There is always a media shitshow and stupid fans. This exists whether there’s a gay player or your roster or not. The only thing that changes is the pitch of the ambient noise.
During the draft, a team that has Sam graded barely above another pass-rush prospect in the third or fourth round may ask itself: Will all the distractions—the network news trucks, the questioning of his teammates about accepting a gay teammate—be worth it? Or should we just draft the other guy and not worry about Sam’s off-field stuff?
Then that team is fucking stupid. Once again, there are always distractions. The Seahawks just won a Super Bowl thanks to a slew of really good late round picks and undrafted players. Oftentimes, these players were downgraded for the type of stupid shit you’re describing here.
More than a little ironically, Peter follows this up with a breakdown of how Pete Carroll and John Schneider assembled the Seattle roster. He’s the most obtuse person in creation.
Quotes of the Week
“Doug! We whipped their a–. That s— wasn’t even close.”
—Russell Wilson, 90 minutes after the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, to teammate Doug Baldwin in the Seattle locker room, as captured by Sports Illustrated’s Scott Price in his insightful game story in the magazine this week.
More surprised by the lack of a GO HAWKS at the end of the quote then the fact that Russell Wilson said some cuss words for once.
“He had a rare ability to illuminate the varieties of human ugliness. No one ever did it so beautifully.”
—A.O. Scott of the New York Times, on actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was found dead of a suspected heroin overdose eight days ago at age 46.
“Greatest actor of his generation,” Charlie Rose said the other day when we spoke, and I absolutely agree.
LOFTY namedropping. Perhaps the finest namedropper of our generation. “Do YOU have meaningful conversations with Charlie Rose about the pressing matters of the day? No, I don’t suppose you do, peasant. How un-quasi-zeitgeisty of you! Ha! Wait until I tell Salman Rushdie about that bon mot!”
Stat of the Week
Actually, this stat is eight days old, but I fear too many of you missed it.
Because Peter King neglecting to pass along information is his readership’s fault, you see.
My number of the week is 281.
“The number of calories in each sip of one of my lardaccinos. I’ve had five cups since I started writing!”
That’s 281 minutes, or the time it took two fellows to make the eight-mile commute from Penn Station in Manhattan through the turnstiles at MetLife Stadium for the Super Bowl last week, and then back to Penn Station at the end of the game.
Four hours, 41 minutes.
If the game is ever to return to New York/New Jersey, the league and the home site are going to have to do something about the insanity of train travel that made the commute miserable for so many people.
Oh, the glorious bitterness. Peter still looks idiotic for having spent four years bellyaching about the possibility of the New York Super Bowl being played in absolute zero conditions, only for it to be above 40 degrees at kickoff. So now he’s grasping at anything that he thinks will justify his years and years of whining.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Pete Carroll, players’ coach. That was one of the storylines, and rightfully so, of Super Bowl week. I saw one aspect of it, as the Pro Football Writers of America’s pool reporter for Seahawk practices on Wednesday and Friday before the game. The music. Much has been made of Carroll playing loud music from the start of practices to the end. But I noticed one thing—and you will too, when you see these playlists:
Again with the fluffing of DJ Truther.
/waits for Peter to suggest that adding a gay player means coaches will have to play more showtunes at practice.
See? Sort of Hip Hop Lite Wednesday, and more hard stuff Friday. That’s because the dynamic of the playlist changes at the end of the week. Seems that Carroll programs the tunes early, with a nod toward the players’ tastes by Friday.
“On Friday, I’ve got to give it to the fellas,” Carroll told me.
BUT WHAT OF THE HOTELS? I THOUGHT THAT PLAYED AN EQUAL PART IN THE SEAHAWKS’ CHAMPIONSHIP FORMULA?
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
The most annoying thing about air travel, February 2014 Edition, from a Delta flight last week: The guy in front of you who not only reclines his seat completely so it’s in your face, but is a bulbous guy who then falls asleep with his two meaty hands (meatier than “Man Hands” in Seinfeld) stretched behind his head over the seat and into your airspace.
So I bit them off and spat them out on the floor.
“Cannibalnerdness: Ate a man’s hands. Liked it. Could use more nutmeg, though. Tried to bring my own nutmeg canister onto the flight but it was confiscated by security. DO SOMETHING, CONGRESS!”
See, this is why Peter King should never delve into dark humor because I wouldn’t put it past him to actually bite someone for inconveniencing him.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think the NFL could write a book on having one’s cake and eating it too.
So long as the cover is Goodell holding a cake in his hands with a puzzled look on his face.
The one thing that jumped out at me from the news that CBS has bought eight early-season Thursday night games is that the league gets to simulcast the games on NFL Network. Certainly the NFLNet ratings will be severely diminished by the games also being on CBS, but just as certainly the ratings will be higher than anything else NFLNet would put on at the time. And CBS wasn’t the only carrier the NFL sked to do this—the NFL mandated it as part of the package for all bidders.
WOWZERS, it’s almost as though the NFL is really good at making money. WEIRD!
3. I think there is one TV-related wish I have for 2014, as long as we’re on the subject: another one of those 11:35 p.m. Sunday night starts, a la San Diego at Oakland from last fall. The West Coast fans deserve one game that happens in their prime time—and I would love one I could watch all the way through after the NBC Sunday-nighter. When this game aired, I couldn’t believe all the folks interacting with me on Twitter, crazy about having a late-night gift from the football gods. Alas, because most of the Eastern time zone (with 48 percent of the TV households in America) is in bed, the NFL has no interest in another 11:35 p.m. start, I’m told.
That’s too bad. The Raiders play the Bills at home next season. Would be a great timeslot to bury that game.
5. I think Seattle’s 2012 draft should be a clarion call to the smart people in our business to knock off draft grades.
They are stupid.
They are mindless and misleading candy for fans and those who think no one remembers what’s written or said 10 minutes after it’s published or aired.
Not unlike arbitrary power rankings and mock drafts, both of which are regular PK features. What? No Fine Fifteen this week?
I looked back on the comments from the days after the 2012 draft—in order, Seattle’s top four picks were Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, Russell Wilson and Robert Turbin—and the only good draft grade I found while searching over the weekend was a “B” from my buddy and veteran NFL scribe John Czarnecki of FOXSports.com.
PK goes on to share a handful of negative grades from various publications. And sure, his point that draft grades are stupid is a sound one, even if it’s extremely glib in retrospect, especially when PK has plenty of inane draft speculation, whether or not it includes a letter grade, such as the year he swore Jimmy Clausen was the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft.
6. I think I am fascinated to see what kind of linebackers coach Mike Vrabel will be in Houston—and, three or four years from now, whether he starts climbing the ladder to coordinator or future head coach, or both. Strikes me as a potential rising star in the business.
Just put him in Canton already as a player-coach. The grittiness is so evident we don’t even need to see how players perform under his watch,
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
d. If Oklahoma State basketball player Marcus Smart was indeed told by a fan the things that are alleged after the incident Saturday that resulted in Smart shoving the fan, I back Smart all the way.
There are quite a few things that are alleged to have been said, but point taken. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be spending the entire off-season dumbstruck that Peter King sided with a black athlete over a dumpy old white asshole.
f. What an admirable figure Joe Tacopina is.
g. And I say that in absolute jest.
I would actually pay to see a terrible standup who punctuated every joke with “and I say that in absolute jest” in deadpan.
h. Coffeenerdness: Ground Central, on East 52nd in Manhattan, was the site of my first business-meeting-at-a-New York-coffee-shop the other day. You passed the test very nicely, Ground Central, with that swell and comfy back room.
Really disappointed that Peter King didn’t weigh in on the Dumb Starbucks coffeeshop. I’m sure he’ll have a strong take when he hears about it in a month.
i. Beernerdness: Tried Carib, the lager from Trinidad and Tobago, the other day. Not bad. A tad stouter Heineken.
Would’ve been better if they served it frozen. The Irish may not like it, but what do they know of beer?
The Adieu Haiku
Dylan sang it well:
Don’t criticize what you can’t
understand … today.
Peter did it right:
to bigoted dicks