Gio Bernard Handled Overly Aggressive Reporters After The Bucs Loss Incredibly Well

The Buccaneers suffered one of their worst losses of the season on Sunday as they blew a 17-0 lead to the Bengals. Cincinnati got back into the game by scoring 24 points off of four consecutive Tampa turnovers to open the second half, as the Bucs imploded and continuously put their defense in impossible positions against a talented Bengals offense.

The first of those turnovers was a botched fake punt by the Bucs on 4th and 1 from their own 25, in which a direct snap to Gio Bernard went straight through his hands and he could only fall on it to prevent further disaster.

It looked like Bernard was surprised by the snap coming to him, and after the game reporters wanted to know what happened on the play. While that’s understandable, when Bernard deferred and wouldn’t answer questions about it, things got oddly combative from the reporters in the locker room, with Gio eventually just taking blame and saying “I made a mistake” to every version of the questions asked of him.

It’s clear that right before the video starts he said something along the lines of “y’all haven’t wanted to talk to me all year but now you do,” which got the semi-personal “you were injured all year” and “what have you done for us to talk to you about all year” responses. It was an oddly hostile exchange that Bernard, to his credit, handled well and even gave them an answer — “I made a mistake” — that they wouldn’t accept.

While I understand the job involves having to ask tough questions of guys, you also can’t demand the answer you want from them by badgering them over and over. If they want to cover for a mistake made by someone else, you can’t make them say anything differently even if you don’t believe it. Yes, it looked like communication broke down on that play, but if he wants to eat that blame, you’re clearly not getting anything more from him.

What’s most baffling is posting this video thinking the majority of support is going to be for the media, when the video starts with it at least appearing as though reporters are just antagonizing Bernard for questions. On top of that, Laine calls it “the most pivotal play of the game,” which I’d push back on pretty significantly since after that play the score was just 17-6 and then Tom Brady turned it over on four consecutive possessions (the first three leading to touchdowns that made it 27-17 Bengals). It was a big play and it’s absolutely something reporters should ask about, but acting as though there’s anything owed beyond what Bernard said is not a great look. Credit to Gio for handling this the way he did, because not everyone would have.