Far too often, the media plays the gotcha game with athletes in hopes of getting a quote they can use to write a good headline, fire off something that gets thousands of retweets, or makes for good blog fodder in the ever-evolving quest for clicks. And athletes wise up, so they start to give generic answers, burying their personalities under coach-speak and milquetoast clichés.
That’s a shame. Like any other humans, athletes are people. Which means they’re empathetic, funny, dry, sarcastic, and all together entertaining – if we let them be. Take Iowa’s Jarrod Uthoff. The Hawkeyes forward reached a milestone – 1,000 points – after beating Rutgers on the road on Thursday evening. But he was so focused on the game that he didn’t notice he’d gotten the mark until after the game, when he had a bunch of people letting him know about it.
Not surprisingly, the team-oriented Uthoff had no idea he achieved that mark until he looked at his text messages after the game.
He also delivered a funny response to a reporter asking about the milestone.
“It doesn’t mean anything to me,” he said, adding with a laugh, “I hope that helps your quotes.”
This is terrific. It’s everything that is great about postgame interviews in one short snapshot. The kid gave an honest answer, and realized that his answer didn’t give the reporter anything to work with at all. So, he dropped in a short joke that would’ve worked in any Michael Schur sitcom. It’s the kind of timing and natural conversation that just works. Plus, it made for one heck of a pullquote.