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Editor's column: Why are you screaming at me, Richard?

January 25, 2014
By Per Peterson , Marshall Independent

We're a week away from the biggest, most over-hyped sporting event of the year: the Super Bowl. By the time the game begins we will know everything we need to know about the Broncos and Seahawks but didn't feel the need to ask.

We will be schooled on the players and coaches to the point where we will know more about them than their own mothers. We will learn about their backgrounds, childhoods, favorites foods and favorite movies. We will know their shoe sizes, what they enjoy doing in the offseason and whether they brush their teeth up-and-down or side-to-side.

We don't really need to know all this stuff to enjoy what we pray will be a good game, but the media will tell us. It will cram information down our throats until we puke it up or the game starts, whichever comes first.

Everything about the Super Bowl is super-sized, which is OK if you're a sports nut. It is, after all, the Super Bowl, and it deserves the media's full attention. What I don't get is why the media tries to treat every game, every match, in every sport, like it's the last game you will ever see. Or, like it's the Super Bowl.

I have a proposition born from a couple of recent post-game interviews: Stop doing post-game interviews.

Post-game news conferences aside, we would all be better off if, after a game, TV networks would just unplug and sign off. Clock hits zero, game over, we now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming.

Sideline reporter Erin Andrews may be nice to look at, but we can do without her shrill chirping after a game. And we can do without interviews like the one she did with Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman after his team beat the 49ers last weekend to advance to the Super Bowl.

Here's how it went: "I'm the best corner in the game!" Sherman shouted as he looked into the camera like a man who just found out his house had been robbed, car had been stolen and puppy had been kicked. "When you try me with a sorry receiver like Crabtree, that's the result you're goin' to get. Don't you ever talk about me!"

FOX's Andrews, who reacted like a pro, then asked Sherman who was talking about him.

"Crabtree!" Sherman yelled in response, referring to 49ers' receiver Michael Crabtree. "Don't you open your mouth about the best. Or I'm gonna shut it for you real quick!"

I wonder how long it took the Seahawks' PR department to shift into put-out-the-fire mode. Judging by the fact that we were still talking about it Friday, too long.

Sherman wasn't talking, he was screaming. If only Smokey Bear took that same tone -"Only you can prevent wildfires!!!!! You!!! Put out your fire or I'll throw you onto the flames!!! - maybe we wouldn't have anymore wildfires.

This hothead - Sherman, not Smokey - took all the attention off his team and its great fans and put it on where he thinks it belongs: on him. Then, of course, he backtracked days later and credited his teammates.

FOX loved his ravings, of course, and social media went bonkers as basement website trolls rejoiced for they now had something new to opine on. Sherman's rant is the reason networks like to grab players and coaches minutes, or seconds, after a game - the emotion does the talking in the heat of the moment. Without that emotion, it's just two people having a chat. Yawn, right? I can do without post-gamers, even the ones that grab our attention.

I also could've done without a post-match interview some Australian network did with 19-year-old tennis player Genie Bouchard after her quarterfinal win in the Australian Open on Tuesday. The reporter, interviewing Bouchard live moments after her huge win, said her fans wanted to know the answer to this gripping question: "If you could date anyone in the world who would you date? Never mind the answer (it was fellow Canadian teen Justin Bieber), the question alone was enough to set journalism back 50 years.

This is what we remember most about Bouchard's big day? A 19-year-old just advanced in a major tournament and this is the takeaway? It was cute, but cute doesn't belong in pro sports. Nor does any reference to The Biebs.

Post-game interviews have provided us with hundreds of thousands of memorable moments throughout sports history, and I can't remember more than two off the top of my head. Aside from creating a temporary buzz, they're pointless. Same with halftime interviews or third-inning interviews from the dugout. Many athletes have a tendency to say the stupidest things when caught up in the moment, then it goes viral, then they apologize, then their rant gets debated by former players and so-called analysts ad nauseam. What is the point?

Sideline reporting during a game has its purpose if done right, but unless it's a championship game, let's stop "wrapping up our coverage" by going down on the field, or behind the bench, or down to the court, or outside the locker room.

The game is over, the fat lady has broken into song. Time to unplug and let her have the stage.



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