CBS Sports: Who’s The Biggest Jerk In The NFL?
No, no -- this wasn't your quintessential revelation of the results of an NFL player poll. This is Mike Freeman, dubbed CBS Sports "National NFL Insider," shooting from the hip. (And probably Swiss cheesing that "Insider" access by virtue of the shots he took at a fistful of NFLers.)
He alludes to floating a few feelers out to Twitter in the write-ups for a few different entries, but calls the list something "we came up with" and says "we did it" when talking about poring through the potential candidates, "for me" when sizing up Vick's contrition. (Which, you're totally right on this, he has every authority to valuate.)
So yeah. This was Freeman. And CBS Sports. Or both. That distinction is important. This isn't what the players or coaches or front-offices think of him. Not what a united journalistic community thinks of him. Not what any salty, snarky, sarcastic blog thinks of him. Mike Freeman. CBS Sports. Those are your chastisers here.
And, it seemed, everybody was fair game, the name of said game being, "Gun Down The Reps of Philadelphia Eagles."
Writes Freeman, on Vick: "This question was put to Twitter: does Vick deserve to be forgiven for what were atrocities against defenseless animals? Hundreds of responses came in and it was overwhelming there are still a great many people who haven't forgiven Vick for actions of his own making.
"But that is the question: When is Vick allowed to move on? When is that threshold from criminal to forgiven criminal crossed? To some, it already has. But to many, like me, though it's clear that Vick has changed, the crime was so disgraceful, more time is still needed to make sure the change I've seen in him is not an act but permanent. There's almost a simple formula here to follow. The worse the crime, the more time it takes for the re-evaluation.
"This is an arrogant approach for me and others, particularly since everyone judging Vick has made their own errors. But there are mistakes and then there are mistakes. For Vick, it will still take more time."
According to Freeman, who, according to Freeman, is knowingly and enjoyably arrogant. Good.
Writes Freeman, on Jackson:
"Benched in fourth quarter of a game last year. Benched for missing team meeting. Celebrates before scoring. More than once. Mad talented, crazy fast, super smart and a jerk.
"This will be an interesting situation to watch. The Eagles just rewarded Jackson with a long-term deal. Historically, jerks don't handle this kind of thing well. Jerks are to fat contracts what a Kardashian is to ... oh, never mind. Jackson also is now the CEO of a rap label called Jaccpot Records. Nothing wrong with that. The problem, as always with a situation like this, is money. Someone has to fund this venture and it will probably be Jackson. Athletes funding their own business ventures never go wrong, right? And speaking of broke jerks."
(That link takes you to a running history of the unsuccessful travails of Curt Schilling.)
We're not going to argue the merits of Freeman's observations. Just that said observations (per what he cites here, in a supposed-to-be-professional valuation of what, if you're going to call someone a "jerk" should be personal character tics) all come from way too far a distance to really build the case for the titles he's assigning***. "Jerks"? Guess so. "Guys Who Maybe Don't Handle Themselves As Professionally As They Should" probably isn't as good for CPM.
The premise of this list, and how it's executed, just seem a little off. CBS Sports? Really? Assigning "Insider" guy to pen short list of the biggest a-holes? Really that desperate for hits?
***Michael Vick's transgressions notwithstanding. (Though, on that, this whole "Moralist High Ground From Guy Who's Too Obscuire To Have His Closet Checked For Skeletons" thing has gotten a little old.)