Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Giants problems go deep

By Greg Wiley

There are two problems with the New York Giants right now. First, they are playing horrible football, having lost three straight and falling one-game behind NFC East leading Dallas. Second, the leaders of this team are media-hungry egomaniacs who don't respect anyone.

We could talk about the on-field problems ad nauseam. Eli Manning's accuracy issues, the injuries that have riddled this team and the questionable play calling by the coaches, but those problems have a chance to work themselves out. Instead, the point of interest right now on the heels of Michael Strahan's tirade on Wednesday is why the leaders of Big Blue are more interested in self-promotion than team results.

There are a number of players on this team who are more interested in their off-field appearances than showing up on Sunday to actually play football.They can say that the team comes first, but when there are scheduled appearances on national shows, it begs the question: What's more important?

Let's take a closer look at Strahan. This is a guy who prior to the season told the beat writers that he wasn't going to give regular interviews because he felt his off-season divorce was covered poorly by the local media. Of course, none of the media members who covered his divorce were sports writers, but that didn't matter to him. He just wanted to make a point.

Instead, Strahan chose to have regular paid appearances on Fox Sports Network's "The Best Damn Sports Talk Show Period" and on a New York sports radio station.

It was his appearance on the local radio station that had him in hot water on Wednesday. Earlier this week, he more or less said that teammate Plaxico Burress gave up on a play in the fourth-quarter that led to an interception.What he said of Burress was fair. If you don't know that Burress likes to quit on plays you don't follow the NFL. But what wasn't right was his reaction onWednesday.

Strahan lambasted the media for following negative story lines.

"We don't prepare to come in and have someone who wants to take a comment and try to divide teammates in a way that it just disrupts the team," Strahan said during his confrontational lecture. "We don't have that division here. So if you want to come in here with a negative, you're coming to the wrong guy. I'm not a negative guy. I don't kill my teammates. I'm a man and I talk to my teammates."

Strahan later went on to say he is aware of the negative way the media attacks stories, because he says he knows that negative stories sell. He said that in the past he used to be bothered by it, but he isn't anymore.

It is smart of players to make media appearances, even during the season, It helps them to lay the ground work for their post-playing career. However, if you chose to do this, you're going to have to criticize players on occasion and those players just might be your teammates. The bottom line is, if you don't make all these appearances chances are you're not going to put your footin your mouth.

Strahan clearly wasn't ready for the repercussions of the statement regarding Burress. Everything that was asked to Burress and Strahan was accurate and responsible. It was correct of the media to follow-up the story for the main reason that the team has been having problems getting along all year. Jeremy Shockey and Tiki Barber, among others, have laid into the coaching staff on numerous occasions and it was only a matter of time before the players started getting on each other. What was wrong was Strahan's lecture the media on how they should report stories and how those questions should be asked. That was wrong and disrespectful.

If the negative stories that were being reported really don't bother Strahan, than why did he go out of his way to speak on Wednesday, a day he normally doesn't talk to reports. It clearly bothered him and the team enough right now for him to address it. And as a result, the focus was most likely taken off this Sunday's important division game against the first-place Cowboys.
-You can reach Greg Wiley at


Anonymous said...

Strahan takes it up the pooper.

Anonymous said...

Nicely written piece. Looks like you guys are adding writers.