Denver Broncos slot receiver Wes Welker, suspended prior to the season opener for testing positive for amphetamines, won tentative reinstatement following the NFL Players Association endorsing a new drug policy for the league over the weekend. Wes gets a do-over against the Seahawks this Sunday afternoon, and surely the Broncos need all hands on deck to stand a chance against the team that blew them out in February. Good news for Wes, right? Not so say several sports journalists, who labeled the suspension a blessing in disguise for the recently, and as of late, frequently, concussed Welker.
There is no greater font of hypocrisy on Earth than the sports media. While talking about Wes Welker and his initial four-game suspension for allegedly taking a drug (Molly)–the quick receiver was quick to deny–that could be found at any local rave, ESPN’s Mike Greenberg said that he thought it might actually be good for Welker to not play football for the first four weeks of the season. Greenberg’s reasoning was that since Welker has suffered three concussions in the last year, serving a suspension for the first month of the season might actually be a saving grace since he probably shouldn’t be playing anyway.
Who is Mike Greenberg, or any other media member to tell Wes Welker what to do with his life? To put this in context, these are the same people, not Greenberg specifically–lest one believe Bristol a warzone–but the media in general, who travel to the deepest, darkest corners of the Earth to report on the most evil villains in the world.
We have now had our second journalist this summer publicly beheaded–and news this weekend of an aid worker suffering the same fate–over the internet. The journalists knowingly and willingly took incredible personal risks to travel to the most dangerous of countries and report on the worst people in the world. Why? Because they had deep passion, belief, and love for what they do that drives them past the point of concern for personal safety. So does Wes Welker.
Where do journalists, who routinely take enormous risks with their own lives to bring us the news, get off telling a football player that he would be better off not playing football? As unpleasant as concussions are, Welker is at worst risking a helmeted-head collision with a 220-pound safety–not of having his head lopped off by some lunatic with a butcher’s knife.
Of course, the media’s response to this hypocrisy no doubt would be to remind how important their job is. They must do what they do, otherwise, we would all wet the bed and forget our names.
Well, Wes Welker’s job is no less important to him than Mike Greenberg’s job is to Mike Greenberg, or than Brian Williams’s job is to Brian Williams. It’s his life, it’s his passion, and it’s what he does. And what he does gets better ratings than Greenberg or Williams.
The sports media isn’t as sure-handed in getting the story right as Wes Welker is in catching the ball. Remember Duke Lacrosse? The standard that journalists wish to impose on grown men playing professional football that they would never embrace for grown men playing at professional journalism proves this. Maybe we would all be better off if they sat out a play.
Dylan Gwinn is the host of The Mighty Gwinn Show heard on Yahoo! Sports Radio every Saturday and Sunday from 1-5 EST. Follow him on Twitter @themightygwinn.