By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report
Today’s column is dedicated to my good friend, frat brother and P.G. Journal/Gazette colleague John Harris III and every hardworking dedicated journalist because you all can relate to what you’re about to read.
During the course of the buildup to Sunday’s big game between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys, injured Giants defensive end Michael Strahan criticized teammate Plaxico Burress on his radio show on WFAN for not playing with enough effort on an interception by Tennessee’s Pac Man Jones in New York’s loss to the Titans.
“It’s a shame, because Plaxico is a great player and he’s a good guy to be around,” Strahan told WFAN talk show host Joe Benigno. “But, at the same time, you’re judged by your actions out there on the field. And you can’t give up, you can’t quit, because you’re not quitting on yourself, you’re quitting on us, you’re quitting on everybody.”
This was the latest in a series of Giants internal squabbles being played out in the media—Tiki Barber publicly criticized head coach Tom Coughlin for his play-calling last week. On Wednesday, ESPN reporter Kelly Naqi asked “media worker” Michael Strahan about his comments. At first, he refused to talk to her because he normally talks to reporters on Thursdays.
Later that day, Naqi asked Burress for his reaction and he said Strahan had not spoken to him about his play in Sunday’s game at Tennessee and that he was stung by his teammate’s assessment of his play (or actually by the fact that Strahan called him out on his radio show).
Meanwhile, the rest of media hordes gathered around Strahan’s locker to get his comments. Visibly upset and quite possibly embarrassed by his actions, called out Naqi and accused her and the rest of the New York media of trying to divide the Giants.
“We don’t prepare to come in to have someone who wants to take a comment and try to divide teammates in a way that it just disrupts this team, because we don’t have that division here,” Strahan said. “So if you want to come here with the negative, you’re coming to the wrong guy, because I’m not a negative guy. I don’t kill my teammates. I’m a man, and I talk to my teammates.” (After you bash them on your radio show)
In other words, once again it’s the media’s fault that the Giants are bickering with each other and on this one he’s right –because he has a talk show—HE’s IN THE MEDIA and used his media outlet to call out his teammate and was upset because he got called out.
And to top things off, Giants running back Brandon Jacobs and host of other Giants came off the practice field in full view of reporters singing an out of tune rendition of Twisted Sister’s “We’re not going to take it,” to tell reporters that they are not a divided team and that it’s their fault for attempting cause division in their ranks.
I guess the Giants are going to be pumped up for Sunday’s big game against the New York Media Workers in the upper press box at Giants Stadium. Oh, I forgot about their game against the Cowboys. Oooops.
When you’ve lost three straight, you have guys at each other’s throats for whatever reason and you need an external enemy to rally against why not the media?
If the Giants, who blame the media for causing division in their locker room and making them lose, beat the Cowboys on Sunday will they give the media credit? If we media are the reason for a team’s losing streak or division in the locker room because of the stories we write or broadcast, will those guys give us credit for when they win? Think about it. When a team wins or scores a touchdown, will they say it was one of those “positive” stories we wrote in the media earlier in the week helped them keep their heads in the game? Or those awe inspiring words that we put together in a 25-inch feature motivated running back X to gain 150 yards rushing on 27 carries? Surely, we must have had a hand in that one, too.
I mean if the media gets blamed for a team’s troubles or if a guy like Strahan can accuse the press of dividing a team, then we should get some “dap” when they do something good, too. Hell, I want some credit, too. I think some of the stories I wrote during the 2004 season helped the Eagles make their run to the Super Bowl. I would love to hear Andy Reid at his post game press conference say, “Well, the Philadelphia media did a real nice job of writing stories to help our team win.” Or Donovan McNabb saying, “anytime Chris Murray writes a story, he inspires us to a higher level.”
C’mon, man where’s the love?
Y’all know I’m being facetious. Reporters nor the stories we write have anything to do with a team’s success or failure. The media doesn’t create divisions in the locker room, cause fumbles, score touchdowns or kill germs that can cause bad breath. If Strahan was so concerned about team unity, he shouldn’t have criticized Burress on his radio show.