There appears to be, umm, issues in the Lions locker room
When you think about for a minute, it shouldn't come as a big surprise that most sports reporters are the worst kinds of asswipes. I'm not saying they're all jackasses - Kowalski seems like a decent dude and nationally, few people would be upset about being stuck in an airport bar with Peter King. The majority of them though, are the exact kind of infuriating, drunk-on-the tiny-bit-of-power-they-lucked-in-to fucktards that make you want to reach across the counter at, say, the DMV, beat someone into a bloody, lifeless pulp.
There are a lot of understandable reasons to want to be a beat writer for a major sports team, even though they get paid less than high school janitors. If my company would give me a year off and the Lions let me travel with the team and write about it, my masturbation schedule would be so relentless you could make money on Kimberley Clark stock. I’d be good at it too. I’d promise never to gleefully rub one out in the locker too, because that’s a sin saying “no homo” afterwards won’t cover. That’s the thing, though. The writers we like tend to keep that fan-like attitude of “Jesus, nobody pinch me, I’m doing what I always wanted. I get an inside look at my favorite sport, get to know the players and coaches a bit. I never want to do anything else”. Peter King is so much like this that it led, painfully, to his position as Chief Fanboy for Dark Lord Brett Favre and we forgive him anyway.
But then there’s the dark side of jackass Pontificators. I always picture these people as endlessly informed they were geniuses by unstable mothers and also told they were going to write The Great American Novel by a delusional seventh grade English teacher. (Everyone knows Neil’s going to write that in the off season, anyway). They might like sports, but what they like even more is the sound of their own “important” voice. The novel thing didn’t work out because they don't have the talent, so the next best thing is to work their unwelcome opinions about the world at large into stories about local sports teams. These idiots are ok with the shitty salary because there’s no other way anyone will ever listen to them. This brings us to Brian VanOchten.
Oh man, that was a long preamble and I’m truly sorry. Unlike me, you probably have things to do. But if any of you had seen the spluttering, black rage Van Ochten’s Detroit Lions players show they're real men after loss to Patriots threw me in to, you might begin to understand. I had to approach the topic slowly and from the side or the entire post would have been in 36 point font starting with “FUUUUUUUUUCCCCKKKK YOOOOUUUUUU” and ending with a considered discussion of the most painful methods of medieval torture. That angry. Never in the history of sports media has our collective gullibility been tested as far as that schlub walking in to a locker room where the average body fat percentage is in single digits and then try and sort out for us what a “Real Man” looks and acts like. I mean, The fucking gall.
Really, Brian? Really? You actually did that? Leave aside for the moment the fact that you’re woefully unqualified to make this distinction. To be fair none of us are. Ernest Fucking Hemingway, who did have talent, spent his life trying to figure this out and wound up sticking a shotgun in his mouth after numerous personal failures. But to imply that Houston and Corey Williams should have named names in calling out the captains to make them “Real Men” is beyond idiotic. Oh, of course. The headline “Chris Houston: DeAndre Levy is a Quitter” would have been much more helpful and manly. The headline you would have wrote after that, and I refuse to believe otherwise, is “Chris Houston Shows Lions’ Immaturity” and then spent 800 words on why he should be waived immediately. You fucking well know this is true and so do we.
So what should Williams and Houston said? Nothing? “We’ll be back in the film room Monday, working hard and looking for answers”? That kind of shit is why Joey Harrington got run out of town. Maybe they should have scheduled a Players Only meeting (the equivalent of a white flag, usually) before calling people out, who knows. Like BVO, I never played in the NFL. But I was happy to see a few guys freaking out because they should have uncontrollable rage and frustration. They’d be either inhuman, completely clueless or really, really ok with losing to be any other way.
Like I said, I don’t have the answers. What I’m hoping though is that the post game ugliness in the locker room is part of the players themselves sorting out who the real leaders on the team are. We know who management wants them to be – they’ve ID’d Levy, Delmas, Stafford as the building blocks for the future and likely hope they, along with KVB for a few years, will be the leaders. But its also possible that the real team leaders will come from the less talented ranks. Someone who we don’t pay a lot of attention to know, but in the locker room is known as someone like the Titans’ deranged Courtland Finnegan who despite being undrafted and undersized, is terrifyingly brave, dirty and nasty in big games. The players have to sort this out themselves, without coaches and management and I’m praying that’s happening now.
Beyond losing, I don’t know where the team is at the moment and its clearly apparent that the media, even with locker room access, isn’t going to be overly helpful with this question. I’m not giving up though. I’m just not.