Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield is the face of the franchise. But that doesn’t mean he deserves to be asked about things for which he is not remotely qualified to answer.
I hate the last quarter of a lost football season. There was a time when journalists, in the aftermath of a game, would ask football players questions about the game.
But in a 24-hour (or maybe 24 minute) society, it has become fair game for journalists’ questions to range far afield from anything that happened during the game.
Do I like Mayfield’s answer? No. He is not a doctor. He is not Stephania Bell. To my knowledge, he didn’t major in sports medicine. He probably didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn the night before the game. He should have just said nothing.
However, if Mayfield had answered with a “No comment” or “Jesus Tony” (I don’t know who asked the question) he would have been criticized for being immature, dismissive, aloof…not a leader. So instead he attempted to concisely answer a question that requires a boatload of nuance in about 20 seconds.
All of that aside, I have a much larger problem with the question being asked in the first place. It’s a gotcha question. A clown question. A question meant to divide a team that needs to unite even if it is for just three more weeks. A question they know is a no-win question for Mayfield.
It’s a question that journalists ask when a team is 6-7 (and I suspect they are secretly happy that they can say “I told you so”).
I’m sure some of you will disagree. You’ll say it’s fair game because of Beckham’s lack of production. It’s fair because of his statements that he’s not sure what the future holds. And then there’s a picture of Beckham standing far apart from the huddle (it’s actually common).
But the problem with the Cleveland Browns offense today (in a win remember) was not that they threw the ball too little. In fact, the story of the Browns offense this season is not why Beckham has not been getting the ball, but why the team keeps trying to force-feed something that is not necessary.
Those would be far more pertinent questions to ask after a game that the Browns desperately tried to give away precisely because they didn’t run the ball enough. Instead, we get these questions. Last week it was a t-shirt. This week, it’s a hernia.
If Odell Beckham is indeed nursing a sports hernia then there are questions that journalists should rightfully be digging around to answer. When did Beckham know (I heard about it for the first time from a tweet by Josina Anderson before the Patriots game)?
When did the Browns medical staff know about it? Why are they allowing him to play?
But more importantly, they would be questions best asked to people who can actually answer with the nuance required. To do otherwise makes the journalists part of the problem, not the solution.