April 17, 2014

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King discusses his comments on Bernie Kosar

Bernie Kosar, doing color on the Browns preseason game against St. Louis Thursday, had some harsh things to say about the Rams. He called the Rams receivers, including the eighth pick in the 2013 draft, Tavon Austin, “horrible,” said their parents “would be embarrassed” if they were watching the game, and, about backup quarterback Kellen Clemens, said, “Bless me Father for I have sinned. I have to watch him the whole fourth quarter.”

Kosar’s a good guy, and I have always liked him. But I found the comments pretty far over the top and asked rhetorically, on Twitter, whether Kosar had been drinking. Which brought on a raft of criticism from the Twitterverse, saying I’d gone over the top. I don’t think I was over the top, but many of you felt I’d gone too far given the sea of trouble Kosar has had in his personal life. (None of which, from what I can tell, involve treatment for alcohol, or any admission of alcoholism.) My point was, I think there’s a way to be critical of players and teams, and analysts should definitely do that. But Kosar went too far, in my opinion. And not just mine. Kosar called Rams coach Jeff Fisher Sunday to apologize, and Browns CEO Joe Banner said Sunday the Browns “don’t condone the personal and unprofessional approach” Kosar used.

Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, following up on the firestorm he created on Twitter this past weekend with comments on Cleveland Browns’ color commentator (and legendary quarterback) Bernie Kosar. The Browns, through CEO Joe Banner, released a statement saying that they have spoken to Kosar, but no further action was required. For an in-depth look at what Kosar said throughout the preseason contest against the Rams, head to Dawgs by Nature.

[Related: Training Camp News and Notes: A different kind of kicking contest]

  • http://www.redright88.com/ Tom_RedRight88

    It’s OK, though, because King made sure to drop in a Brett Favre reference from a game played four years ago. Because he’s relevant like that.

    Interesting that King keeps forgetting to drop in a mention of how he shares an agent with Jeff Fisher. Apparently that is not as relevant.

  • Adam Copeland

    I like how King references Kosar’s call to Fisher and Banner’s statement as evidence backing up his unfair criticism when those events probably never happen with King himself putting a spotlight on what Kosar said (which, as far as I’m concerned, cross no lines whatsoever).

  • Toddyus

    “(None of which, from what I can tell, involve treatment for alcohol, or any admission of alcoholism.)”

    I could have sworn that Kosar has had significant drinking problems and that it was fairly well known. Did I just imagine that?

  • Harv 21

    and sharing an agent is relevant because the agent controls King, the most prominent NFL writer in the nation. King cringes at the thought his angry agent might accuse him of not using his pulpit to protect the agent’s other clients. And the agent has leverage over King because King doesn’t know any other agents to hire. Or King is a helpless business rube, just like 22 year old illiterate players who “majored” in athletic studies, liable to do whatever his agent suggests. Or King has been hypnotized and is clucking like a chicken whenever the agent demands. Or something.

  • http://www.cinpleweb.com/ stin4u

    To me, this is a big time pot calling the kettle black scenario. For King to come out and take a pot shot at a guy who clearly has trouble with communication, be it from concussions or what have you, about being to ‘harsh’ about a couple guys is ridiculous. Especially when he himself is partaking in the low hanging fruit. Grow up and find something of substance to write about.

  • MrCleaveland

    Let’s see. In King’s considered opinion, Bernie was over the top for the way he ripped the play of some of the Rams.

    But in King’s considered opinion, King was not over the top in implying that Kosar might have been drinking.

    How’s that work?

  • http://www.redright88.com/ Tom_RedRight88

    King rarely (if ever) is critical of an announcer during a preseason football game. The one time he is, it just so happens that the team being criticized is run by a coach that he shares an agent with.

    That seems like something that he should share, even if people don’t care, as it reflects on his objectivity in this particular matter.

  • http://www.cinpleweb.com/ stin4u

    The most offensive thing about King is that this even exists…..

  • Harv 21

    Your logic is circular. A shared agent doesn’t reflect a thing about his objectivity if it’s a coincidence rather than something that might logically influence his writing. A prominent writer need not warn readers of a shared agent any more than he need warn that they attended the same college. The agent works for the client. Especially when many prominent agents would love to rep this client.

  • Jonah Christopher

    Interesting that Peter King and Jeff Fisher have the same agent, Marvin Demoff. His son is the COO of the Rams. King is a Pawn.

  • BenRM

    I think King’s response was both wholly unnecessary and entirely stupid. Likewise stupid are his attempts to explain away his response.

    That said, when Bernie dropped that line, my jaw dropped and I said “Holy -Ish, Bernie HATES this guy.” It was a pretty out-there comment.

  • BuckeyeDawg

    Media outlets cracking jokes at the Browns’ players and franchise and insulting them for the past 15 years? Haha…it’s just Cleveland, so it’s OK.

    Browns’ hometown TV color guy cracks jokes and rips on another team and players? This cannot stand! OUTRAGEOUS OUTRAGE!!!

    I really hate the 24 hour news/sports cycle sometimes. Can the regular season just hurry up and start already?

  • humboldt

    “Hate” is going a bit too far, Ben.

    Bernie was being hyperbolic and even tongue-in-cheek (“forgive me father, for I have sinned). It’s a shame this sort of substantive, colorful commentary is viewed as taboo in the corporate culture of the NFL.

  • oribiasi

    Like BuckeyeDawg said below, its only offensive, apparently, when Kosar does it. How often do media people ridicule Cleveland teams (often for legit reasons, I’ll admit) and no one ever comes to our defense.

  • BenRM

    My use of “hate” is as hyperbolic as Bernie’s comments :)

    I appreciated it, certainly. But it was something you NEVER hear. So I was pretty shocked.

  • nj0

    This whole incident is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in this rambling, incoherent affair was anyone even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points and may God have mercy on your soul.

  • Jason Hurley

    So let me get this straight:
    1. Bernie says some possibly questionable stuff during a pre-season game about a millionare athlete performing poorly (boo hoo).
    2. Peter King decides Bernie’s comments are “over the top” and decides the best approach is to pull in Bernie’s troubled past, one which doesn’t include alcoholism as far as he knows, by asking (rhetorically, apparently), if Bernie had been drinking.
    3. The internet explodes.
    Follow up question: Who cares? Seriously? About any of this?

  • Mort

    With this statement, it is clear Peter King is a moron. The popular explanation for why Kosar isn’t a good commentator is his history of concussions. The reason why everyone got pissed off at King, is because calling someone drunk when they’re not and most likely have permanent mental issues is a crappy thing to do. Saying it when the person received that damage playing the game King is paid so handsomely to armchair critique is doubly crappy.

    Now originally King probably intended the drunk comment to be more of an offhand expression and not a critique of Kosar. But to not realize the problem with his remark with a weekend to sit on it displays a real lack of awareness.

    It’s like making fun of someone for being clumsy when they’re actually blind, and then when confronted, double down. Yeah King, Kosar hasn’t admitted to alcoholism, only to getting bashed in the head for 11 seasons playing in the league you write about.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Boy am I glad King decided to comment, again, further keeping what should have never been a story to start a story! And what a comment at that, DOH!

    King has few supporters in Cleveland while BK is Cleveland. Kosar had long been criticized by many in the press as a player. BK wasn’t a poster boy and he didn’t throw the perfect spiral but he was Cleveland. I said before BK is hypercritical and very tough as a commentator but this also includes the Browns. King with his apparent ties to St. Louis just needs to zip it already.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    First Walter White returns and now ori!!!!

  • Ben Frambaugh

    So let me get this straight…King says Bernie’s criticism was over the top (their WR’s did play horrible…as did their 3rd string QB). But a guy who talks about alcohol in pretty much every single one of his MMQB articles is accusing Bernie of drinking for this? (Or at least, that’s how it was a few years ago when I was a regular reader of his…I can honestly say I haven’t read a MMQB in the last two seasons…so this may have changed.)

    Pot…meet kettle.

  • oribiasi

    Breaking Bad Oribiasi?
    Hmm… :)

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Yo…but that don’t make me Jesse b*&^%! ;-)

  • nj0

    I’m all for burying PK, but just cause you drink and/or write about alcohol doesn’t mean you can’t point out that somebody else has a problem, if in fact they do.

  • Ben Frambaugh

    For the first time in what seems ages, I read through a MMQB (I used to be an avid reader.) Seems some things have never changed:

    h. Beernerdness: One of the great nights on this tour was made possible, in part, by Porter Hardy IV, the president of Smartmouth Brewing Company in Norfolk. On Tuesday in Richmond, after viewing a Redskins practice, Hardy was waiting for me with a growler of beer from his brewery. It was his Alter Ego Saison. Porter, good news: The growler didn’t last until Atlanta. (And no, our drivers/reporters, Andy DeGory and Dan Greene, didn’t dabble on our night drive to the Falcons.) But the Saison was delicious. Thanks, Porter. And sorry about RGIII not signing for little Sarah.

    Now, I didn’t know what a growler was…so I looked it up. According to Eastendbrewing.com, it’s 64 oz of beer (a half gallon.) That’s a lot of alcohol. How much does this guy drink that the president of that company was waiting for him with one?

    According to MayoClinic.Dom: Alcoholism is a chronic and often progressive disease that includes problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect (physical dependence), or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking. If you have alcoholism, you can’t consistently predict how much you’ll drink, how long you’ll drink, or what consequences will occur from your drinking.

    At a minimum, Peter King is clearly preoccupied with alcohol…if it comes up in every MMQB article. Yes, that’s an assumption that it still comes up in every article…that he’s never missed an article with it…by a guy who hasn’t been a regular reader in years…but was a regular reader for years.
    Forgive me for thinking that the man has an alcohol problem…but when I see a sports guy writing about it every week for years on end, it makes me wonder.

    Thus, Pot Meets Kettle.

  • motcevaro

    Agents get you access to teams, which goes along way towards writing things people want to read. Access to things like the Rams war room this past draft, which King got. Just so happens that King’s agent is also the father of the man in charge of that war room, Rams executive VP of football operations, Kevin Demoff. Gaining that exclusive access to teams becomes a give and take relationship for writers. King was paying off some debt to his agent’s son in exchange for future good will from the Rams and Fisher.

  • LilBoyBlue

    Victory is yours.

  • TOJ

    Notice he didn’t apologize anywhere in that statement. He should at least disclose that he and Fisher share the same agent and Fisher probably feeds King a lot of information and off-the-records comments.

  • newprodigy

    His parents must have been embarrassed!

  • MarkIra613

    Harry Shearer’s weekly radio program “Le Show” has a segment reporting on the past week’s disingenuous apologies from public figures. Your ‘apology’ will certainly be mentioned.
    Nice try, Mr. King. Trying to justify your crass ignorant remark is evocative of someone trying to pasteurize sewage.

    Considering the contexts of Kosar’s “Bless me father, for I have sinned, I have to watch him the entire fourth quarter” and your slur of Kosar, if it was a contest to see who could fire the cheapest shot, you’d win hands down.

    If you were a man in any sense of the word other than age, you’d man up, and offer up an unqualified apology.

    But NO… The best you can do is equivocate, straddling the fence between “He had it coming!” and “I was totally wrong to make such a comment!”

    Do you know what happens to one’s testicles when one straddles a fence too long?

    Assuming you do, get off the damned fence, get yourself as new pair, and admit straight out, without qualification, that YOURS was the “cheap shot heard ’round the world!”