By Matt Spiegel, co-host of The Danny Mac Show, host of Hit and Run
I sat around after the show at a computer in the office as I often do, taking care of odds and ends. Took care of some business, some personal, emails and such; printing a few things, whatever. And the Andrew Luck news broke. The probable first pick in the NFL draft has chosen to remain a student-athlete for another year.
He cites wanting to graduate next spring, and to finish his football career with the teammates he came to Stanford with, as the main reasons for his decision.
I’d say in the next 40 minutes, I heard, or read, him called “an idiot” about 50 times. That term, and all it implies, for someone who did not do what the name-caller would have done.
I’m aware of the tens of millions he’s turning down at this instant. I know he could get hurt (though Sam Bradford did and was still the #1 pick the next season). I get that he might play poorly (like Jake Locker) and damage his value. I know that the collective bargaining agreement is changing, and the kinds of deals #1 overall picks get will most certainly change forever by next draft. Best case scenario, he’s still probably costing himself millions. His family is wealthy, but it’s still a surprising move; after all it would be HIS money, not his family’s.
As Boers and Bernstein laid into him with their entertaining brand of vitriolic ferocity, listeners texted or emailed in to pile on, and the chorus grew stronger and stronger. Then I logged onto Facebook, and saw scores of their sycophants spewing out the same venom, usually word for word. There they were; dozens of people, looking desperately for both an original thought, and a target for their own frustrations. The Andrew Luck news and coverage gave them both. I hope they felt better.
As the unanimous voices grew, I felt worse and worse about humanity. An idiot? Really? Because he dare value money less than you? Because he dare make a decision that could take “generational wealth” out of the hands of his children? How in the hell do you people have any idea what matters to him? Maybe he likes school. He majors in architectural design; maybe he likes that more than football. If he doesn’t play a down in the NFL, has he broken some unspoken contract with you? How dare he play football, and not want to be a rich NFL quarterback as soon as humanly possible. Do you realize how absurd it is to imprint your values and needs on to him?
Maybe he has a girlfriend he loves. Maybe he wants to hit on cute chicks at frat parties. Maybe he wants to further his education right now, as opposed to in ten years when he’s done with his career. Maybe he wants to challenge for a national title, and has come to believe that it would feel better to win one of those than anything that could happen in the pros. Maybe he wants to remain an adolescent for another year or so. Maybe he doesn’t love football, and won’t play in the NFL at all.
How about this: he and the people he actually cares about and respects talked it over, and they all feel good about this choice. And, maybe you calling this very smart kid an idiot not only means absolutely nothing, but also just makes you sound like a petty, stone throwing, intrinsically unhappy soul.
Get over yourselves. Question the choice at will. Frankly, I do too, and I bet I’d go pro. But, an idiot? With the kind of savage malice he received? It makes you seem really, really small.
There are so many other things to target with your anger in this world.