Bernstein: Twitter Dividing NFL Players At A Bad Time

By Dan Bernstein–

Commissioner Roger Goodell and the NFL owners he represents must be loving the Jay Cutler saga.

Not because they have a vested interest in either side — whether it’s the defense of the maligned, mopey quarterback or support for those drunk on a cocktail of misinformation and machismo – but because there is public infighting between NFL players as important labor talks loom.

All eyes are on the league, and what they see is an ugly, petty squabble among multimillionaire athletes who look like gossipy high-schoolers.

Remember what happened before the prime-time season opener in New Orleans? Players from opposing sidelines staged a symbolic show of solidarity by marching on the field after the anthem, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with teammates, each raising one finger aloft and signaling across the field.

“We’re all one voice,” the Saints’ Drew Brees said that day.

Actually, you’re not.

Workers uniting for a common cause do not undermine each other by lobbing 140-character grenades with impacts that reverberate everywhere, immediately. Bruce Gradkowski, Darnell Dockett and Maurice Jones-Drew are not the same voice as Cutler, or teammates who have leapt to his side. Olin Kreutz, Brian Urlacher and Chris Harris are not exactly in the most fraternal of moods right now.

This has not gone unnoticed by NFL management, as they relish such dissention in the rank-and-file on display for the world.

“I thought they were a union,” Bears GM Jerry Angelo said yesterday, not resisting a dig. “If that’s the way they unionize themselves, they got bigger issues than the one they have with the owners.”

When a GM makes a point to lead his postseason press conference with that kind of comment, it is evidence that the league has seen an opportunity, and will try to exploit it. Angelo did not come up with that or deploy it entirely on his own, you can bet.

Brees knows this, since he’s a member of the NFLPA’s executive board. That’s part of the reason he was available yesterday to tell “Nobody knows the extent of Jay Cutler’s injury except for him and the Bears’ training staff, so nobody can comment on it fairly. I think it’s unfair to do so, just because you don’t know.”

Too little, Drew, and way too late.

There is some mild irony at work here, as the explosion of social media and microblogging has often been seen as an issue for the league to control. Twitter was a concern to the commissioner, enough to necessitate rules preventing posts during games and within a certain time before kickoff.

Now, however, thoughtless players with a lack of impulse control may be using the technology to weaken their bargaining position, or, at a minimum, the public perception of their message.

This problem is bigger than the Cutler issue, and must be addressed by the very union leadership elected to do the talking for everyone else. There’s no point choosing a teammate to speak for you when you do it directly to the world, on a whim, and sometimes after half a bottle of cognac.

Why should union president DeMaurice Smith bother to hold meetings to provide talking points if so many players are tone-deaf?

This is the first collective-bargaining negotiation by any major sports league during the Twitter age. Management may have figured out that labor will talk some of its own power away, one inane, witless burst at a time.

CLICK HERE for Bernstein’ Monday blog: “Bernstein: Cutler Damage Control Critical For Bears”

bernstein 90x130 Bernstein:  Twitter Dividing NFL Players At A Bad Time

Dan Bernstein

Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of “Boers and Bernstein” since 1999. He joined the station as a reporter/anchor in 1995. The Boers and Bernstein Show airs every weekday from 1PM to 6PM on The Score, 670AM.
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  • Larry Horse's Arse

    The labor relations situation in sports is peculiar.
    The cba does not set an individual member’s salary, his individual contract does.
    That is vastly different than the typical cba in industry and trades.
    So, yes, these guys in a union is like herding cats.

    I love to read the Tweets of these “college educated” players.

    • Dan

      I just wonder how long any other QB’s would have lasted behind the bears O Line. (ALL YEAR) Brady, Manning, Brees, Rogers, just wondering. I know we go beat but it took all quaters and with 54 seconds left a third string QB almost made the come back. I know, almost does count, but I didn’t see any of the experts take a snap on Sunday.

    • Beverly Brewmaster

      Yeah, giving an immature jock a twitter account is like giving a two-year-old a magic marker. Not saying anyone should prohibit them from having accounts, but fans should be smart enough to realize that they’re getting unfiltered, instant reactions and said unfiltered, instant reactions aren’t coming from intellectual heavyweights.

      • Bob Loblaw

        WOW! Great blog Bersy!

  • pulseczar

    How about Angelo saying it was a good year because he still has a job?

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      Then that’s a bad year for Bears fans.

      • AT3374

        please don’t let this guy still be in charge of drafting players , he stinks at that as well as public speaking

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        “That c.r.a.p. goes with the territory.”

  • Denver Deadite

    Good article. And yeah, Jerry Angelo needs to go find a nice vacation spot somewhere already.

    To continue a thought from yesterday:

    When I mentioned that I was discussing the game and Cutler with some of my friends? They started saying the EXACT SAME THINGS as you get from the meatballs in Chicago. It went from Cutler being a pansy for not fighting more to staying in the game, to the fact that he wasn’t seen talking with the other QB’s on the sidelines (when Fox controls the narrative), to the fact that Cutler doesn’t have a winning personality.

    It hasn’t helped that even the local media is piling on with articles and web polls about whether Broncos fans are enjoying the fact that Cutler got hurt. Which just goes to show how pathetic and dysfunctional their own team is.

    Meatballs are everywhere.

    Oh, and that damage control Bernsie said the Bears needed to do? The press conference yesterday – including Angelo – is a pretty good indicator that the Bears are going to fail miserably at it.

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      The Bears (Jerry, Lovie, Jay, McCaskey family etc. etc.) are terrible at building good will….hence less trust, less benefit of doubt.


      Angelo might be talking about:

      Tubbies that report to camp
      Tubbies that balloon themselves down the depth chart
      Divas that skip trainingcamp
      disparity between rookie year and payday
      criminal behavior
      I don’t know, these things are real.
      And, the morning show could have flipped the news cycle. Instead, I hear more “He took himself out AND THEN the doctors said he was hurt.”

  • bronzo

    That’s a great point Larry. In most unions the rank and file for the most part all make the same wage. They come up through the ranks ie. apprentices There is of course management but that doesn’t really pertian here.. In sports they are paid by their ability. That’s why the NFL is not really a union per se.

    This issue i think will really splinter an already fragile “union”

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      I remember years ago when the NBA was negotiating its contract and that great intellecvtual heavyweight Patrick Ewing was chief spokesman for the players. The players would all show up in limos, “$5,000 suits” etc. and then talk about the need to “feed their families.”
      You know who won the court of public opinion in that one…the shrewd David Stern.

      • bronzo

        Absolutely and Roger Goodell will win this one too!


    Caleb Hanie starting for the Bears in Super Bowl XLV? Had the Bears beaten the Packers in the NFC Championship Sunday, that’s the guy who would have started in cavernous Cowboys Stadium in 2 weeks. As it turns out, the Bears lost more than Jay Cutler to a torn MCL in his left knee. The NFL Network reports the really bad Todd Collins suffered a serious shoulder injury on his second and final series of Sunday’s 21-14 loss to the Packers. Not that it matters at this point…

    Now that Bears’ season is over, Derrick Rose and the Bulls likely will pick up the slack until pitchers & catchers report to Spring Training. They won again last night and are now 13 games ahead of the Pacers following a 92-83 home win over the injury ravaged Bucks on the West Side. Rose may have been 5/16 from the field, but he’s worth your time.

    • Denver Deadite

      When did Collins suffer this injury? Several years ago? Because he’s been awful for so long that a shoulder injury certainly couldn’t have made him any worse in the game on Sunday.

      • ABSHARK18

        I heard Jeff Joniak & Tom Thayer mention it during the 3rd quarter of the NFC Championship game that Todd Collins felt something before Zach Zaidman reported that it was a “coaches’ decision”, not necessarily an injury that prompted Caleb Hanie to come into the game late in the 3rd quarter rather than start the 4th. Hanie was technically inactive as the 3rd string QB, and by rule, because Hanie came into the game when he did, neither Collins nor Jay Cutler could return. I know that Todd’s bad at football, and I’ll never understand why he and not Hanie was the #2 backup QB on this roster…

  • El Guapo

    Is Bernstein’s head still up Cutler’s rectum?!

  • pulseczar

    Honestly, this whole NFL labor thing bores me. If both sides are so determined to mess up a good (not perfect, granted) thing, then let them.

    I will say 18 games is a horrible idea.

    And I still don’t understand the attraction of Twitter. Other than for shooting passive-aggressive barbs around the internet, I really don’t see why it’s so popular. The mundane minutiae shared by celebrities and others really couldn’t be less interesting.

    • Denver Deadite

      Well, in part, it’s the natural evolution of receiving one’s news. Used to be newspaper/nightly broadcast. Then it became websites being updated. Now it’s damn near instantaneous with social networking.

      I didn’t think much of Twitter until I started using it. I think the situation in Iran with their election a couple of years ago, and how a lot of what happened there only became known as a result of Twitter is much of the reason why I changed my mind.

      For example, while that stupid writer for Yahoo! posted an article some time after the game saying that Cutler was never seen limping, both Biggs and Haugh reported on Twitter immediately that Cutler was limping going into the locker room at halftime.

      I follow all sorts of people – celebrities, sportswriters, friends – but no athletes.

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        I set one up to follow LeBron. Now everyone I follow is a personal friend, except for LeBron, Darnell Dockett, and Oney Guillen. Seriously.

      • pulseczar

        I have an account. I check it like 3x a month. Follow mostly MotoGP/WSBK/AMA riders, European footballers, few musical artists. Nothing ever posted is the slightest bit interesting enough to keep me coming back.

        Who knew Billy Corgan was such a chatterbox?

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    Still wondering about the Oney Guillen slapfest at the roast… They mentioned it in brief yesterday in veiled references, but apparently “What happens at the roast…”

    Thank goodness for Deadspin.

    • Jay's Insulin Pump

      Mac and Speegs promised to talk about it today. Speegs’s girlfriend was apparently sitting front row to the smaction so I expect a fully detailed review. I guess we’ll see.

      They’re giving it to Whitlock right now, so enjoy the action.

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        Thanks for the heads-up JIP. I typically don’t log on to listen until B&B, but I’ll check it out.

  • Jaimie in Hoffman Estates

    Well, I agreed with what Matty said yesterday, he said if he were an owner of a sports franchise, there would be no social networking of any kind. It really is starting to ruin the game.

    • murph

      HI Jaimie in Hoffman gestates

  • Peter Lemonjello

    Bernstein is reaching today,, he doesn’t seem to be having the same conversation everyone else is having. I love how he says yesterday is a terrible day for all of Bears fans when he admits he is only talking about 30% of the fan base.

  • Lou Piniella's FUPA

    Does Cutler even have a publicist? I assume most high-profile athletes do, but where was he or she? Or does the Bears organization handle the off-the-field issues?

    I am not too familiar with this arrangement. But if it’s the latter, then that’s not good. (Yesterday’s press conference was a major fail in damage control.) The situation was handled poorly, and honestly, it should have never reached this point. And Cutler is to blame, too.

    I understand there’s an intelligent fanbase — whatever percentage that may be — but I am worried about the meatheads.

    I apologize for going off topic, especially since Bernstein wrote a solid piece on the bigger issue, but I am still really upset about the backlash.

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      By the way, absolutely great handle (the name not Lou’s FUPA).

      • Lou Piniella's FUPA

        Lou’s FUPA is kinda sexy when he is floating around in the pool.

  • pulseczar

    Another thing I noticed- I wasn’t aware that are so many Packer fans in/around Chicago. It’s vexing. There can’t possibly be an equally proportionate amount of Bears fans in Green Bay.

    Are they all just contrarian and counter-culture for the sake of it? Did the barren 90s turn a ton of people to the Packers? I knew there were a lot, just not quite as many as I noticed this past weekend. Just going out and about and seeing GB flags on cars and houses, and the amount of people wearing GB attire was staggering.

    And many of them are people who never lived in Wisconsin or even had relatives up there.

    • JB

      I think a fair number of them are the same people who wore Saints or Colts or Vikings gear last year. They are either gutless front runners or Bear Haters who want to cheese off Bears fans.

  • Maurie Daigneau

    Playing with injury? Jack Youngblood comes to mind: played entire 1979 playoffs with a broken fibuila; Joe Namath comes to mind: played entire career with bad knees, often having his knee(s) drained at halftime of games; Tiger Woods ruptured ACL in 2007 and played with it until after he won 2008 US Open, remember that “playing through pain” performance? Willis Reed comes to mind: played game 7 1970 NBA finals with severe thigh injury, inspiring his teammates to victory. Real bullets weren’t flying in the battle on the field of soldiers on Sunday, but if they had been, there area number of players who would have, despite injury, stayed the battle for their teammates. Jay Cutler was not one of them nor will he ever be. Those are facts that you will never be able to get your brain around.

    • Chris in Scottsdale

      Obviously you don’t care about facts either. Cutler tried to play through a concussion in the regular season against the Giants that he hid from the coaches. The guy wanted to play. It’s sheer idiocy to believe otherwise. Go back to your AYCE meatball plate, jagoff.

    • Meatless Meatball

      You know, 1979 was a long time ago, and medicine has developed since then. Golf is also a very, VERY different game than football. Your comment reeks of insincerity. This, like everything else, seems to be more about the fact that you don’t like Cutler. That’s fine, but don’t mince words. The guy had an injury. The decision was made by the coaches that he couldn’t play, even though he did try. What you apparently will never be able to get your brain around is the difference between playing poorly and being removed for injury, and playing poorly and quitting.

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        The thing that does it for me is that several mouthpieces in the locker room came to his defense. They didn’t have to do that. They could have end-arounded the inquiries by saying something to the effect of “Well, he’s hurt, the coaches wouldn’t let him back in.” It would have been very easy to sidestep the question without coming to Cutler’s aid. The players were extremely emphatic in their defense of Cutler- and they were under no duress to be that way.

        But, peoiple are stupid.

    • Denver Deadite

      “Jay Cutler was not one of them nor will he ever be.”

      Jay Cutler also is likely to be spending his middle years drinking from a sippy cup because his brain is mush due to not treating injuries like they’re something to be battled through.

      • Denver Deadite

        Hrm, that got mixed up a bit. Should be: “NOT likely to be spending”

      • Spoon

        Didn’t you know? That’s the badge of being a man. Sippie cups and diapers by age 40 is the way to be a ‘real man’ to a moron.

    • pulseczar

      I agree that there are countless players who would have had to have been chained to the bench to keep them off of the field with an injury short of bones sticking through skin or unconsciousness. I’m also fully confident that many QBs with the same injury would have played the rest of the game, for better or worse. I’m not being a meatball; it’s just true.

      Cutler and the people in charge determined that he couldn’t perform well enough to be effective. If we can’t trust their judgment, how can we ever trust another injury report?

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        pulseczar, the reaction you got on another thread about Rahm-the-Mayor proves that there is no shortage of stupid people.

  • meesohawnee

    Actually the real problem as i have said many times in the past, if we are a society that cares what an athlete tweets ,well do you wonder why our arrow in this country has been in a parabolic downward trend? Really folks. If Winston Churchill can tweet against T.O.. who do you think would have more hits these days? Hmm.. Ill hang up and listen to my answer. –

    • pulseczar

      Well, that depends on what Churchill thinks of the Bears. We shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air!

      Can a meatball quote Churchill?

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        Now MJD is trying to say his tweets were a joke… Not as much of a joke as his questioning of Cutler’s toughness. For a guy that went out for the season when his team was 8-6 and fighting for their playoff lives, that’s pretty hypocritical.

        On that note, I think I’ll count the WYC callers and e-mails and see what percentage of them are Cutler-related. I bet at least 50%.

  • JB

    Paging Dr. Bernstein:

    If Dan Bernstein reads this thread, I’ve got an angle that may just be up his alley. I’m curious to know if Jay Cutler’s diabetes played a role in limiting his ability to get back on the field Sunday. I am related to someone with diabetes, and I know that there are certain drugs, hormonal treatments, etc., that she cannot take because of how it will impact her blood sugar. Cortisol, for instance, blocks the body’s ability to use insulin, and is particularly dangerous. Would this have limited Cutler’s ability to get an injection of pain killer, get taped up and get back on the field, making him different from “supermen” like Philip Rivers and Tiger Woods? I’d love to hear someone address that.


    • AnneS

      I am curious too. Isn’t it true that adrenaline lowers blood sugar? Could that have been an issue from the get go? (like was specuated vs the Giants)

      I really am not sure what I am talking about here but this is a good point.

      • Spoon

        That type of stuff on Jay is monitored almost constantly, in regards to the minute to minute blood sugar levels. The issue with the shot is a sudden, rapid, change in blood sugar, outside the norm.

    • Chris in Scottsdale

      I did have a doctor-friend that mentioned that if he did injure it worse and was forced to go the surgical route that it could indeed hinder his recovery.

    • Spoon

      In regards to the Corti shot, yes. It can cause a blood sugar spike and is generally not used on a diabetic unless they can be carefully monitored after the shot.

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    How in the world can Mac and Spiegs be empathizing with Oney’s chicky? She physically assaulted a guy. Maybe what he said was inexcusable… but then again, they were at a ROAST… and there’s no way Oney should have been on stage in any case.

    …but it sounds like that might be the last one for a while.

    • Spoon

      Ugh, I missed the segment, I had been waiting all morning for it. Wha happened?

  • meesohawnee

    LOL puls.. a meatball would think that Churchill bombed London for months on end.. Though Churchill would probably tweet,twit whatever, “Bring back that Orkman guy!”

  • meesohawnee

    Oh and speaking or WC.. heres a little gem from him that JC should put at the top of his locker next year..

    “Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference”

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      And that Churchill always looked at pictures on the sidelines, and he never threw off his back foot…he had good mechanics.

      • Spoon

        But at last the post battle press conferences would be full of da fire and da passion…

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        Not to mention Churchill loved sausage!

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        His teams were always solid in the trenches, but he did have an affinity for the fly pattern as well.

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        Then Red Auerback ripped-off his “victory cigar” bit of schtick.

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        But if Churchill had had Jerry Angelo conducting his draft…he’d have had no useful troops.

  • Scoopie

    Can I get the quick summary of what happened at the roast from someone? I had class starting at 11 so I couldn’t really listen. Thanks

    • Larry Horse's Arse

      I second that motion…I don’t want to listen to the M&S pod.

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        It’s at the top of the 11:00 hour… first they talked about how the roasts were kind of meh, and then they had the object of slapfection on… and then basically showed their disdain for his words, and sympathy for Oney’s arm candy- because she was crying. Totally a joke. She obviously has no clue as to how her boyfriend is universally reviled.

      • Larry Horse's Arse

        Thanks Chris.

        Not a big upside to Roasts..can’t broadcast them…don’t think the Score will do any more.

  • Denny Crane

    The worst part of this loss, is that its going to linger for quite sometime, and when July/August roll around, its going to be the same thing. Jay is going to have to be phenomenal to win back, these a$$hat “fans” back.

  • Chris in Scottsdale

    Meatball timeline:


    What more need be said?

  • AnneS

    Oh Meatball are always of the opposite opinon of Bernsie, regardless the topic.

  • meesohawnee

    Ya know what i dont understand. . .If dan and TB have such a problem with Whitlock. Then why dont they freaking call him!!!
    Its amazing how you can rip someone and not put them on the phone to let them rebut?
    If you wont get Whitlock on, then drop the subject. And dont engineer the radio to the illusion your talking to him.
    I didnt know Disney moved to Mokena in his “nobody cant stretch the truth world of TB”.. If you still believe everyone tells the truth thats good. I need a fool to always buy the shares i sell. Fine by me. In the mean time TB waits at his door for the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy. Did i miss anyone?

    • Spoon

      That was a good lead in to him being on the show.

    • Chris in Scottsdale

      Ask… and you shall receive!

      • Chris in Scottsdale

        Whitlock is trying to discredit Boers right off the bat. This is going to be AMAZING!

  • Spoon

    Uncle Terry just lit up Whitlock… wow…

  • Larry Horse's Arse

    Wow, can’t wait to hear the pod of this.

    It has been a long time since B&B got into it with anyone with an IQ higher than dog-doo.

    • Denver Deadite

      “Wow, can’t wait to hear the pod of this.”


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