By Dan Bernstein–
It’s easy to say “Let’s talk about something else. I’m sick and tired of talking about Jay Cutler.”
I agree. We all are. But it’s not that simple, when it still seems to be the subject of discussion among Chicago sports fans. I judge this not only from the calls, emails and texts that continue to pour in, but from the casual, daily conversations that indicate the current.
At water-coolers and in break rooms, and in parka-muffled exchanges as we drop the kids at school or swing by Jewel for eggs and milk, people will make an occasional mention of Derrick Rose’s brilliance or that pitcher the Cubs got, but it still gets back to what happened Sunday and Monday.
The whole story of Cutler’s injury — the bad loss to the Packers, his departure from the game, the Fox broadcast, the Bears’ press conference, Cutler’s postgame dinner, Twitter posts and twisted words, facts ignored and paranoia indulged – was bigger than we thought.
This happened because of ambiguity on all levels.
A cipher of a personality is at the center of a situation where the facts have been handled poorly. When the TV network carrying the game failed to inform us in real time, and the Bears failed to understand the necessity of managing the story, all hell broke loose. Bits of “news” and opinion were launched like mortars from smart-phone keypads, exploding on our various screens. The resulting smoke still clouds everything.
When that much uncertainty is introduced, it allows for reasonable speculation and a desire to ask questions. Unfortunately, that is all too quickly accompanied by bizarre conspiracy theories, abject character assassination, and fringe lunacy. That energy, then, propels things further.
And it’s just so strange. Nationally strange.
Jay Leno worked a lame Cutler reference into his typically vacuous, middlebrow monologue. Kobe Bryant even weighed in with a Cutler opinion in today’s LA Times. Everybody, it seems, has a thought. The MRI results are debated by people who can’t even spell “MRI.” Columnists are twisting themselves into logical mobius strips in an effort to justify being wrong, unfair and stupid. YouTube videographers are doing what Fox producers and directors should have done Sunday, dissecting the second quarter like the Zapruder film to determine the actual moment of injury.
I want to move on. Trust me – this subject has left many of us with a sour distaste that’s difficult to describe.
Something is lingering, though, as if we need a way to end it cleanly. You know that’s not going to happen. Cutler will not be weeping on Oprah’s couch, nor having an introspective conversation with Charlie Rose. Even if he did, the tinfoil-hat crowd would still cling to the truths they divined from their muses in space.
All we can do is let it scab over. It won’t take long, but we’re just not there yet.
This is a new time, in the way we interact with news and information, and how we then reconcile and recalibrate our resulting opinions and feelings. It began with the offseason LeBron James story, and there’s no going back.
We’ll know when we’re done with it. I’m with you in hoping it’s soon.
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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