It's Time for All These Anonymous People to Back Off Geno Smith
I suppose that news outlets can determine what exactly constitutes news. I'm just one man, one voice in the current events wilderness.
With that in mind, allow me to say this:
Former West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith's precipitous tumble from potential top ten pick in the NFL Draft to 39th overall pick (to the New York Jets) is news.
Geno Smith's firing his agents just days after the draft is news, which means that narrowing his list down to three potential replacements for said agents, is also news.
Anything having to do with Geno Smith's play on the field from now until the end of time is and will be news.
Anonymous "sources" telling anybody with a pen, paper or recording device what they thought of Geno Smith before the draft or what they think of him now?
Not news. Not even close.
And yet, for every Geno Smith story that centers around something relevant and newsworthy, we get a story like the one ESPN treated with the gravity of a hostage crisis on Monday's morning edition of SportsCenter, running graphics for a solid three minutes that said some variation of this:
"He's going to have a tough time in New York," an NFC scout said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "Right now, he's coming off as a spoiled, pampered brat."
ESPN even thought so much of some faceless chatter that they deemed it necessary to bring on their foremost NFL Insider, Adam Schefter, to comment on the story. The conclusion that Schefter arrived at in regards to this anonymous NFC Scout?
Schefter opined that it "just doesn't matter" what anybody in the NFL thinks of Geno Smith anymore, that his play will have to do the talking from this point forward.
EXACTLY. No shit, Sherlock.
Why then does Schefter's employer feel it's necessary at this point to divulge anonymous NFL personnel people's opinions on Geno Smith the person (or Geno Smith the player, for that matter)? Who cares? He's a New York Jet now, and he will now succeed or fail based on his physical skills, his maturation curve and the level (and to some degree, the stability) of coaching that he gets.
What "anonymous NFC scout" thinks about Geno Smith's demeanor, Geno Smith's propensity for texting and tweeting while on pre-draft visits (NFL teams would hate me, by the way), and Geno Smith's forecasted adjustment to NFL play doesn't matter, and the fact that this person won't put his name on the report makes it matter even less. It's gutless, and it's piling on.
It's hard to defend much of what Geno Smith has done either on tape or during the draft process pretty much dating back to the Texas Tech game in mid-October, when a 5-0 West Virginia team got routed by five touchdowns and began a five-game slide back to .500. I'm not defending Smith's résumé. (For what it's worth, if I had to guess, I'd guess he will fail as a quarterback for several reasons, not the least of which is he's a New York Jet.)
I merely want to point out the Swiss cheese journalism that constitutes news gathering in the year 2013. Anonymous sources, unnamed scouts, damaging "after the fact" hearsay. That's it. Find someone who won't put his name on an opinion, put that opinion on television, then let 95 percent of the sheep hearing it accept it as gospel.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
At this point, if you've got something to say about Geno Smith, put your name on it. Otherwise, go get ready for minicamp.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.
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