When I covered Major League Soccer at The Register I was well-known for asking the tough questions whether it was after a game, practice or at a press conference. I’m sure U.S. Soccer men’s national team head coach Bob Bradley would admit it and so would every executive/coach who has worked and works for Chivas USA, my first pro beat as a 20-year-old sportswriter (of course when I covered the Lakers I let the big boys do the heavy lifting). But after listening to Rob Parker’s tone and his last question not only did he clearly cross the line but it sounded personal despite what he wrote in his column today on the Detroit News website. Parker goes on to write in his column how he and Rosemead native Rod Marinelli have had talks after press conferences and their mutual respect for one another. Heck, even former Chivas USA coach Bob Bradley pulled me aside one time after a soccer practice and asked me why I wrote a critical story, calling a 0-0 tie tasteless. We talked for a good 20 minutes about the game, his experience coaching the Chicago Fire and comparing the media in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. There was also that one time Bradley yelled at me for continually asking whether one of his best players was in fact pondering to leave the club. Turned out I was right; the player left to Mexico. And his predecessor (Preki) and I went at it, too, after a report that the team was trading a marquee player. I was sure there was video footage of it but I can’t find it and I know there is audio recording because there were five other reporters who watched it unfold. Coaches/players/executives reach a level of comfort with the media. When Bradley was hired as the U.S. MNT coach I approached him and said it was probably the last time I’d interview him since I was thinking about leaving journalism to go to law school. He wished me well, shook my hand and had words of encouragement for me. The point is there’s a difference between asking tough questions, staying professional and acknowledging respect for one another as opposed to crossing the line, something Parker clearly did
From Steve Ramirez (AKA The Instigator) on Robledo’s blog:
There’s an old saying in politics, whether you are republican or democrat, that thou shall never speak ill of another party member.
It’s also goes for the journalism profession. But today I’m going to break that unwritten rule. I’m embarrassed today of being a sportswriter, and I have Detroit News columnist Rob Parker to blame. He clearly stepped over the line Sunday when questioning Detroit Lions coach Rod Marinelli after the Lions became the first NFL team in history to go 0-15.
Parker tried to place the blame on the Lions defense, and defensive coordinator Joe Barry, asking Rosemead native Marinelli why he hasn’t replaced his DC, who also happens to be his son-in-law.
When he didn’t get the answer he wanted, he crossed the line, asking Marinelli, “Do you wish your daughter would have married a better defensive coordinator?”
This coming from someone who probably doesn’t know the difference between a ‘Cover 2’ or a ‘Plug 1.’ Why get personal, Rob?
The Lions problem lies not with the coaching staff, but with the players that former team president Matt Millen put together. I reflect back to motor sports, and what Al Unser Jr. once told me, and that was that if two cars are close in performance, the better driver can make a difference. But if one car is clearly quicker, the best driver in the world is not going to make that difference up. It’s the same in team sports, where if the gap in talent level is too great, the best coaching staff in the world is not going to be able to win with it.
I guess Parker doesn’t know that. And the Fox Sports staff agrees with me, listen to what they say at the end of the video.