Accountability, Responsibility and Apologies, Oh My!

The collective moral arbiters known as the Boston sports media are cranking things up into high gear as the Red Sox begin spring training.

The sins of September 2011 will not be forgotten! It is their duty to ask the tough questions, to probe and ensure that there is a new attitude in Red Sox camp this spring, that all offenders are sufficiently humbled and effusive enough in their regret over their transgressions.

Get used to it. We haven’t even gotten to the first full-squad workouts yet, and the radio airwaves are oversaturated with talk about whether Jon Lester and Josh Beckett were sincere enough or said the right things. Carl Crawford’s every word is being micro-analyzed and hosts are already asking on-site reporters whether Bobby Valentine has changed the attitude of the club yet.

Give me a break.

While the topics are an easy way to fill time, and generate angry calls, the majority of fans aren’t interested in rehashing this hour after hour. The radio stations are basing their assumption that this is a hot topic on the calls that they receive – never a good barometer of public sentiment. Sports radio callers are about as far from the average fan as you can get. It’s amusing to hear the hosts say they need these contrite confessions so that they can “move on.”

That’s the last thing they want to do.

Peter King had perhaps the most sanctimonious item on this in his Monday Morning Quarterback column yesterday:

So Josh Beckett on Sunday talked about “lapses in judgment” in his clubhouse behavior in 2011. Why, oh why, oh why, can’t he come clean and say, “I was wrong to drink beer in the clubhouse during games.” If that’s what happened — and with no one ever denying it, it’s hard to imagine it didn’t happen — a full apology to the fans is what’s needed from the Red Sox and the offending players. Based on what I’ve heard in the last few months, and over the weekend, that apology is never coming. Sad. Just sad.

Again. Give me a break.

Yes, I’d like to make sure that what happened last season doesn’t happen again. But I don’t need an apology from anyone. Just win.

  • classless

    Its so annoying Peter King is a Red Sox “fan”.

    • bsmfan

      To give him some credit, PK did live in the Boston area for a bit–infact, I think it was over a decade. (If I am wrong here, please correct.)

      Still, as much as I love MMQB, when he deviates from talking anything NFL (sans the coffee/beer stuff), it's normally cringeworthy.

      • http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com Bruce Allen

        I don’t know if he had lived in Boston earlier in his life, but the stay he just ended lasted maybe a year.

        • Classless

          No, he grew up in the NJ area I think.

        • http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com Bruce Allen

          Yeah, I knew that. I just didn’t know if he lived here at some time other than the condo in back bay he just moved out of.

  • Shawn

    But Bruce, we NEED the players to be humble and apologize! The knights of the keyboard are only writing what the fans want! What a bunch of bunk.
    The average fan could care less about breaking down Beckett/Lester and their apologies, or if Carl Crawford is contrite with his explanation of last year.

    You hit the nail on the head, just win.

  • latetodinner

    Bruce…

    Very seldom do we disagree more than we do on this topic. I think the way the Red Sox and their PR staff have handled these issues from the get go has been horrible. I can't think of an organization in any sport (including the Harry Sinden led Bruins) that took a fan base more for granted than these Sox have these last two years. What is truly amazing to me is that the media has actually woken up and started covering this story. For 100 years the Globe has shielded the Sox organization from any type of critical scrutiny. Heck they are a part owner of the team. WEEI their flagship for the past 12 years has also protected them. The Herald has been a little more critical of on field stuff but never really took a critical eye to management. I can't believe I am going to say this but it took Mike Felger screaming that the emperor (the BBWA) had no clothes on to get the other's in town to actually look at the Sox with anything remotely approaching the critical eye they look at the Pats with on a daily basis.

    As a fan of the Red Sox I feel the ownership is not dedicated to winning championships. I feel they take my support for the home town team for granted. Allowing Josh Beckett to go out 45 minutes before his announced time for whatever reason is another in a long list of PR moves that tell me the Sox organization thinks it is above answering critical questions. I think we, the fans, are owed an explanation and apology as to why well paid players decided that conditioning, preparation and performance were not important to them during a playoff run. I think a record breaking collapse deserves more than "that was last year we are moving on…new coach and 35% new players"…thank you Bobby V for stating the obvious. Josh Beckett brought all of this on himself and his team when he he ate the chicken, drank the beer, gained weight and lost games. The media is not the enemy for reporting it. Beckett is an immature diva for not owning up to it and allowing this story to fester, linger and continue.

    Bruce you might think winning cures all…and it might…but there are no games for another 45 days, however there is access for the first time. I, for one want to hear how this year will be different than last year. I want accountability. I want apologies. I felt cheated. I don't think I am in the minority. I believe those who want to just whitewash last year and not think the problems won't carry over are.

    • http://www.bostonsportsmedia.com Bruce Allen

      I think we agree completely on ownership. I started to add a short rant on how incredibly clueless John Henry appears much of the time, and his amazing social awkwardness – the Crawford comments, not returning Francona's calls, etc, but that's another topic.

      I guess if there is grilling to be done my the media, it should be to the Red Sox ownership and management, instead of it all being on the players. Ownership has basically remained silent in all of this and let the players take the fall.

      I think we're closer in agreement than you realize.

      • latetodinner

        Well we are usually close…so this being the most we have ever disagreed since the old USENET group does not mean there is that much of a chasm and you know I still think you rock!

        We do disagree on whether the players need to be accountable. It goes back to an argument I have made many times. These guys do not make tremendous amounts of money because of how well they hit a baseball. They make the money because of the fame industry. Baseball is just the tool they use to enter it. I think because the fans fund the fame industry we are owed accountability. It is difficult for some to accept this because some people are only concerned with what happens inside the lines. But others of us look at the totality, see how the players represent us the fans and expect a certain degree of accountability to offset the ticket prices, merchandise prices, concession prices and cable tv costs we are willing to endure to follow the team. I don't think it is unreasonable to expect Josh Beckett to say "I was wrong and it won't happen again". When he doesn't I think it is perfectly fair game for the sportstalkers. At some level I think it is their duty to keep this subject in front of the fans because we don't always demand excellence and we should.

        So if Carl Crawford has to address it over and over again, that is his penalty for not addressing last year while it was happening behind closed doors. If Bobby V does not want to talk about it because he was not the manager last year…maybe he should take a long hard look as to why he IS the manager this year…its not because the team lost a 10 game lead. If Josh Beckett wants to remain above the fray because he does not think he did anything wrong, he does not have to say anything but we don't have to stop asking the questions. Its a two way street.

      • latetodinner

        George…

        Do you mean they should apologize for the way they cover the team and whitewash the negatives to make sure they continue to have access? If so, it won't happen and it is completely irrelevant to this story. It is a good argument for another day however.

        • tl;138

          Whoa, wait. How do you know they're the 6th best team in the AL? Do you have a time machine or have the Red Sox played some official games already?

    • bsmfan

      Agree on who you can call the "instigator" as well here. WEEI was giving itself a victory lap and declaring itself a Marconi finalist after getting the Henry/Mouthpiece/Werner interview, only to be completely blindsided and blown out of the water when Henry walked into 98.5. The differences in interviews are amazing and it took a bit before WEEI even acknowledged it on its shows, specificly D+C.

      One day last week, Felger also took a poll via text on this. I think it was last Monday, when Beetle was in for Maz. They asked everyone listening to text in their feelings and claimed that not a single person wanted to move on from this. Now, since then, when it has been the topic all week, there have been maybe one per ten callers that tell them to put a sock in it and move on. SportsHub could have fudged their text line in order to continue the argument. However, going out this weekend, it was also the topic of some random conversations at a sportsbar.

      I'd have to say they're echoing the sentiment of the fans I've talked with and my own opinion. Excessive? They picked a topic where it is easy to get the rally going to the drum up ratings. Even fans outside the market and grasps of the Boston Sports Media (only watch games on mlb.tv) would like to know what happened and what is being done to reverse things.

      On this, it seems like there are three camps of people and journalists:
      - Apologists camp: Will defend ownership/what went on no matter the costs
      - In the middle: Would like to move on but still would like something on what happened.
      - Not moved on yet: those who have not moved on, might never, but are not happy

      What will cure? Charlie Sheen says it a lot and it rhymes with Lin.

  • bsmfan

    Also, SI's Richard Deitsch has his "media power list up". It's for the national media but a nice poll/read
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2012/writers/ric

  • Big Jeff

    Well what if Josh Beckett and others don't think they did anything wrong? What if he's been doing the same thing every year of his career and has won 2 WS with this approach? Should he apologize anyhow?

    This is another in the long list of examples of people with an entitled mentality telling other people how they should behave in order to make their own lives better or more fulfilling or whatever. If this matters to you, I submit there's something seriously wrong with you.

    • tl;138

      Josh Beckett won the WS twice while he was much younger than he is today. When you're young, you can get away with stopping your workout, eating unhealthy food and drinking beer. You body recovers and responds better and quicker. His old way of doing things just ain't cutting it…The proof? He (and Lester) couldn't get out of the 4 and 5th innings during a pennant race in September and were noticeably becoming heavier and more fatigued on the mound.

  • bsmfan

    Bruce just tweeted this as I saw it on bigleadsports:
    http://thebiglead.com/index.php/2012/02/21/source

    Quote:

    Ryen Russillo, who is Scott Van Pelt’s ESPN radio co-host, was suspended by ESPN for an undetermined period of time following his Super Bowl incident with a Boston radio host. A couple readers on twitter noticed Russillo’s absence from SVP’s show over the last week, so I poked around at ESPN and one source said Russillo was suspended, but details are being kept private. A different source says Russillo was on scheduled vacation last week, leading me to believe he was suspended Monday and today. ESPN PR had no comment when asked about the suspension.

    The night before the Super Bowl, Russillo nearly got into a fight with an old colleague, WEEI’s John Dennis. The two have a history dating back to their days in Boston, and each seemed eager to settle the score. Punches were never exchanged, but the incident spilled over to twitter the following day, when Russillo challenged Dennis to a fight (for charity!). Russillo deleted the tweets the following day.

    ———-
    Did D+C address it today? They've brought it up on the show since the superbowl and laughed about it.

  • Angry Old Bastard

    Welome to the Red Sox season…..One LONG 8 month soap opera. Haven't heard them actually talk about THE GAME of Baseball yet but plenty of soap opera crap, and it ain't gonna change…..get use to it

    • Lance_

      Well now that the compensation for Theo was announced today I wonder if Red Sox Pravda (Globe) will start thrashing Theo for his multitude of sins the next couple of weeks. Is that something to look forward to or not?

      • bsmfan

        Potential Mock Headlines:

        - Theo is responsible for the Celtics poor performance lately
        - Theo hooked Tito up with the 20-something woman seen in pictures lately <a href="http://(http://deadsp.in/AdGump)” target=”_blank”>(http://deadsp.in/AdGump) because he was responsible for Tito's divorce
        - Theo made sure Fenway staff stocked the clubhouse with beer and fried chicken
        - Theo was secretly taping Red Sox practices and giving them to the Cubs.

        • Lance_

          No, I was thinking they'll do something more along the lines of personal attacks:

          - Theo once smoked marijuana in college
          - Casablanca is actually a rip-off of a long forgotten British sitcom
          - He once tried to buy a Humvee and only stopped after a family intervention
          - refuses to recycle plastic bottles

    • http://twitter.com/theaisleseatcom @theaisleseatcom

      Agreed. Bring back football season. I have Sox overdose already and it's just regurgitating the same September storylines over and over, and it'll be that way until April.

      I'm sick of every show on the air this week — especially the Mutt-Merloni-Minihane pairing at 10am. If you thought the baseball season would make EEI's midday show any better, that has not been the case…at all.

  • Nicky_B

    The only thing that would've made this a story is if the playes drinking were actually in the game at the time. I just can't see why this is so bad, A player not involved in a game drinking. Get over it media.

  • bsmfan

    @GeorgeCain72: From the always foolish Wiggy. John Henry should sell this team because its not about winning championships. Wiggy, you're still awful.

    I thought SportsHub would stop his apperances now that NFL is done… guess not.

  • Tom

    For those who want apologies, just remember this…

    If they did apologize, we would be subject to days upon days of 'was the apology sincere enough?' talk.

    Ugggh… please let this end soon.

    • latetodinner

      But it would end and then 2012 would be separate. Without the apology 2011 lingers…and this story goes on and on…always a backdrop to be brought forward is the team slides.

      • Angry Old Bastard

        No way, LTD….come on now, your a media savy guy. They could apologize until the cows come home. The media LOVES THIS KIND OF STUFF. The only way they'll let it go is if the Sox are some kind of superpower juggernaught this season (don't see that happening)……I know I sound like a broken record but today's sports media IS ALL ABOUT soap opera, celebrity and catering to the "casual fan" …..hence the furor about Tebow and "Lin-sanity" it's why they still bring up "Spygate" any chance they get….it's why they spent DAYS talking about what, "Gisele said" and about Gronk dancing after the Super Bowl loss….nope. "apologies" won't put an end to anything media wise, they simply love this stuff too much…and I hate saying it but apparently so do alot of "fans" it must be getting them ratings…..I hear the over/under on how many times the media brings up," beer and chicken wings" this year is 2.5 million …I'm betting the over

        • latetodinner

          These things have shelf lives if there is closure. Without it there is none. I suggest that spygate had no closure. However look at Andy Petite and the PED scandal. He admits to it…it goes away. Clemens fights it and it is still a story 3 years later. All Beckett had to do was be humble. He can't so it stays a story. All john Henry had to do on the F & M show was be humble…he couldn't…he stays the story. John Lester was humble…his part in this mess is already forgotten.

  • NorwoodZip

    The EEI angle on this interests me. Wakefield was on with Ordway and Holley yesterday and bascially repeated what Beckett said (he thought it would stay in house).

    I know, he's retired know but for the 26 hours between what Beckett said and what Wakefield said – Beckett was croaked for saying he was sorry it got out.

    Tom, to late. They are already peeling back the are you sorry enough onion?

    That and oh yeah, there's a speed trap on the way into the ballpark.

    That's what I've learned from the 400 or so assembled media members these past 3 days.

  • Lou From Accounting

    All the Sox did was prop up the ponies and told them to tell the media what they want to hear, to the best of their "abilities". Big deal. Might as well just have them kiss babies and walk little old ladies across the street. Still doesn't make up for management's failure last fall.

    • latetodinner

      And this is why some of us are so critical of the Red Sox ownership and PR staff. They could not even get the players to tell us what we wanted to hear correctly. They are so arrogant they can't even pretend to be humble. This is why they are getting crucified and the story won't die.

  • bosox3054

    Beckett is a child. He's not sorry about what he did, he's sorry he got caught. And he's angry at his teammates for ratting him out. That's a worthy topic of discussion, even if you find it uncomfortable. You're in the minority as far people who weren't irked by Beckett on Sunday.

  • Guest

    I completely diagree with this column. I consider myself an “average fan” but still believe a public apology from management and the involved players is warranted. The fact that we won’t be getting one makes me dislike this out-of-touch ownership group and team of overpaid crybabies that much more. I didn’t even like this team last year when they were winning, so John Henry can count on me to not show up at Fenway or buy any Red Sox merchandise this year.

  • NorwoodZip

    None other than Glenn Ordway was speaking about how media outlets deal with situations (such as the Jeremy Lin ESPN incident).

    Glenny felt that media outlets were to quick on the trigger of firing someone rather than discussing the issue.

    This led into a discussion of repeating Stephen A. Smith's comments on the same issue and than a defense of Bob Ryan for the Johanna Kidd comments of 9 years ago and bashing Kidd's teammates for taking on Ryan and not Kidd's A&B of his ex.

    This was WEEI leading this discussion – Glenn Ordway who CLAIMS to have never heard the METCO gorilla tape.

    How many times with the help of his pal Steve Burton, did batterer Jose Canseco appear on the Big Show and it was trumpteted as an exclusive.

    What a bunch of hypocrites.

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