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DAWES: CALL & RESPONSE – "Respect the burden, Madam"
Nov 01, 2007, 1:16:53 AM by Rufus Dawes - FAQ
CALL: What’s Priest Holmes done that is so awful…? He came back when no one thought he would [but] I don’t know if he’s going to be the player he once was. So what…why deny him the chance to at least try [?]
RESPONSE: So what, indeed. Why all this talk of Holmes? He’s at present a minimal figure in what is a minimal offense. The attention in the form of criticism he has garnered from one local Kansas City columnist in particular is likely because Holmes has denied the man tribute, something said columnist believes is his right just because he writes for the local newspaper and fashions himself as some recreation of Walter Winchell.
Holmes, as he is wont to be, marches to the beat of his own drum. Unlike Larry Johnson, or more likely Johnson’s agent, Holmes did not seek out the columnist to plead his case – if indeed he believes he has one or needs one to plead.
The columnist says he doesn’t hate Holmes and you can understand that since it’s hard to build much animosity for someone you really haven’t talked to in any appreciable way. But maybe that’s not it at all. Maybe Holmes is just another Chiefs subject to smack around. Maybe the writer’s only following long-time political operative and influence-peddler Roger Stone’s advice, part of Stone’s Rules as he calls them: “Unless you can fake sincerity, you’ll get nowhere in this business.” Can anyone really sincerely get up in arms over Priest Holmes…and Priest Holmes as he is now?
As one person in the nineteenth century put it: “A man’s character is what he is; a man’s reputation is what other people may imagine him to be.” (Theodore Tilton) In what must now be considered his later years in football terms and even considering that he may never be what he was or that Edwards will never look to count on him the way Vermeil did, there is nothing small about Holmes, but the same cannot be said for this columnist who continues to write so frequently and so negatively about him.
CALL: If sports talk radio is so bad, why do so many people listen to it?
RESPONSE: The sports talk crowd will crow that their interest and attention is spent reaching out to 18-to-49 year old [or 25-54] adults, not the populace at large. Well, one-third of the 56 million Americans sitting down to watch SpongeBob SquarePants on Nickelodeon each month is between the ages of 18 and 49 (Gary Strauss, USA Today, May 17, 2002)
For the record, Nickelodeon’s core demographic is between the ages of six and 11 years old, so let’s dismiss the idea that just because people listen to this form of media there is much they can learn about professional sports. (Christopher Nixon, New York Times, August 31, 2003) It’s not necessarily bad; it’s just more often silly.
CALL: Herm Edwards has this swagger…you could call it…arrogance maybe. It must be tough to be so confident in the midst of this season of so many ups and downs…
RESPONSE: Like anyone in a win-lose situation week after week, a little charity might be in order for coaches these days. I’ve come to feel about them as I believe Napoleon must have felt when he ordered a lady out of a porter’s way with the words, “Respect the burden, Madam.” Indeed, respect the burden of what has been a tough season for NFL head coaches.
As for your observation that Edwards has a swagger, at least it’s genuine. Sherry Lazarus, the CEO of advertising for advertising giant Ogilvy & Mather, pays huge stock in what she believes is the genuine article. “Don’t underestimate the value people place on authenticity,” she says. “After 30 years of reading consumers, I know they can smell phonies.” (Fortune, September 17, 2007). Edwards is no phony like him or not.
Moreover, he seems to have the gift of gab. David Gergen, one-time White House communication advisor to four presidents, favorably cites Winston Churchill’s assertion that “of all the talents bestowed upon men, none is so precious as the gift of oratory. He who enjoys it wields a power more durable than that of a great king.” (Eyewitness to Power, Simon & Shuster, 2000)
For some reason such self-confidence in a leader annoys media in general who view “self-confidence [as a] warning sign for myopia, insulation and inability to accurately assess the world around you,” as one journalist described it. (John Dickerson, Slate, October 3, 2007).