Questions evoke better responses than statements
With the NFL season officially over, I want to take this time to rant about some sports reporters. I’m not going to pick on anyone in particular and I’m not going to stereotype an entire group. But let me just say this: it irks me how certain sideline and courtside sports reporters conduct their halftime and postgame interviews.
Before I dig into them, let me first say I understand their job can be chaotic at times. It is their responsibility to convince emotional athletes to talk to them on camera and hurriedly ask questions that will a) elicit an engaging response, and b) not offend them. Whether it’s victors at the peak of excitement or losers sulking in defeat, interviewing emotional athletes can be challenging.
That said, it really grinds my gears when sideline and courtside reporters don’t ask questions. In other words, they make a statment, jam the mic in the athlete’s face and expect them to respond.
Instead of blowing more hot air, I am going to channel my rage into a made up post-game interview:
Reporter: Jay, you were 32 for 38, four touchdowns, zero interceptions and you just beat an undefeated team. That had to feel good.
Athlete: It sure did.
Reporter: With an early season injury followed by the death of your father, it has been a difficult season.
Athlete: Yes it has.
Reporter: Next week will be no easy task. You’ll be playing your rivals in Minnesota led by a 57-year-old quarterback who just won’t quit.
Athlete: Yes, that is the next game on our schedule.
Luckily for the reporters, athletes are typically media savvy enough to know how to respond to such ridiculous statements. That’s why the athlete’s responses above are not realistic. It’s just how I wish they would respond to Captain Obvious’ thoughtless gibberish.
Now here’s an example of how the interview could have gone a lot better if the reporter’s statements were modified into questions:
Reporter: Jay, you were 32 for 38 with four touchdowns and zero interceptions. How does it feel to beat this undefeated team on its home turf?
Athlete: It feels remarkable. We’ve been preparing for this game for a long time and were able to execute in all phases of the game. Hats off to my offensive linemen who gave me plenty of time to throw the football.
Reporter: Your season started with an injury. Then your father died unexpectedly. How have you been able to channel all of the distractions and hardship into success on the field?
Athlete: There’s not a moment that goes by that I’m not thinking about my father. He was my biggest fan. I’m playing every game for the rest of this season in his honor.
Reporter: Next week will be no easy task. You’ll match up against your rivals in Minnesota led by a 57-year-old quarterback who just won’t quit. How will you prepare for this game?
Athlete: He’s the only quarterback in the league who actually remembers the Vietnam War. Despite his age, he’s still got a cannon for an arm. We’re going to work extra hard this week in preparation for the big game.
Before you add my name to your “people to kill” list, I want to reiterate that there are many talented sideline and courtside reporters who do a great job. However, there are, in my opinion, too many who have trouble conducting a basic interview. Is it just the journalism nerd in me, or have you noticed this too?