I’ve gotten some cogent and fascinating comments from readers of this blog on an impassioned piece I wrote on Monday called, “Will the Niners man up?”
Someone who uses the handle Big Cheeze, a new commenter on the blog, questioned why the players have to answer to the media after a loss. Big Cheeze said they’re only answerable to each other and the coaches.
Big Cheeze raises an important point and I would like to respectfully address it. We in the media did not demand to talk to the players. The San Francisco 49ers’ public relations staff invited us into the locker room to speak to the players, as it is mandated by the league. Probably Big Cheeze does not know this because he is not a P.R. man, so I am letting him know how things really work in the real world.
When we went into the room only one player was available to talk, Andy Lee, and I got to thinking. A team’s true character, and this goes for individual athletes as well, is revealed after a loss, not after a win. Everyone can be a hero after a win. It’s easy. How do you stand up after a loss? Or to use Jim Harbaugh’s macho term, how do you “man up” after a loss?
True champions man up. True champions can face wimps like me from the media. To the best of my knowledge Steve Young never hid after a loss. He was there talking. To the best of my knowledge, Bill Walsh was at his most articulate after a loss.
And here’s the point of my article. If every single 49er except Andy Lee could not face Grant Cohn, Michael Erler, Matt Maiocco, etc., how are they going to face the Pittsburgh Steelers?