The Bears told a ‘White’ lie and the media didn’t like it
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Things really didn’t start off on the right foot with the media and Bears coach John Fox and general manager Ryan Pace. Now, it’s worse.
It all started with a few innocuous tweets about Kevin White’s leg injury during OTAs that didn’t sit right with Fox.
So, the Bears introduced new policies limiting the media’s access to practices at training camp and restricted what and when injuries could be reported. The media doesn’t like it when you mess with their Ws.
The edict quickly came into play as the media wondered aloud about White at training camp, but the Bears remained elusive. A week ago on “Jim Rome,” a West Coast radio show, Fox revealed that White might have “shin splints.” Feeling shut out, the local media was even more incensed.
Well, it all came to a head over the weekend when the Bears told the media what they had expected all along—the team’s top rookie will need surgery on his shin and could miss the entire season.
The media unleashed its wrath.
From Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times:
What’s the detriment to the Bears to revealing the exact nature of the White’s injury?
“I don’t know. You guys figure that out,” Fox said dismissively. “I just know that, by league [rules], we’re required to give you a body part — unless it’s a quarterback or kicker, then we don’t even have to tell you which side. I’ve been doing it for 14 years now, that’s the way we do it.”
That is consistent with the inexplicable paranoia that Fox and many NFL coaches — led by the great and wonderful Bill Belichick — mindlessly adhere to. It’s that fear that drives Fox to prohibit taping of any substantive part of his team’s training camp practice — the fear that something might be revealed that can be used against him.
It’s lunacy, of course. If anything that happens on a practice field in August can be used to beat you in the regular season — that’s on you, pal. And if it’s that critical, do you think opposing teams can’t get the information from a practice that’s open to the public? Do these guys ever think this through?
If they ever did, they might find that there’s a better way.
From Jon Greenberg of ESPN:
The Bears had been obfuscating the truth on White’s injury all training camp, not very well I might add, culminating in White’s first bald-faced lies to the media Friday.
He was obviously doing what he thought was right. It’s Pace’s and head coach John Fox’s job to break this kind of story. Credit them for not just leaking it to a national reporter. Gold stars for you guys.
“I think, me personally, we tell you the body part and that’s all we have to tell you,” Fox told reporters in Bourbonnais. “We’re not doctors and stick to that.”
OK. But still, why lie?
“I don’t know,” Fox said. “You guys figure that out. I just know that, by league, we’re required to give you a body part, unless it’s a quarterback or kicker, then we don’t even have to tell you which side. I’ve been doing it for 14 years now, that’s the way we do it.”
What a charmer.
From David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune:
A team in transition, bound to struggle, needs to earn the public’s trust, not destroy it before the season opener. A first-time general manager like Pace working in the NFL’s second-largest market needs to make a strong impression, not rookie mistakes.
First, Pace signed accused domestic-abuser Ray McDonald in the spring before having to cut him two months later after an arrest. Now, two weeks after calling White’s injury minor, the Bears face a major hurdle getting anybody to have faith in anything they say. Perhaps the Patriots can get away with such subterfuge due to their sustained success. A Bears team staring at 6-10 under a new regime cannot.
From Hub Arkush of Chicago Football:
Had Fox and Pace told us the day we arrived in Bourbonnais that White had a mild stress fracture and the recommended course of action was rest, and if that failed, surgery, there would be no controversy, no frustration, no mistrust and far less disappointment today.
Also, White would not have been forced to lie to reporters just 24 hours earlier, telling them he was fine and ready to go.
My limited exposure to the young man tells me that kind of deceit does not come to him naturally and didn’t come to him easily.
There have been rumblings spilling out of training camp since we arrived of a concerned media unhappy with its lack of access. …
I do not believe the media and fans are entitled to or need to know everything going on with the team.
I do believe we are entitled at a minimum to the truth.
It should be very interesting to see what happens next.