irst off, I’d like to say that this wasn’t my best column. Lots of things going on and I’m not here to make excuses, but I’m going to regroup, and come out and do better next week. That’s not who I am, and not what I’m capable of here. Next question.
How many times have we heard something similar to what’s above? Maybe not from your favorite–and most handsome–columnist, but certainly time and time again at press conferences. Put 15 reporters in a room all shouting to pick their question, and the answer is always going to be the same. And yet, the press conference remains. It remains one of the dumber parts of professional sports — and yes, I’m including games umpired by Angel Hernandez in that list.
Last week, professional tennis player Naomi Osaka dropped out of the French Open tournament, in part, because of her reluctance to attend her required media obligations, interviews and press conferences. She was fined by the French Open, then dropped from the tournament. In a statement, she said that social anxiety and pressure from many of those press appearances weighed on her decision and that she would be taking time away from the sport for her mental health.
I can’t honestly think anybody missed her press conferences except the 15 reporters in the room. Osaka is a phenomenal tennis player, and rather than play a 15-second sound bite, they could’ve just played another highlight of her serving up an ace or winning a point. There is no reason Osaka needed to do those appearances, and she should’ve stayed in the tournament.
We ask a lot of our athletes. We ask them to be role models when they’re young enough to do the same dumb things we did when we were their age. We ask them to endorse our products because you really need the same shoe that player is wearing. We ask them to adhere to standards we can’t hold up to ourselves. Let’s draw the line and have them cut open and examined if it’s against their will.
The press conference is a complete waste of time. We want to know what players and teams do on the field. Did they win? Did they lose? Did someone make a sparkling play? Well, we all know that doesn’t buy cable subscriptions or sell magazines. But, ultimately, that’s the crux of it.
Take Major League Baseball for instance. When I covered the Royals, there was a pre-game press conference with Ned Yost moments before the game. There was a press conference with Ned Yost immediately following the game. What would’ve changed other than the win or the loss? What possibly can be gleaned from either of those pressers? “Well, we’re going to go out today and try to score more runs than the other team.” “Well, we didn’t score more runs than the other team, but we’re going to go out there tomorrow and try again.”
Sure there’s nuggets of information that come out here and there, but I think you can shave off about 75% of the press commitments and the participants would love it 200% more, and we’d miss it 0%.
In the meantime, I’m just going to try to go out there next week and get you a better column. I have to dig deep at a time like this, and, God willing, things will work out.
(Get a mini daily press conference from Chris Kamler on Twitter, where you’ll find him as @TheFakeNed)