Did New York Giants punter Steve Weatherford really trash talk the Philadelphia Eagles when he recently made some perhaps ill-advised [or misunderstood] comments about Philly quarterbacks Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford? Eagles center Jason Kelce apparently does and, of course, fired back at Weatherford.
Of course a player who is literally not allowed to be touched is talking shit... Is interviewing punters a thing now? @Weatherford5— Jason Kelce (@Jkelce) June 29, 2015
As a refresher, here is what Weatherford was quoted as saying during an appearance on WFAN:
"I'm the biggest Tim Tebow fan in the world," he said. "I mean, who wouldn't want their daughter to date a guy like that? I'll tell you want, I don't want him taking snaps for my team."
Then he broke out the car metaphors for the rest of the Eagles quarterbacks.
"I'm gonna give you a Ferrari that maybe won't be running all the time, or I'm giving you a nice Cadillac sedan," he said. "It's not the fastest but you know what you're going to get out of it."
Who's the Cadillac? You guessed it, Mark Sanchez.
"[Sam] Bradford can go zero to 60 in three seconds," he added. "But you don't know if he's going to start up some days."
Weatherford hasn't been backtracking. Rather, he has been using Twitter to explain his intent was to compliment the Philly trio, not denegrate them. Here is his response to Kelce's tweet:
Did u even read the my quotes? Or did u generate ur opinion based upon the headline? (Continued) @Jkelce— Steve Weatherford (@Weatherford5) June 29, 2015
Weatherford almost certainly did not intend to provide bulletin board material, and obviously believes that is not what he did. Unfortunately, he probably said more than he should have here. As soon as he said he wouldn't want Tebow taking snaps for his team you had to know how folks in Philly were going to take that.
Perhaps the media -- including yours truly -- sensationalized Weatherford's comments. Maybe we didn't. Think whatever you want of that, part of the job is to get eyeballs on your work. Athletes need to talk to the media, and benefit from doing so, but part of their job is not to say too much. Don't make it easy for newspapers and web sites to draw those readers. . The Giants punter is media savvy enough to know that in this case he left an opening about as big as the Meadowlands Sports Complex for reporters, bloggers and headline writers to do just that.
For athletes, this is one of the consequences of being as accessible as Weatherford makes himself. He is, of course, all over social media. He co-hosts his own ESPN New York radio show. He does some TV work. We're all grateful for the access, and for the way he treats everyone who he comes in contact with. Once in a while, though, things you say will come back to bite you. Whether you meant them the way they sound or not.