Thursday, December 28, 2006

Tate interview feedback.

Drew Tate sure polarises the Hawkeye fan base. His comments on living in Iowa sparked wide-ranging feedback. Some fans want to run Tate out of town on a rail while others praise the Iowa quarterback for candidly speaking the truth. (If you're scratching your head right now, and you don't have dandruff, please go back to the sports page and watch the Tate interview.)

Like most people, my take is somewhere between the two extremes. I do think too much has been made of this, and no, I don't think we're responsible. Tate's comments were interesting and did belong in our newscast. Furthermore, I love that the 13Raw feature at whotv.com provides us the opportunity to show you an entire interview so you can see the complete context, including the line of questioning on both sides of the sound byte. The story had legs because people couldn't stop talking about it, and that includes a lot of non-sports fans.

I don't think Tate meant any great offense, nor do I think he was joking. I think he honestly feels like he's faced so much criticism because many Hawkeye fans have nothing to do but obsess about Iowa football. There is some truth in the obsession, but not the lack of entertainment and cultural options. Tate lives in Iowa City, a place you'll find even Cyclone fans admit has a lot to offer, though not the NFL (especially this season). As for corn stock, it does matter to a lot of us, and even makes its way into newscasts, but we shouldn't be defensive; it beats the heck out of stories on crime rates. More than anything, I think Tate's verbal darts show he's aware of his critics, they hurt him, and this is how he explains them.

It was not a smart thing to say. He sounds ungrateful and condescending. We all say things that were taken more harshly than we intended, especially those of us who have been married. You have to think before you open your mouth, even if you're just 22 years old.

I've been both a supporter and a critic of Tate. I applaud him for often playing hurt and giving everything he's got on game day. Maybe too much. There are times I think he was too banged up to help the team and he played anyway, but there's no questioning Tate's heart. I do have a problem with his on-field leadership. It's true, when Iowa was winning, we praised Tate for his fiery leadership, but now that the Hawks are losing, he's put down for similar behavior. I think there's a fine line between fiery and temperamental, and Tate crossed the line way too many times this season. Why do you think Kirk Ferentz put him in timeout during the Minnesota game... because he was acting like a child. Screaming works better when you're winning because it keeps players grounded. When you're losing, it can shake already fragile confidence. A good leader knows the difference.

Bottom line, I don't think what Tate said was a huge deal. It gave some people the opportunity to pile on a guy they've already made their minds up about, and gave others a reason to smile at the same old standby stereotypical put-downs of Iowa. Each time I watch the interview, I'm less offended. My initial reaction was similar to the way you feel when someone makes a derogatory comment about family. After a deep breath, it's not as bad as it initially seemed.

Tate didn't choose his words wisely, but he shouldn't be persecuted for them either.

Thank you for all your thoughtful feedback.

Keith

2 comments:

Andi said...

Keith,
You are too kind sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Who cares about Tate. He knows that he probably isnt going to stay in Iowa, so do you really think that he cares about what he said in that interview. Dont run you mouth in the microphone, do you talking on the field. And it seem this year he didnt do much talking. Brad Banks was the best Iowa QB ever in my opinnion. You need someone like him to perform on the field and not make excuses and whine and cry all the time like a 4-year old.