5.2.11

PRESENTATION MATTERS.  Retired Northern Illinois sports information director Mike Korcek, longtime Bears fan, evaluates Jay Cutler's Rate Your Students moment.
Observation No. 2: Sorry to say, my only perception (and remember, perception is reality) of Cutler comes through the media as a fan. The past two seasons, the majority of his postgame news conferences on Comcast SportsNet Chicago have been PR disasters. Tilted head, poor body language, no eye contact, curt answers, rolling eyeballs, shrugging shoulders, you name it. All on camera. For every Cutler twitch, the ex-SID in me shuddered. This is your franchise QB? Playing in one of the nation’s top markets? Are you kidding? No one from the Bears front office noticed this? In a league where everything resonates image – is this what commissioner Roger Goodell desires?


Observation No. 3: I’ve always felt that our Huskie student-athletes were the best walking-talking advertisement for Northern Illinois intercollegiate athletics. For the most part, they are exceptional “spokespeople” for our institution and its mission. I never worried when Tim Dillon, Garrett Wolfe, Denise Dove, P.J. Fleck, T.J. Lux, Josh Haldi, Doug Kieso, Lisa Foss, Rodney Davis, Nicole Jeray, and 99.9 percent of our student-athletes addressed the media. My staff and I would work with most of them or we had specialists Randy Minkoff and his wife Sue Castorino to help their external education.

Sorry, there’s no excuse for a professional athlete being such a poor public speaker. No one expects a JFK inaugural address after an NFL contest, but part of being a professional requires some interpersonal communication skills. You mean Cutler can’t do the “grin and bear it” Hollywood smile for 10 postgame minutes?
Let alone look more involved on the sidelines?
Observation No. 4: I understand both sides of the situation. In a position such as mine, you had to know that there were media people with agendas and, sometimes, goofy ideas on the other side of the microphone. And there also were professionals asking very little except reasonable access to the athletes/coaches/participants and a forum for interviews. Again, Cutler is not the only guilty party.
Media people with agendas?  Ever watch the recently departed Keith Olbermann serve softballs to his Nation TV buddies?  He learned that as part of sportswriter etiquette.

Just for one week, I'd like to see the Washington press corps interview the losing coach after a major sporting event.  Heck, the Washington press corps can find fault with a victory ...  Red Smith calling the Bears "dirty" in the New York Times for knocking Y. A. Tittle around doesn't rise to the level of Sam Donaldson badgering Ronald Reagan on a daily basis, or Dan Rather rediscovering homelessness during Republican presidencies.

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