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Shutdown Corner

The Week in Self-Delusion: As usual, Matt Millen leads the way

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

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What is Matt Millen thinking right now? Your guess is as good as ours. (Getty Images)

Millen doesn't have a clue? You don't say! Apparently, someone needed to tell ESPN that Matt Millen will generally enter a situation ill-prepared and ready to embarrass himself. So ... nobody at the Worldwide Leader remembers Millen's seven-year tenure as the team president and CEO of the Detroit Lions, when he engineered the worst record in the history of the modern NFL (31-97). Nor does ESPN seem to watch any of Millen's inexplicable turns in the booth, where he spouts meaningless goofball stuff like a low-rent John Madden. Nope.

When it came to getting Millen's opinion of his former coach, Joe Paterno, in the wake of the Freeh Report ... well, let's just say that the network's traditional "car wash" treatment didn't go well. From Poynter, ESPN's current ombudsman, via the Detroit Free Press:

"We thought analyst and Penn State alum Matt Millen was miscast. His difficulty coming to grips with the implications of the Freeh report for Paterno's legacy and Penn State's culture was painful to watch. ...

"Although acknowledging that Paterno had flaws and made mistakes, Millen repeatedly tried to deflect blame to former Penn State president Graham Spanier, and he struggled to articulate his points."

Poynter went on to blame ESPN's producers significantly, saying that Millen was too close to the situation and hadn't had time to digest the report. Of course, what amount of time it would take a man who thinks there's a single safety in Cover-2 to digest a report as complicated as this is open to debate, but we agree. Blaming Millen for pooping all over himself when asked to be coherent on the fly is like blaming your toddler for his inability to drive your pickup truck.

Santonio Holmes, PR Director: According to the New York Jets receiver, if you want to cover his team, you'd best be on the right side. In a recent appearance on Dave Dameshek's NFL.com podcast, Holmes laid it all out for the ink-stained wretches who cover the Jets.

"Because (there's) not one day that we all step in that locker room and we try to break each other down, that we talk bad about the way that person played because it affects the team the way one person plays if they don't play to perfection.

"If the New York media wants to be a part of our team and wants to continue writing about us, write positive things, stay away from the negative because it doesn't do anything good for our team that you want to report all the negative things that happen and that's all you want to talk to us players about. We live for one thing and that's to play football and not to entertain you people in the media."

Well, given the amount of bad press Holmes has received through his career (most of it well-deserved), it's not surprising that he would feel that way. But here's the thing, my friend -- we're not your teammates. It's our job to report what you do (both good and bad) as objectively as possible, and if we fail in that regard, you have every right to take us to task -- just as we have every right (and a specific obligation) to note if you're acting like a jackass. That's how "we people" roll.

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