Of Martin Rogers
FOX Sport columnist
Perhaps Kyler Murray believed what he was saying. Maybe he was really angry and frustrated, not al Arizona cardinalsbut from us.
Maybe he was angry with people like me, who write, report and comment on important events in the NFL. Things like, ooh, I don’t know, a franchise that trusts a quarterback enough to give him $ 230.5 million but at the same time puts a “please do your homework” clause in the deal.
Maybe he’s angry at people like you, who intelligently and rationally absorb news leaking from the league’s inner workings during the off-season and make the entirely reasonable assumption that the Cardinals’ “independent study” subsection was the most bizarre condition that you’ve ever heard of.
Kyler Murray and Trey Lance Top Broussard’s Under Duress List | STARTING FROM THE BEGINNING
Watch to see who is under duress this week.
“To think that I can accomplish everything I’ve accomplished in my career and not be a student of the game?” Murray said Thursday, stepping onto the podium for an impromptu media session. “Don’t have that passion, don’t take it seriously, it’s almost … it’s disrespectful and it’s almost a joke.”
All right, Kyler. Totally disrespectful. A total joke.
Just one problem. The idea that something might go wrong came because of a reason and from a single source. Your employer. And, because of them, the joke was all about you, at the very moment you were given financial proof to back up your status as one of the best QBs in football.
Sure, Arizona made a belated attempt to go back on Thursday, removing the study condition from the contract and publicizing the fact that it was doing so. Too late. Too late to repair the damage. Too late to keep the most positive news of the summer about the organization from turning into a PR calamity.
Raise your hand if you’ve watched Murray’s game for the past two seasons and whispered under your breath, “hmm, there’s a guy who doesn’t study hard enough.” No.
Raise your hand if you believed Murray was anything other than a pioneering underpowered caller who, at his best, is truly exhilarating to watch. I didn’t think so.
Speak up now if you also hear a contract that will make it second–the highest paid player in the history of the sport (by annual salary) was too much. No, neither do I.
This is the level of respect Murray has from the football public, which is why his anger – totally rational and understandable, mind you – was directed at the wrong target.
There are things that are the fault of the media. This is not one of them. There are times when football fans misinterpret a situation and take an unfair stance against a player, unfairly setting his reputation. Not here.
It is the fault of the cardinals.
“This is a sign of a non-serious organization,” said FS1’s Nick Wright in “First Things First”. “The fact that we now know they didn’t anticipate this reaction just shows that they are not a serious organization. I think this will be something that will be a storyline for the Cardinals throughout the year and, unfortunately, it could follow Kyler further.”
Cardinals Go Back to Kyler Murray’s “Homework Clause” | STARTING FROM THE BEGINNING
An unannounced presser for the Arizona Cardinals saw Kyler Murray defend his place as one of the league’s top QBs after an independent study clause challenged his attention.
If Arizona was concerned about Murray’s study habits, $ 46 million a year is a fun way to prove it. Okay, whatever, this is the market, and he wouldn’t have signed for less. But if they wanted more reassurance that he would leave no stone unturned in his mental and tactical preparation, that was not the way.
How would they enforce it? Then there were the embarrassing details that surfaced, like Murray, as a naughty teen, was not allowed to have the TV on or play video games at the same time as he was studying. What would the Cardinals do, hire a couple of spies to intercept his living room and hotel suite?
This is all very unfortunate, and if anything, the removal of the clause on Thursday simply kept the issue in the news cycle for a little longer.
Murray is right. We should talk about how he was a number 1 pick in the 5-foot-10 draft. And how no one has faster feet and better climbs. How he is a current and future face of the championship, how he led Arizona 7-0 at the beginning of last season and how he is only 24, for heaven’s sake, and will be swimming in well-deserved money.
But we are not. Instead we spent a whole column and football spent practically a whole week talking about studio and video games and a joke in a contract, which is ridiculous and absurd and a storyline that would have belonged to one of those spiteful parody Twitter accounts until when, you know, it really happened.
Murray deserves better. This is the shame. This is the maddening part of it all. This is Kyler Murray’s current curse.
There is no way to put this back in the box, not for quite a while. All it can really do is go ahead and try to use the ruckus as motivation.
This is probably why his criticisms were leveled that way, because it might be hard to use a comically stupid storyline as mental fuel at best.
Especially when those who have the most to gain from your efforts are the same people who created the whole nonsense in the first place.
Martin Rogers is a FOX Sports columnist and author of the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Yyou can subscribe to the daily newsletter here.
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