Tbough I’m mostly in agreement with Ted Berg that the NFL Draft is a far less interesting televised spectacle than say, actual baseball or basketball games that count for something, I did watch some of ESPN’s coverage from Radio City last night. Other than Roger Goodell failing to hush a mob chanting “we want football” (“so do we, fellas” countered a flustered Goodell) the other made-for-TV talking point involved Suzy Kolber’s not-so-cunning stunt when interrogating former Heisman winner / New Orleans’ first round pick, RB Mark Ingram. Though it might’ve been more appropriate to show Reggie Bush breaking down in tears, it was his projected replacement who wept on camera, a scene that struck Jeff Pearlman as “emotional manipulation”.
You greet Ingram with a letter from his incarcerated father. You read it for the millions watching—a personal moment turned public. He cries. And cries. And cries some more. In the ESPN production booth, everyone cheers. What raw emotion! What spur-of-the-moment grittiness! Great job, Kolber! Great job!
But it’s not a great job. You don’t spring this sort of letter upon a 21-year-old kid on national TV. It might make for great viewing, but it’s dishonest, dishonorable and wrong. This is the life he’s been handed—a father behind bars; trying to overcome that and somehow get past it.
He should be celebrated. Not exploited.