Wasn’t the first day of Phase Three OTAs just glorious? There were positive sentiments coming from all over. Cam Heyward and Ramon Foster were putting things in perspective and imploring all of us to talk about who was here, not who wasn’t. Ben Roehtlisberger had finally spoken and things seemed to be so much better. But in an effort however to get a soundbite or re-kindle those ‘dramatic moments of the last five months’ the media may not have gotten the message.
While interviewing JuJu Smith-Schuster today, The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly tweeted the following.
JuJu Smith-Schuster took the high road with most of his comments today but toss, IMO, a little dart at Antonio Brown: "I will take 5 catches for 30 yards and win the game than have 10 catches, two touchdowns."
— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) May 22, 2019
Now to be really fair to Kaboly, he clearly states here that it is his opinion that JuJu is taking a shot at Antonio Brown with his comment. Everyone is entitled to their own form of perception and if that’s how Kaboly perceived JuJu’s comment then so be it. To many, the comment was just about a guy suggesting he was doing whatever he needed to do to win football games stats or no stats. But that’s the problem with perception. Everyone hears or sees the same thing but can have a completely different take on what they’ve heard or seen.
Case in point is Steelers’ linebacker Bud Dupree who had no love for Kaboly’s opinion.
Here u go tryna start beef fat boy leave the past alone
— Big Bud (@Bud_Dupree) May 22, 2019
Some will interpret Bud’s tweet as coming to the defense of another player or will see it as coming to the defense of the team in general. There’s also a third side here that has suggested that Dupree just say nothing at all and I tend to agree but I’m the last guy who will shut down anyone else’s right to speak.
For the last 24 hours we’ve heard about how this team is different. The locker room is different. There’s a more positive vibe coming from the team in general and I take Dupree’s comment as “don’t come in here looking to shake things up.” What Dupree has to remember however is that the media is no longer the media we once knew. This is a media that doesn’t just report news, it wants to help create and shape the news too. It uses social media as well if not better than the players do in an effort to sell papers and more importantly these days, clicks.
Whether or not Kaboly was trolling for a reaction from someone may not ever be known but let it be a lesson to the Steelers and their locker room. The ‘Team Turmoil’ moniker isn’t going to leave unless they can prove it’s already gone. There are some who will appreciate Dupree trying to further the positive attitude with his tweet and there are others who will simply see it as another sign that the Steelers really haven’t changed anything.
For their part, the media doesn’t care if the Steelers have improved and made their locker room a better place any more than they care if the team wins or loses. The media wants stories whether they have to report on them or create some of their own.