Mike Maccagnan is scheduled to address Jets fans on Wednesday via the reporters who will gather to hear him speak at 1 Jets Place.
Gee, thanks, Mikey Mac!
It is the least a general manager can do when his team’s playoff hopes are kaput, most of his highest-profile players are older than the Olsen twins and he has four quarterbacks, none of whom can be believed in at the moment.
But it would have been nice to hear from him sometime before the Jets were an irrelevant 3-7 and Thanksgiving was eight days away. It’s Nov. 16!!! Pitchers and catchers must be reporting any day now.
It’s not the GM’s fault the Jets have a late off week, delaying his only scheduled, annual, during-the-season availability to fans via the news media.
The fault lies in an underlying policy in which there are precious few times during the year when he talks publicly at all, part of an annoying trend in pro sports this decade.
I was reminded of that last week when former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi, a voice from a saner past (and a former sportswriter), spoke in advance of his Ring of Honor induction of a time when speaking to fans through reporters was part of his almost-daily routine.
“Look at the difference between what I did during my time where I talked to you guys (in the media) every day, which I thought was great,” Accorsi said. “George Young did it; I just followed up on it. Pete Rozelle, when he was commissioner, took every call.
“That’s the way it was and that way, to talk to you guys didn’t turn out to be an event. It was just a daily conversation. I liked it better that way. It was a much better situation for me. It was a situation I grew up in and I liked it. I would have trouble today.”
Accorsi, who retired in 2007, struggled even then with the early stages of the Internet’s effect on coverage, annoyed and sometimes angered that reporters would call to confirm or deny the latest message board rumor.
And that was pre-Twitter. Accorsi said he would want no part of the job in the current social media environment.
The late Young, who left the Giants in 1998, would be appalled. Most often his dining companions in the press box before games were . . . . reporters!
Given the changed media landscape, in which fake news and real news have become indistinguishable and/or irrelevant to many Americans, it is understandable sports executives of the 2010s are wary of daily interaction.
A big but, though: Head coaches/managers and players still speak publicly on a regular basis, even when questions they are being asked are more rightly the responsibility of a GM.
The most absurd recent example came during the Giants’ off week last month, when GM Jerry Reese made his only in-season media appearance and refused to answer questions about the departed placekicker Josh Brown.
For weeks, coach Ben McAdoo, every player from quarterback Eli Manning to backup guards and eventually team president John Mara had to answer questions about Brown in the wake of revelations about his history of domestic abuse.
Then it was Reese’s turn, and . . . nothing.
It wasn’t just an insult to fans; it was an insult to his coach and players, who had to answer for a signing that was not in their job descriptions.
Reese is back in his cone of silence now, and will remain there until after the season. Tomorrow Maccagnan will join him.
This sort of thing is not limited to football, by the way. While the two local baseball GMs – Brian Cashman and Sandy Alderson – speak to fans via the media regularly, we don’t hear enough from some of the guys running the local basketball and hockey teams.
Look, I get it: If Reese delivers a third Lombardi Trophy fans won’t care if he becomes a monk and never says a word again. Winning is everything. But that’s not the point. Accountability counts, too.
Just as fans hear from coaches and players, so they should get to hear from the suits on more than a scripted, tightly scheduled basis.
End of rant. See you in January, Mikey Mac!