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00000176-770f-dc2f-ad76-7f0fad990000Monday at 5:44 pmEmail Sports at Large

Always A Sportswriter, Never A Jock

Ted Kerwin

Some athletes have recently turned their remarks towards sportswriters and commentators - asking if they're just nerds who sat the bench. 

For a lot of people, the twin lures of getting into sports are the linchpins of inclusiveness and togetherness, of joining forces with people unlike you and working towards a common goal.

Funny thing, though: For many, once they get into the huddle, the dugout, the locker room, a lot of folks aren’t so interested in letting in people they deem as outsiders.  

Take David Price, for instance.  As Orioles fans can attest, Price is a terrific young pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays.

He once won the American League Cy Young Award, emblematic of the best pitcher in the league, and he’s been a vital part of very successful Rays teams in recent seasons.

But after he lost recently in the American League Division Series to the Boston Red Sox, his fourth straight loss in a playoff start, Price displayed a less than inclusive attitude.

After he was asked by reporters about his performance and whether he thought he might be traded in the offseason, Price left the press conference mumbling quote, “Nice questions, nerds.”

But that wasn’t the end of it. Price apparently watched postgame television coverage in the clubhouse and heard former Major League pitcher Dirk Hayhurst and Sports Illustrated writer Tom Verducci say some less than complimentary words about his work.

That prompted Price to take to Twitter and fire off a tweet that quote “Dirk Hayhurst...COULDNT hack it...” and that Verducci quote “wasn't even a water boy in high school...but yet they can still bash a player...SAVE IT NERDS, unquote.

That brings us to former college and NFL player David Pollack and former Auburn football coach Pat Dye.

In a conversation on an ESPN college football pregame show, Pollack, who is an analyst for the channel, said that only those people who have played or coached football should be on a committee to determine who will play for the national championship next year.

When asked if that should eliminate women, Pollack said yes.

But then Dye doubled down on Pollack’s remarks. On a sports radio talk show, the 73-year-old offered that former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, rumored to be on the list to be on the aforementioned committee, didn’t quite have the, um, necessities.

Dye said, quote, All she knows about football is what somebody told her, unquote. Dye added that while Rice is probably a good statesman, quote “how in the hell does she know what it’s like out there when you can’t get your breath and it’s 110 degrees and the coach asks you to go some more?”

In effect, what Dye, Price and Pollack did was attempt to reduce the worth of thousands of sports writers and commentators with three little words, and they’re not I love you.

No, the words are ‘You never played’, and they’re a shot across the bow of such brilliant communicators as Vin Scully and Bob Costas and Jon Miller and Christine Brennan and Peter Gammons and Frank DeFord.

None of them know what it’s like to be in a locker room, but they’ve studied and sharpened their critical eye to earn your respect if not that of the coaches and players they cover.