When asked about the attention Harper’s actions receive, the Nats third baseman had this to say:
“I think some of it’s a little unfair. The things that he had done, that everyone makes such a big deal about, happen every single day with every single team, pretty much. Maybe not the pine tar thing or whatever, the clown question thing or whatever that is, but reporters ask people questions all the time and they just say, ‘No thanks,’ or ‘Are you serious? Why would I answer that question?’ and that doesn’t get put on Sports Center or get ridiculed on every sports talk show.”
Perhaps Zimmerman has misunderstood us all. Clown Question didn’t become a phenomenon because people were making fun of Harper. It was a quirky line uttered at a perfect moment by one of baseball’s biggest stars. It was destined for greatness from the beginning.
Zimmerman, clearly annoyed by the increasing media access to players, had a little “get off my lawn” moment. (Worth noting: Ryan Zimmerman is 27 years old.)
“I think that’s this day and age in sports,” he continued. “When I came up and I was 20 years old, nobody had Twitter and millions of people who have no business writing about sports can’t have a blog that has millions of followers and they get to write about whatever they want about anyone without any professionalism and training in what they’re doing. So, it is what it is. It’s made our game better, it’s made sports better. A lot more people are interested in sports now because of how interactive Twitter and things are. But at the same time, it puts players in positions where they’re a lot easier to be exposed. It’s a lot easier to be exposed by a lot of people who don’t have the intelligence or the training that should be exposing athletes.”
I can’t speak for other media outlets, but we here at the Bog use the utmost professionalism when dealing with athletes and their erotic reading tendencies. And we receive extensive training before being allowed to handle sensitive issues such as athletes drinking Blue Moon and passing out. And we certainly exercise some intelligence when reporting that your teammates are making fun of people’s hair and asking for dates on Twitter.
I guess my point is, if you don’t say it to someone holding a recorder or on camera or through very public social media, then you don’t have to worry about people who lack intelligence being able to write about it.
It’s a good thing to remember, whether you’re a spry 19 year old or the ripe old age of 27.
Full interview audio: