Shutdown Corner - NFL

Chase showed us video last night of Detroit News columnist Rob Parker asking Lions head coach Rod Marinelli if he wished his "daughter had married a better defensive coordinator" (Joe Barry is the Lions defensive coordinator, and he's married to Marinelli's daughter).

Parker was pasted by everyone on the FOX panel for the seemingly personal, tacky, and mean-spirited question. So it's only fair that he gets a chance to defend himself, and he happens to have a platform to do so. He wrote about it in this morning's Detroit News.

Apparently, the problem is that no one understands the relationship that Parker has with Marinelli, which is based on a deep mutual respect. Here are some snippets from the column.

Rod Marinelli and I have a different relationship.

On the surface, you might think it's adversarial. He hates me and I hate him. In reality, it's one built on mutual respect.

I respect what Marinelli is trying to accomplish as Lions coach, and he respects what I do as a sports columnist -- ask questions, tough ones, to get at the root of his team's woes.

Sounds good.

Sunday, with my attempt at humor, I was trying to get Marinelli to lighten up, have some fun after a rough day.

Who knows, Marinelli, a straight shooter who never goes off script, might actually have given us a funny quote.

He didn't. My attempt failed.

And because of that, my attempt at humor may have seemed slighted, cruel, and even insensitive.

For that, I apologize.

Oh, it was an attempt at humor. I didn't realize that. With the way that Parker has absolutely hammered Marinelli all-season long, I think anyone could be forgiven if they didn't realize that Parker suddenly morphed into Dom Irrera.

The textbook non-apology should be noted, too. He apologizes, not for what he said, but for how it seemed. See, it's your fault for taking it the wrong way.

The Lions hung in against the Colts, and I wasn't just going to make a scene with hard questions just to make a scene. I'm not that kind of reporter. I want Marinelli to open up and share his thoughts.

But there's more to our relationship.

Marinelli has gone out of his way several times to offer words of encouragement. A month or so ago, he called me on my cell phone and told me I was one of the best at asking questions and that I shouldn't change because I hit a bump in the road.

It told me about the respect he has for me. I believe he knows I respect him as well.

Here's one thing we've all learned about Rod Marinelli this year: He always, always takes the high road. The guy's not an idiot. It's not like he hasn't noticed that he has some bad players. But as long as his team is trying, he's not going to bury them in the media. He's not going to call anyone out.

About a million times this year, it would've been easy and understandable for Rod Marinelli to take the podium and say some player made a dumb play, or someone cost them a game. But he won't do it.

Yesterday, he had a perfect opportunity to call out a columnist who's been pretty hard on him all year, and again, he didn't do it. He ignored it and moved on. Maybe it was because of the respect he has for the guy. Or maybe it was just because he always, always takes the high road.

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