If there’s one thing we can tell you for certain when it comes to NFL coaches and general managers, it’s this: they don’t like it when you question their decision-making.
Not for on-field stuff, not for personnel decisions, not for their choice of lunch.
But a good reporter knows it’s part of the job to ask those questions. Sometimes, a coach or GM won’t handle it too well.
Wednesday was one of those days.
‘Do me a favor and just kinda sit up’
Matt Patricia, who is in his first season as an NFL head coach with the Detroit Lions, met with media on Wednesday. On Tuesday, the Lions, who are 3-4 but only a game out of first place in the NFC North, traded their leading receiver, Golden Tate, to the Philadelphia Eagles, a team they could be battling for a wildcard playoff spot in the coming weeks.
In the video above, Patricia fields one question asking why the team traded one of its most productive players when it’s just a game out of the division lead.
He gave his answer, saying in part it wasn’t an easy decision to trade Tate, and that he has confidence in everybody on the team.
Then a second reporter, from the Detroit Free Press, asks, “Why do you think this move makes your franchise better?”
That’s when Patricia gets a little hostile.
“Ah, well, you know,” he starts, then gestures toward the reporter. “Do me a favor and just kinda sit up, just like, have a little respect for the process. Every day you come and ask me questions and you’re just kinda like, ‘gimme this’.”
The still-unnamed reporter says, “I’m sitting…”
Patricia interrupts, “I’m just asking you to just be a little respectful in this whole process. Ask me a question professionally and I’ll answer it.”
“Ok. That’s fine,” the reporter says, apparently now sitting in a Patricia-approved manner. “Why do you think this move makes your franchise better?”
And Patricia answers the question.
Trouble brewing already?
The exchange makes one wonder if there’s already something brewing between Patricia and at least some members of the media contingent that covers the Lions less than a year into his tenure.
We can’t see the reporter Patricia scolded, so it is possible that he was slumped down in his chair and giving a bad impression. Sports reporting, no matter how fun it appears from the outside, is a profession and the people we interview deserve our respect.
But there was a better way to handle this. There was almost certainly a member of the Lions’ PR staff in the room, and Patricia could have spoken to him or her and asked them to address the reporter privately, or Patricia could have spoken with him.
Snapping at the reporter from the podium as Patricia did – and every team live-streams these news conferences for anyone who want to watch – wasn’t professional either.
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