The NFL Officials That Were Openly Making Fun Of The Cleveland Browns At The Combine Need To Grow Up
PFT- New Browns chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta is new to the NFL. He’s a former Major League Baseball general manager who also played a role in making the “Moneyball” approach popular with the Oakland A’s, and in his lone public appearance since joining the Browns he talked a lot about things like processes and shared vision.
If it seems like a stretch to think the Browns can turn things around with analytics driving those processes and a bunch of Harvard guys in brand new roles, you’re not alone. While leaving last month’s NFL Scouting Combine DePodesta said he heard officials from other teams mocking him, not knowing he was standing near them at the Indianapolis Airport.
“I was standing right in front of them in line and I could hear them in back of me and they were talking trash about me and the Cleveland Browns,” DePodesta said last week at the annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. “I said, ‘All right, this is like 17 years ago in Oakland all over again.’ That’s part of the fun.”
There aren't many moments that I look back on in life and say "Jesus, that was really mean, what the hell was I thinking?". That's partly because I have very little shame, but it's mostly because I don't regret saying something over the line as long as it's funny. With that said, I vividly remember having an extensive talk with my 6th grade teacher after I saw that Art - the Jewish kid in class who had very little friends - had a birthday that fell on Christmas, and I proceeded to blurt out "what is he fucking retarded?". That's one I wish I could have back. Mostly because it was completely nonsensical and not really all that funny, but also because it was just flat out mean spirited. Art didn't deserve that. It wasn't his fault his parents didn't believe in God yet conceived him 9 months before Jesus' birthday, and then - to top it all off - decided to name him Art. Kid was given no chance to fit in due - almost entirely - to negligent parenting.
I liken that situation to a bunch of NFL officials running around the combine openly trashing the Cleveland Browns front office for hiring a baseball guy to try to fix a defunct football franchise with analytics. It's not funny. It's just mean. It's not Paul DePodesta's fault the Browns believed in his approach even though it has never been instituted in the sport in which they participate. He didn't hire himself. He got put in this position by a negligent owner that's literally willing to try anything his franchise hasn't already failed at. If we are being honest, they were kind of running low on options. That doesn't mean I think they made the right decision by putting a former MLB GM in a position to get openly mocked by his newfound peers, but I have a much bigger problem with the people doing the mocking when the target is that vulnerable. If a joke seems too easy and you haven't already heard it then it means that everyone is already thinking it and it goes without saying. These NFL front office members should be ashamed of the fact that they have the comedic filter of a 6th grader, and the candor of a Tourette's patient in 'Public Speaking'.
Hey wait, why are YOU laughing, too?!?