Addressing the Kosar Controversy

An apology for my tweet—and answering your questions about the voice of fans and the Friday Game Plan

GREEN BAY — Before I field your questions about football and The MMQB, a few words about a controversy that came up over the weekend that fired up Twitter and put Bernie Kosar in the headlines again.

Last Thursday, as an analyst for the Browns’ TV crew in the St. Louis-Cleveland preseason game, Kosar called the Rams’ receivers “horrible.’’ That included Tavon Austin, the top receiver picked in the 2013 draft, who was taking an NFL field for the first time. Kosar said their parents “would be embarrassed’’ if they were watching the game. Kosar ridiculed Rams backup QB Kellen Clemens, following up a comment by his play-by-play man about Clemens meeting the Pope by saying, “Bless me Father for I have sinned. I have to watch him the whole fourth quarter.”

I was at the Rams’ headquarters Saturday on my tour of training camps, but I didn’t hear about the story till the evening, when The MMQB team was en route to the next stop, Kansas City. I found Kosar’s comments to be over the top—very surprising for a former NFL quarterback who was watching the first preseason game. Saying the parents of the players would be embarrassed if they were watching? And the religion reference? I thought it was wrong. And so I tweeted, “My question for Kosar after comments in Cle-STL preseason game: Were you drinking? Good guy. But waaay over the top here.”

I was trying to be funny in an unfunny situation. Of course, I didn’t think Kosar had been drinking. It was hyperbole. I should have just said, “What were you thinking?”

On Sunday, the Browns stated that they “don’t condone the personal and unprofessional approach’’ Kosar used in the game. Kosar called Rams coach Jeff Fisher and apologized for what he’d said.

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Peter King can be reached by emailing:

talkback@themmqb.com

I thought it was over—but the Twitterverse didn’t. You slammed me for asking Kosar the drinking question, for being Fisher’s lackey, for having the same agent (Marvin Demoff) as Fisher. My first reaction was: Kosar’s the one who erred here. I’ll be damned if I’ll admit I was wrong. But after being off the grid for most of Monday at Vikings’ camp, the more I thought about it, the more I started thinking I was just as wrong for jumping on Kosar with a bad joke that some would take as me accusing him of drinking during the game. And so, Monday evening, I tweeted that I was wrong for an insensitive tweet—and I was. No excuses. I could have been critical of Kosar without being crass. Altogether my fault.

There are scores on Twitter who wanted their pound of flesh from me even after I said I was wrong, which is their right. The bile was subhuman, but I think overall Twitter served a good purpose here. It was right that so many of you who read me and follow me called me out on this; in the old days, pre-social media, I’d likely have forgotten about it. You didn’t let me. It’s good that we have our readers/followers/listeners to remind us that we ultimately are reporting and opining for them. None of that should change the stories we report, but hall monitors can be good when our opinions cross the line.

About my relationship with the Rams: This is the third time I’ve written about this, and as I’ve said in the past, it’s your right to stop reading me or following me if you’re offended by the fact that I have the same agent as Jeff Fisher … and the agent, Marvin Demoff, is the father of Rams COO Kevin Demoff. I’m not the only one in the business with an agent who also represents people in football. And I don’t apologize for it. For those who think Fisher had something to do with my tweet about Kosar, he didn’t; we never spoke about it, and still haven’t. If you think it colors my judgment when it comes to criticizing or not criticizing people such as Fisher, that’s your right. I believe in being up front with you when there’s an issue like this, and I’ll continue to be that way.

Now, for your feedback.

WELL, AREN’T YOU NICE
Wanted to sincerely thank the whole TheMMQB.com team for its tireless efforts in making this website truly one-of-a-kind. In Peter’s Tuesday mailbag column, many of the readers gave glowing reports yet still found fault with certain aspects of the website itself. Unfortunately, this is a microcosm of our society as a whole. We don’t want to spend the extra five seconds scrolling down to an article we haven’t read yet—we want it to be posted front and center. Your website contains a plethora of articles and insights which aren’t available anywhere else—yet readers complain about the growing number of articles. I could go on and on. You guys have done a fantastic job in disseminating information from all aspects and facets of the game. In many people’s eyes, the website will never be perfect—they will continue having to spend that extra precious seconds of browsing time. But what should overshadow all of that is the product available to us, made possible through hard work and dedication. Thanks for all your continued efforts.
—John

All I can say is thanks—and we’re going to work to continue to try to earn your readership and your trust.

NICE II
Wow! I am absolutely blown away at the vast amount of content in The MMQB. Your column has always been my favorite part of SI and now it is an embarrassment of riches! I used to have to visit multiple sites for interesting articles and scour for hours to find the kind of content you have in one place. As I write to you, I am looking at 20 pages of content to help me through my early AM workout. I was actually excited to get in the treadmill this morning. (My wife and cardiologist thank you.) Thank you, and keep up the great work, excellent and interesting insight and superb human interest stories.
—B.J.

Thanks again. I need to get on that treadmill next to you.

VOICE OF THE FAN
Just reading the list of column titles for the new site. Sounds like you have everything covered but the fan. How about a column from a fan’s perspective? Maybe hold an open contest to find one or two columnists—maybe one diehard and one more casual fan—and let them give a different perspective. Might be fun!
—Chris

We’re a work in progress, Chris, and we’ve been thinking about a couple of stories from fans’ points of view. Thanks for reinforcing that you want to read it.

THE KOSAR FALLOUT
Consider myself a long-time reader no more. Your ill-informed and inappropriate tweet regarding Bernie Kosar was a total ESPN move, one founded on speculation in order to draw attention to yourself (and let me guess: get more followers, right?). You’re a journalist, not a gossip columnist. Way to insert yourself into a story that has nothing to do you. Journalism 101, apparently. Shame on you.
—David

My Tweet had nothing to do with speculation. It had to do with trying to be funny. I wasn’t, and I apologize for it.

FRIDAY GAME PLAN WILL LIVE
I’ve been a loyal reader of MMQB for the past decade and love the job you’ve all done with the new site. Question for Peter: Will you still be doing the game plan article on Fridays during the season? Thanks and keep up the great work everyone!
—Sandro

I will, Sandro. It will start on Friday, Sept. 6. And thanks for your kind words.

90 comments
chendaddy
chendaddy like.author.displayName 1 Like

Huh? Did I miss the memo that told us to start caring what sanctimonious morons on Twitter think now?

Does Kosar have a history of alcohol abuse? Then who the hell cares?

Dana2
Dana2

Try picking up this cool new device they call a "telephone" and apologize like a man,

instead of "tweeting" for your sycophants, you fat skunk.


I'm so tired of Peter King I could puke.  Of course, puking is analogue, so I guess I'll tweet instead.

I'm through reading this so-called column, which lately is nothing more than an exercise in peter king's ego and taste in beer.

RogerMcCray
RogerMcCray

@Dana2 And here you are reading Peter King, if you stopped reading him maybe you'd stop feeling nauseous.

Sam9
Sam9 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Lost in all this non-story is the fact that Kosar was 100% accurate... this isn't youth football, PK. The fact is the Rams recievers DID look horrible, I would also question what the coach has been doing, their route running was laughably bad, their timing with the QB off, and they were totally unprepared for the game. Kosar called them on it, and Fisher and King responded with personal attacks and tears. 

Can anyone explain what Kosar said which was actually off base? These are not children, these are professional athletes... he was critical, but he was 100% fair, and accurate. When did accurate NFL commentary start needing to take a back seat to the "everyone, even people who are failing, should be told they are doing great.. as to not hurt their feelings"

scarbarough
scarbarough like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Sam9 You don't see any difference between what you wrote (accurate and negative) and saying that their parents should be embarrassed, that he'd list his watching them as a sin to the pope? If you don't, then why the hell would you have a problem with what King tweeted and what Fisher said? 

MarkRome
MarkRome like.author.displayName 1 Like

I find it amusing that we have to apologize when we point out someone was drinking when they did something stupid. There is a need to be sensitive to situations but we have gone well beyond reason with it. Drunk people do stupid things, what the question to ask might be is why anyone takes it all so seriously. It ain't like none of us has never done something stupid drunk, and it's not like none of us has never made or laughed at a joke when someone does something stupid when drunk. I think it's funny. Really who cares what Kosar thinks anyway?

Sam9
Sam9

@MarkRome What did he do that was stupid? Criticized a very poor performing Rams WR core? The people who are overly sensative are the ones up in arms that he would DARE say something negative. The fact is, the RAms WRs looked horribly unprepared to play football at game speed. Their route running was bad, the timing with Bradford was horrible. 

The applogy from King stems more from King (and Fisher for that matter) taking what were football remarks about the play of Rams back ups and instead of address what were valid football arguements (maybe wraped in some colorful comments.. but still solely about football) and they both Fisher and King chose to respond like classless boobs with personal attacks, neither one of them STILL have addressed or commented on what Kosar actually said, instead of this faux outrage that someone would DARE say something negative about poor performing football players

ominae
ominae like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I am amazed at the attention this non-story is getting. From the comments you can tell many of the people criticizing Kosar didn't even watch the game. His criticism was harsh but fair and it was given based on what they did on the field. When someone screwed up he said so, and when they did something right, again, he said so. And, most importantly, he did it for both teams. Those accusing him of being a "homer" are completely off base. 

Kosar isn't perfect, but he knows football and he breaks down plays (before and after the snap) as well as any of the network guys you'll see this season. You never feel like he's going easy on a guy like you do with the normal network drones. 

BrenConlanMMA
BrenConlanMMA

Pure class from PK in response to the trollish responses on Twitter. One of the many reasons he's one of the best in the biz.


YaskY
YaskY like.author.displayName 1 Like

The only thing you need to apologize for is this article. It"s called "MAILBAG" not APOLOGY BAG". 90% of the column was wasted with your apology and repeat of the story, leaving no room for readers letters, the whole point of the column.

lawrence.latham
lawrence.latham

To anyone that didn't like your tweet about Kosar: Screw Off.  You comment was perfect, on the mark.  No one reads bland.  You start writing the equivalent of bland baby food no one will read it.  Just anonymous jerks with nothing better to do. 

Chief Wahoo
Chief Wahoo like.author.displayName 1 Like

Peter

Be a man and CALL Bernie to apologize, like he did to your buddy Fisher. Anyone can tweet a message. Trying to temper your comment as a poor joke is lame.

dickhouse5
dickhouse5

@Chief WahooGet over yourself.  I don't get why it's so hip to tear someone down for something they say nowadays.  If you followed writers from a generation ago, like Will McDonough, and felt/acted the same way you are about this...your.  head.  would.  explode.  

sportswinner
sportswinner like.author.displayName 1 Like

Lesson here is:  no twitter, no controversy.  

Chastaen
Chastaen like.author.displayName 1 Like

It sounds like Peter King and Jeffy Fisher think that the NFL is more like youth football, where you refrain from commenting when a receiver drops a ball that was in his hands. Yet we have to see the camera pan over to poor Sam Bradford, sitting on the bench eating his orange slice and wishing for a different set of kids to play with.

Patriots420
Patriots420

You have nothing to apologize for, the only outrage is coming from Browns fans trying to have their no account heroes back. It's pretty telling that this is the guy Browns fans look to as the town sports after Jim Brown. I would say good riddance to the whining people threatening to stop reading your articles from now on because of this.

C19
C19 like.author.displayName 1 Like

What would people do without their phony outrage?

GunnerShots
GunnerShots like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

This is a non-issue that became an issue. Nothing should have been made of Bernie's comments. The fact that Joe Banner came out not supporting Bernie shows that he's a gutless man to work for.

therealz
therealz like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Anyone listening to Kosar was probably thinking the same thing.  Anyone who had any criticism needs to get off of their high horse and accept that it was just a normal comment in this day and age, no apology necessary.

BrownieDog
BrownieDog like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Are there any other fans out there who are Really Tired of ultra-sensitivity in sports coverage? I mean Really.

All this mega-vitriol about comments and commentary and opinions. Such self-important arrogance resides in "the need to be heard" on every last possible issue -- no shrugs and "movin' on" spirit to be found anywhere amongst the limelight grabbers. YIKES.

All the more I appreciate Terry Pluto, a fine example of a man, a person, and a balanced, dedicated sports writer who demonstrates great ideals.

RayHuggyBearYoung
RayHuggyBearYoung

You fully addressed the stupid twitter stuff then you give one of the few questions answered another twitter hater?  

MichaelHolian
MichaelHolian

WHEN kOSAR JOKES YOU QUESTION IF HE'S DRUNK BUT ITS ALRIGHT FOR YOU TO JOKE?

ClintN34
ClintN34

I think this is now a closed subject.  I came at Peter for 2 days on Twitter and I think this is a true apology and Kosar apologized.  It took a lot to use this forum to admit mistakes were made.  Lets all now let it go and get back to the one thing that matters...FOOTBALL!

rainman90
rainman90 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@ClintN34 "I came at Peter for 2 days on Twitter"

What an excellent use of your time.

mystafugee
mystafugee

Although I still think King behaves too much like an NFL lackey, I'll give him credit for acknowledging the controversy and tackling it  head on. 

Shane Mac
Shane Mac like.author.displayName 1 Like

Peter - Why didn't you just use the tried and true format for your unapologetic apology - "If I have offended anyone with my comments, I apologize" ?  Your second paragraph still looks like you haven't listened to the context of the Kosar comments during the game - you're just parroting what you wrote yesterday as an excuse to opine your dislike towards Bernie.  And I don't believe for a second that while you were in St. Louis on Saturday, two days after the game, that you didn't hear about this controversy.  

And please change your simian-like column photo.  

CGGymDog
CGGymDog

There are a lot more important things to worry about in this world than one sports writer's comment about somebody else's stupid comment. 

CaCaCaCleveland
CaCaCaCleveland like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Hey, where is Steve Gleason so we can kick him in the balls while he is down? Apparently that is what we do now. Of course I will apologize after it....

ALS, Head injury, Parkinsons Disease....can we get someone to slap the crap out of Michael J Fox?

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

Hey Peter, 

What you need to apologize for is your lack of restraint.  What I am referring to is your lack of ability to write a column without uttering the words "Tim Tebow" or "Brett Farve" in one of them.  So far, you have been a huge failure when it comes to this.  Let's see if you have what it takes next MMQB column to avoid both of those pariahs.

YemiThaBassMan
YemiThaBassMan

@ProfessorGriff It's spelled "Favre". 

Favre is considered by many to be one of the great QBs to have ever played the game. Does he hold the interception record? Yes. He is also known as someone who comes to play. I was never a Green Bay fan, but the fact that Favre suited up, week-in and week-out, after taking vicious hits speaks to his character. 

People may not like Favre the person, but you can't discount Favre the football player. 

As far as Tebow goes...time will tell.

"Pariah" is a strong word. I do not think it means what you think it means. 

OK
OK

@YemiThaBassMan @ProfessorGriff  

Peter King is the NFL's Jim Gray for the White Quarterback and all things positive NFL.

Look at this column. The first two answers come from obedient readers who know their place and stroke King's ample ego, which outsizes even his sizable girth.

OK
OK

@Mike26  @YemiThaBassMan @ProfessorGriff 

Ditto, El Lardo, Buffalo Butt, The Obese Drug Addict, With Power on Loan from Big Pharma.

Shouldn't you be getting ready to marry Sandra Fluke? Or fly to the Dominican for some additional "consultations" with the free-market trade there that you have so often favored?

Retrievals1
Retrievals1

I wouldn't apologize to Kosar. He's the only one that needs to apologize. I listened to him in a rebroadcast and he sounded drunk or high to me. If Brown fans can't take heat, they should shut it themselves.

Shane Mac
Shane Mac like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Retrievals1 Did you listen to the entire re-broadcast?  Kosar was spot on and concise in his criticism of both teams.  The STL receivers did have a poor showing with a ton of drops and bad route-running.  He criticized his own QB Weeden and the first player to receive his ire was the Browns' TE Jordan Cameron.  He praised STL's Jeff Fisher and QB Sam Bradford.  Kosar does have the quasi mumbling voice of a punch drunk boxer in retirement.  There is a reason for that if you bothered to read Peter King's own words in his MMQB column and comments or know anything of the effect of repeated concussions on the human brain.  There is a question that someone with the malady should be a broadcaster but, after watching the entire re-broadcast of the game, I thought Kosar did a fine job.  The only things he has to apologize for are his personal remarks of distaste concerning QB Kellen Clemens.  

Chopper9_
Chopper9_ like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Retrievals1 Almost too stupid to reply but can't resist.  He's not drunk or high... Kosar has brain trauma from football you jag off, and as Fisher would say... they are "well documented" and he's getting treatment for it. http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2013/01/10/bernie-kosar-undergoing-treatment-for-brain-trauma/  If the BROWNS FANS CAN'T TAKE THE HEAT?!?  I'm sorry, who was it exactly that got their panties in a bunch because of some lighthearted and HONEST commentary to a worthless pre-season game?  

CaCaCaCleveland
CaCaCaCleveland

@Retrievals1 Would you say that to Steve Gleason who suffers from ALS? Believe it or not Kosar sounds much better this year than he has in years past from groundbreaking treatment for people with brain injuries. BTW...It's not alcohol that makes his voice slurred. His motor skills are impaired from all the hits he took as a football player. He does not have mental problems. He is sharp as a tack. His voice is stuck in monotone so when he is kidding or making a joke, it does not translate. Unfortunately you must listen to his exact words to cull the meaning. Quotes of what he said are inaccurate.

Chastaen
Chastaen like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@Retrievals1 Yet another great example of do as I say, not as I do. Nothing like people piping up to tell people to shut up if they dont like something to make it easier to find where our education dollars were wasted.

Retrievals1
Retrievals1

@Chastaen @Retrievals1 Stop your crying would you?

Chastaen
Chastaen like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

The amount of thought you put into your posts is staggering. Surely it must be nap time by now.

Maybe after you will post something intelligent, but Im not holding my breath.

scottybs0309
scottybs0309 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

First you premise your "apology" by stating all the negative things you have heard about Kosar's statements from your MMQB team on the way to KC. Did you actually listen to the broadcast or a facsimile there of, or were you basing this on hearsay? Then you state that it was a hyperbole to say that he was drinking and in the same sentence claim your were trying to be funny in an unfunny situation.  Therefore if it was a hyperbole (which exaggeration is used for emphasis or effect)  then you obviously thought he may be drinking and thought it funny to say, though not necessarily drunk. The final portion of your "apology" sounds like I am sorry BUT and you don't have to read MMQB BUT...Mr. King you can't honestly think this to be a sincere apology. Really it is just what you stated "I’ll be damned if I’ll admit I was wrong" but I will write something to appease my readership and get my bosses off my ass. (or should I say BUT)


Retrievals1
Retrievals1

@scottybs0309 What are you babbling about? Kosar is the creep in this story. If you think what he said for right and professional, you need to grow up and lay off the booze. Like Bernie does.

Chopper9_
Chopper9_ like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @Retrievals1  Another fine comeback.  Jesus, quit while your still in the rearview mirror.  

Mike26
Mike26

I was an early and constant critic on the column yesterday about the Kosar thing; kudos to PK for his mea culpa and being able to step back and understand others' viewpoints.  Good work PK!

eddie767
eddie767

If someone doesn't want to read PK's MMQB anymore,they're lying. They still associate w/family,friends after they've been lied to. He apologized,like Kosar,so stop being childish. Also,Kosar was told to do it PK wasn't so who's is more genuine? Like some alleged qb says "jesus still loves you".

GoodBySI
GoodBySI like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

Well, you failed again, King. You have no clue on what really happened.  I'm out of here. Never to come back to MMQB. Horrible journalism.

Mike26
Mike26

@GoodBySI No, he doesn't, but he came further than most expected when in reality he actually could have blown you off completely.

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