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Sports


Terry Pluto picks Haden's honesty over athletes' robotic answers
Pluto says Browns cornerback Joe Haden's teary post game interview gives Cleveland some honest emotion
by WKSU's AMANDA RABINOWITZ


Morning Edition Host
Amanda Rabinowitz
 
Browns cornerback Joe Haden gave up the game-winning touchdown to Cecil Shorts with :40 left against Jacksonville. http://www.cleveland.com/browns/
Courtesy of Joshua Gunter, The Plain Dealer
Download (WKSU Only)

Tears and profanity are more likely in the stands at a Browns game than among the players. But in the locker room after Sunday’s four-point loss to Jacksonville, it was Browns cornerback Joe Haden fighting back tears and swearing in a brief interview with reporters. He was frustrated after allowing Jacksonville’s Cecil Shorts to catch the game-winning touchdown with less than a minute left to play. WKSU commentator Terry Pluto talks about the attention and criticism following Haden's 90-second interview.

LISTEN: Terry Pluto on Joe Haden

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LISTEN: Terry Pluto on Ohio State and his beef with the BCS

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Understanding an athlete's job
Terry Pluto
notes that most of us do our jobs well out of the spotlight, but might understand Haden and others better if we thought about professional athletes in our worlds.

 “Suppose if you were in sales and you’d been working on this deal, and the deal fell apart right at the end because you forgot to turn a form in on time … and somebody shoved a microphone in your face 10 minutes after it happened.”

“Athletes for the most part, at least after games ... some are still in their underwear and being interviewed. And that’s why I am a lot more tolerant of things that kind of go crazy in the locker room. If I just had a bad meeting with my boss and somebody wanted interview me about it, I wouldn’t exactly sound like a graduate of the Harvard school of diplomacy at that point.”

Phasing out locker room interviews?
The locker room interviews have evolved over time, and the pressure on sports journalists to get something posted fast has grown.

Some teams, like the Miami Heat, are trying to control that by having the journalists wait for fully-dressed and composed athletes to come to an interview room.

“It’s kind of a calmer environment to avoid some of these things.”

A new concussion rule
And the NFL does keep reporters away from athletes who may have suffered concussions, a rule that stemmed from former Cleveland Browns quarterback Tim Couch.

“Tim Couch had a game against Baltimore and he really had a bad headache and he started to talk, and then cry and then they discovered he had a concussion. And then later on they discovered that kind of a reaction to a lot of lights and then stress after you have a concussion -- you kind of lose emotion. But it made Couch look weak and wimpy.”

Fearing public reaction
Overall, says Pluto, “Most times, with our jobs, we don’t know whether we won or lost each day. These guys do. And what they really want to say is, ‘I put all this work in, I’m trying, it just didn’t happen.’”

But they fear public reaction.

“I think football more than others because of the violent and physical nature of the sport, most of the guys shut down and they almost talk like robots… They don’t want to look like Joe Haden did because they’re afraid  people make fun of them.

But, adds Pluto, “there’s no reason to make fun of Joe Haden at all because you actually saw an honest emotion.”

Watch: Joe Haden's interview 


Related WKSU Stories

Another heartbreaker for the Browns
Monday, December 2, 2013

Terry Pluto on things he is thankful for
Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cleveland's unrequited quarterback love
Wednesday, November 20, 2013

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