Troy Aikman didn’t respond to an email asking if he wants to further comment, or clarify, his commentary that sent Twitter and social media into its latest rage.
Selfishly, he would have been great if he did respond.
Professionally, he shouldn’t.
He doesn’t need to waste his time, nor does his employer, ESPN, sending out some response, or, worse, issue an apology.
There are instances when a comment, and or apology, are in order. This is not one of those instances.
Don’t say anything.
Do your job, and just keep moving.
On Monday night during ESPN’s broadcast of the Las Vegas Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs game, Aikman took aim at the NFL officials’ collective inability to navigate the mathematical impossibility of identifying the proper way to sack a quarterback correctly.
Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones strip-sacked Vegas quarterback Derek Carr; Jones recovered from the fumble before Carr even fell down. Jones was penalized 15 yards for roughing the passer, when even the slowest of replays showed he was guilty of committing the unpardonable sin of falling down on Carr.
Aikman, who during his career was a proponent of rules to protect the quarterback, did what he is paid to do and offers an honest assessment of the current state of NFL officiating about this matter.
“My hope is the [NFL] Competition Committee looks at this in the next set of meetings,” he said during the telecast, “and you know, we take the dresses off.”
Whatever the language, the message is right.
The over reaction is not.
In the NFL’s attempt to make its inherently violent game safe, the direction of roughing the passer penalties will soon require a Supreme Court ruling after every sack.
Even as Aikman said it, a lot of people won. Some of us laughed. Some of us, the comment didn’t register.
And then there were the others. “The Others” who immediately took to their social media accounts and platforms to let out their individual misplaced rage.
The type of rage that is enabled by the veil of protection offered by the Internet; these people would never say some of the things to Troy Aikman’s face.
The Others are the ones who often dictate policy, influence countless decisions, and have terrified millions of people all over the world.
The Others are the reason why “Twitter Reaction” stories often flood news outlet’s websites. People drink these 188 oz. cups of nothing as if it’s water in the middle of the Sahara.
Sometimes, The Others are correct, and influence a type of change that is long overdue.
All too often The Others are nothing more than trash bags of air that gives credence of the exaggerated existence of “Cancel Culture.”
Could Aikman have selected a better sentence to describe his feelings about the NFL’s gradual evolution to two-hand touch football around their $40 million quarterbacks?
Do Aikman’s comments mean he’s a sexist, misogynistic pig who believes all women belong in a kitchen taking care of babies with a frying pan in their right hand and a broom in their left?
Of course it doesn’t.
It’s a hot mic’ during a live telecast. It’s amazing these sorts of things don’t happen even more often.
Put anyone around a hot mic’ and they will eventually say something they’d like to re-phrase, take back, or delete.
If you believe the unabashed anger spewing from The Others on platforms, Troy should at least be sent to timeout and extensive “language therapy.”
Writer Chuck Modi from Deadspin Tweeted in response, “Troy Aikman really needs to find a non-misogynistic way to critique the call besides ‘take the dresses off’. And I say this as someone who heard this misogyny normalized by coaches as a kid & even participated myself. Way past time to end such sports talk.”
Rick Telander, sports columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times, Tweeted, “Oh boy, Troy. Aikman says on MNF what coaches say (or used to say) all the time—that is, complaining about roughness is a female ‘dress’ thing.”
These are but two. There thousands just like it.
“Troy Aikman wife” and “Troy Aikman dresses” are the top two word choices on Google when you type in the Hall of Fame quarterback’s name.
Some of this outrage is as a result of today’s current (broken) media paradigm; the sad part of this evolution is that the best way to be heard in a 24/7 world is through rage, anger and furor (guilty as charged, your honor).
This is what audiences want, even if they hate it.
People spend too much time expressing anger about sentence fragments rather than real issues.
Troy Aikman’s dated description is not a real issue, and doesn’t necessitate acknowledging an argument he will never win.