Received Wisdom

November 18, 2010
Posted by Jay Livingston

Athletes can be refreshingly honest – refreshing if you’re used to listening to interviews with politicans, celebrities, or other types who worry about their popularity. I remember Charlie Rose asking Reggie Miller some tough questions (this was a few years ago when Miller was still playing for the Pacers). They were the kinds of questions I expected would get either evasive, vague answers or the usual received-wisdom cliches. But Miller was informative, and he said what he thought.

Derrick Mason is a wide receiver, and a good one, for the Baltimore Ravens. Before that he was with the Titans. Last week, in an interview for the Baltimore Sun, he refused to shovel the usual feel-good drivel.

The question was about sports journalists who “write stories about how the success of a professional sports franchise can uplift a city, and inspire its residents in difficult times.”

Here, in part, is Mason’s answer:
I don't think there is any truth to it. When you're winning, honestly, people are excited. But it's not going to do any good for jobs. It's not going to bring General Motors, Chrysler and Ford back. . . .Even in New Orleans. People said when the Saints won the Super Bowl it would regenerate the economy down there in the city. For a time being, it did help the city. But New Orleans is still in the same situation . . . That uplifting is gone.
If Mason is as sharp on the field this Sunday as he was in the Sun last week, I’d take the Ravens and lay the ten points, broken pinky and all. (Besides, the Panthers have covered at home only once this season; they haven’t covered much on the road either.)

He also has some nice things to say about Nashville. Full interview is here.

HT: Dennis Coates.

UPDATE Saturday morning: The betting public seems to have drawn similar conclusions from this interview. Eighty percent of the action in this game is on the Ravens, and the bookies have moved the line up to 11 or 11 ½. Given my contrarian tendencies (see earlier post and links here), I should stay away from this one or even fade the Ravens.
UPDATE II. The Ravens won 37-13, covering the spread thanks to two late defensive TDs. Mason caught three passes for 42 yards.

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