Here’s a cautionary tale for all the broadcasters out there: It’s about Indianapolis Colts’ broadcaster Bob Lamey just crushing quarterback Peyton Manning off the air, which wouldn’t have been an issue, really, had a local Indianapolis radio station not played what he said on their air. (I don’t know if it was “inadvertently” played or “inadvertently” made available, the Indianapolis Star story on it could use some clarification.)
Having known Bob Lamey for many moons, I can tell you without question this was nothing more than the flip side of intense passion for something. There simply IS no one in our industry who cares more deeply for the team for which he broadcasts than Bob does. (Let’s put the wisdom of that aside for a second; yes, it’s homerism, that’s life, Bob’s too old to change now.)
Only something you deeply care about can move you to extremes of love and (at times) hatred. If you’ve ever had an argument with your wife, you know what I’m talking about.
The NFL has “figured Manning out?” Come on, that’s crazy talk. He’s been in the league 13 years, they figure people out before that. (And nobody wants to see Curtis Painter starting in the NFL. Not even Curtis Painter’s family. Nobody would suggest you bench Peyton Manning for Curtis Painter unless they were temporarily insane.) Manning is on the other side of thirty, he has no supporting cast and things happen. This was totally about frustration. Bob wants – and has always wanted – the Colts to win every game, either going away or in dramatic fashion and when they don’t, it’s the worst thing that’s ever happened.
Whether he should feel that way – or whether any of us should get to that point in our coverage of a team – isn’t my point. I personally can’t get THAT worked up about wins and losses, and if I had a Super Bowl ring, I’d probably be even less inclined to. But YMMV. Bob’s certainly does. You can call him whatever you like, but you can’t call him fake. What you hear is what you get.
I tell my students at ASU: If you make a living speaking into a microphone, always assume that sucker’s live and everybody can hear what you say. Not all of us have had long enough and impressive enough careers that we could survive ripping the star player of the team we work for.