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The Sideline Observer

Sports and Culture Commentary

ESPN vs. Derek Carr

The faces behind ESPN’s First Take, Max Kellerman and Stephen A. Smith are currently beefing with Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr. This type of stuff is nothing new to Stephen A., as he has gone at it with professional athletes like Kevin Durant and most recently John Wall.

Carr’s frustration with the duo stems from what Carr describes as attacks on his character and desire to play. While on ESPN’S Golic & Wingo, Carr said; “You can say whatever you want about performance and all that, that’s his job and I understand that. But when you start talking about a man’s character and want-to and desire, that’s just a different story. And I don’t think there’s anybody holding these guys accountable when they go off on those kinds of tangents.” Carr went as far to challenge the two to a UFC match on Twitter.

So who’s in the right, and who’s in the wrong? Two mainstream sports personalities or an NFL quarterback. I can understand why Carr is mad. He’s coming off one of his worst seasons both in record and personal stats, as his quarterback ranking has him as the No. 27 quarterback in the league. His future with the franchise and Jon Gruden is uncertain, as some have speculated the Raiders might draft a quarterback in the first round. But he’s wrong to react this this strongly and focus so much of his attention on two guys on television.

Now I’m no apologist for Stephen A. and Max. Stephen A. has made it clear to viewers that his knowledge of the game of football and preparation when it comes to it is somewhat limited to say the least, when the viral clip went out of him naming Hunter Henry and Spencer as key players in the matchup between the Chargers and Chiefs when both players were out with significant injuries. I also think that when he engages in “beefs” with professional athletes such as John Wall shows signs of his immaturity and arrogance. But when you’re a starting quarterback in the NFL you’ve got much more important things to worry about then what talking heads are saying on T.V..

Like it or not Derek, you’re one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the league and when you sure aren’t playing like one, criticism is inevitable. Max Kellerman responded to Carr’s accusation of calling him a “quitter” by saying: “Just because you’re a tough guy doesn’t mean you’re a tough guy every day of your life.” Getting called out for your toughness and lack of desire is one of the worst possible critiques for a competitor. But Max isn’t making a generalization about Carr’s character based on a play. He’s calling him out for not giving his all his one play of a game, which happens to every athlete at some point.

This is a very bad look for Derek Carr in my opinion. Hostility towards the media isn’t gonna solve anything for Carr. I also think it should be noted that he was invited on to First Take to defend himself. I think this was pretty weak on his end. He challenges them to an unrealistic UFC match, but refuses to debate them on a television show. He could have used this as an opportunity to put himself in a good light, and possibly expose Stephen A. and Max. I still remember when Richard Sherman went on First Take and put Skip Bayless in a body bag. Carr possibly could have done the same to Kellerman and Smith if he went on the show.

Carr should be focused on doing everything he can to better himself at his position and try and win more than four games next year. Ignore the noise.

-Jackson Parker

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