By Kate Roth
Phil Kessel of the Toronto Maple Leafs has been a man of few words when it comes to talking with the media. In fact after a 6-2 loss on Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres he became a man of no words.
Kessel refused to talk to the media following the game and even told one of the reporters, “Get away from me.” Kessel has never been one to go out of his way to speak to the media, but usually gives them at least a small response to make them happy.
Being the best player on the team and one of the leading scorers in the league, the media are always after Kessel. This is why his response or lack thereof to the media after the game on Saturday became such big news around the league. Often times it is almost expected for bench players to shrug off the media and ignore them as if they are not there, but for a player like Kessel who is supposed to be the leader of the team his actions came as a shock to many.
Yes we know that getting interviewed after a tough loss is not on the top of the priority list for players, but it is still something they are expected to do. As a professional athlete you are expected to show the media respect and give them a few comments before or after the game, it’s just how the system works.
The comments can be as simple as, “We didn’t get the job done” or “It just wasn’t our day”. No the media will not make headline stories with these comments, but as long as the athlete is there and willing to provide them they are satisfied.
When asked about the situation after the game and why he did not cooperate with the media Kessel responded by saying that his answers are not always great so he is not sure why the media really wants to talk to him in the first. I also did add that he does realize he needs to do a better job of communicating with the media, but does not want to have the media in his face every day.
Kessel may not view his own answers as great, but for those covering the team and getting the players responses the answers may be exactly what they are looking for. The reporters that cover these teams want to get opinions on the game from different guys each night and by getting Kessel’s “not so great” responses they feel they are doing their job.
I am glad that Kessel made it a point to mention that he needs to cooperate with the media more, no maybe not after every game, but more than he has been willing to in the past. We see this issue with players all over in the professional sports leagues so hopefully this is something other athletes can learn from.
Talking with the media after a game is not something that will kill you and the athletes need to realize this. The reporters are not out to hurt anyone, they are just trying to do their job and athletes can make that much easier just by quickly responding to their questions and then be on their way.