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Friday (Vikings rightly criticize anonymous source story) Edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand under Vikings Updated: November 12, 2010 - 9:39 AM

For a couple of days, we were trying to figure out how to tackle the Chicago Sun-Times story that quoted several Vikings players anonymously ripping Brad Childress and saying he should be fired. Initially, it seemed a little too "inside baseball" -- a question more of journalistic standards and little else -- for us to really want to get into. (Bottom line for us, if you care: Anonymous sourcing is a way of life in modern journalism, particularly in sports journalism, but it should be used as sparingly as possible and should only be used as a means for gathering fact-based information. Directly quoting someone's opinion anonymously -- even if there's no reason to doubt the veracity of the reporter or the source -- reflects poorly on everyone involved and isn't good journalism. Again, though, that's just our opinion).

Thankfully, though, Pat Williams and Jared Allen spared you from a longer treatise -- or no post at all -- on this subject. In fully on-the-record interviews Thursday, both brought to light the larger point, which is this: The players who were SO BOLD to say those things about Childress but not bold enough to attach their names to the story accomplished one main thing -- they made themselves look really bad.

Don't like the coach? Well, there are a few mature things to do: 1) Shut up and play, which is essentially what Allen said. You don't have to agree with everything a coach does in order to give maximum effort. Play for yourself. Play for your teammates. Respect the process. 2) If you are the point of no return, air your grievances privately. Understand that is the best you can do. And then go back to step 1. 3) Understand the impact of an anonymous public critique. While some Childress bashers (and believe us, we know he has been FAR from perfect in handling things on and off the field this season) were surely excited to see that first story come out, all the story did was implicate 53 players in the locker room instead of the handful who wanted to share their feelings (anonymously). Now, even if you have a majority of players who feel one way or the other about the subject, you have a divided room with players ticked at how the story reached the media.

In any event, good for the two D-lineman for trying to level this thing. Williams is a big man with a powerful locker room voice. He can squash a bad vibe just like he can squash a ball carrier trying to go up the middle. An NFL team can survive if it doesn't trust its coach; it can't survive if players don't trust each other.

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