A video snippet of an interview between Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz and a local TV sports anchor went viral in the last day. The reason: 7News DC’s Scott Abraham made Wentz put his hard hat on during their one-on-one sitdown.
Abraham pressed Wentz about the “narrative” he has been inaccurate and “consistently inconsistent” during training camp. And then he dropped some “real talk” on Wentz, referencing his past stints with the Eagles and Colts.
“It has been well-documented that Philly didn’t want you, Indy didn’t want you,” Abraham said. “Do you think this is your last chance to prove that you can be a starting quarterback in the NFL?”
well then, talk about not pulling any punches pic.twitter.com/DPF1t2Shke
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) August 12, 2022
Wentz handled both questions well. The world was about to move on. And then Commanders president Jason Wright came in off the top rope.
Thankfully, Carson demonstrated grace & class in response to this pompous, unprofessional mess. I recognize you have made a living on childlike provocation but it needs to be called out. Don’t expect special access and good luck building rapport with the guys @Scott7news . https://t.co/fegxgvcJmr
— Jason Wright (@whoisjwright) August 12, 2022
Wright then went on to tweet out a Wentz column written by USA TODAY’s Mike Jones as proof he was not opposed to criticism. “Just be a journalist and follow standard practices. Others have found a way to do both,” Wright tweeted. He also had Twitter threads with Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio and Barstool Sports’ Eric Nathan on the subject. You can read those in full by following the respective links.
As the headline states, the only person that looks good here is Wentz. He acted like a professional. Which is all you can ask of him.
The two questions that have caused the outrage were not “unfair.” And the first one is really pretty tame, just worded a bit awkwardly. The second one is edgy but pertinent. That said, Abraham asked it for show. The “real talk” comment is a giveaway. He knew what he was doing. Which is fine, of course. Local TV sports is drastically different from what the beat writers and columnists are doing. There needs to be some conflict and sizzle. But this was a bit much. Reporters ask questions to get answers. And oftentimes the way you ask a question determines the quality of an answer.
The specifics escape me, but an example: Odell Beckham Jr. was wrapped up in some controversy during my days on the Giants beat. He was finally going to do his midweek interview scrum in the locker room. The gaggle forms around him and NBC New York’s Bruce Beck jumps right in and asks the pertinent question. But he asked it in such a disarming way that you could literally see Beckham’s brain begin to pretzel in front of you. He didn’t know what had hit him. And then Beckham gave a great answer — far better of an answer than he would have given if anyone else had asked it any way but the way it was asked.
There was a more diplomatic way for Abraham to broach the subject. That way probably would have gotten a better answer than taking the “I’m just stating facts” approach.
As for Wright: He backpedaled from his threat of access denial in subsequent tweets. But that’s what he did. Which is unacceptable.
It’s fine — and fair — to take exception with how the interview played out. And it does seem there is more of a story between Abraham and the team. But attacking an adversarial reporter does three things, and neither are good. It discourages objective reporting. It encourages fawning unobjective reporting. And it provides another black eye to a franchise that has suffered plenty of them and undoubtedly will suffer many more until the NFL finally rips the team out of Daniel Snyder’s hands. Oh, and Wright’s tweets gave all of this far more life than was necessary.
James Kratch can be reached at [email protected]