"They get it." This sentence is often associated with public figures who know how to conduct themselves in front of the media.
New York Giants running back Tiki Barber gets it. He proved it this past Monday on the Late Show with David Letterman.
In mid-October, word leaked out that Barber, 31, would hang up his cleats after this season. He quickly confirmed it. A handful of media members lambasted him for causing an unnecessary mid-season distraction.
An offended Barber called the naysayers "idiots" because they'd never spoken to him about his decision, thus rendering their opinions meaningless. Fumble.
Barber, who plans to join the press ranks following his career, knows that opinions are part of what the media do. In fact, he has regularly appeared on Fox News Channel's Fox & Friends, among other shows, opining on those to whom he'd never spoken.
Fear not. Barber would recover. In talking to Letterman, he did what far too few in his position seem capable of doing - he was articulate and honest.
He admitted to understanding how fans live vicariously through athletes and that they may feel he's betraying them by retiring in his prime. What they don't realize, he added, is the beating his body took last year and the fact that he feels even worse this season, only halfway through it.
He went on to explain that of all football players, running backs do not decline gradually. When they fall, they fall hard. He has every right to avoid that.
This wasn't an emotional diatribe. It was an irrefutable explanation for a decision that, quite frankly, he didn't owe anyone. Controversy over. Got it?
PR Play Rating:
3. On the right track