Baker Mayfield "Taking It Personal" With Reporter

Mayfield, who got into a verbal tiff with a reporter Wednesday, needs "to learn how to deflect," Lincoln Kennedy says

Reiter Than You
October 30, 2019 - 8:50 pm

Baker Mayfield got into a verbal tiff with a reporter Wednesday, calling his query “the dumbest question you could ask” before storming off.

Former All-Pro Lincoln Kennedy understands what Mayfield was feeling in that moment.

“It’s difficult because I had a personal experience with Atlanta,” Kennedy recalled on Reiter Than You. “I had a beat writer write a story to me, and I thought he took what I said to him out of context, and I didn’t like the way it portrayed me and I took it personal. So, every time I saw that person after that incident, I would sit there and say to the other media, ‘Until he leaves, I’m not saying another word because I don’t like him.’”

Kennedy, however, is no longer in his early-mid 20s.

“He’s taking it personal,” the 48-year-old Kennedy said of Mayfield. “But you’re not going to win a battle when you’re an athlete versus the media. You’re never going to win a battle like that. But with that being said, it took me a while to learn how to deflect that.”

Now a member of the media, Kennedy understands that reporters have a difficult job.

“There’s only so many things you can say to a guy after a loss or a win,” he said. “‘Hey, what happened today?’ ‘Well, we got our ass kicked. What do you want me to tell you?’ There’s only so much you can (say). The difficulty is trying to be creative but still doing your job.”

Athletes, meanwhile, simply want to answer questions and leave. Unfortunately, their desire to answer questions about a loss is, well, non-existent. 

“From the athletes’ perspective, I just want to get my clothes on, go get in my car and go to my fancy house and live another night to play another day,” Kennedy said. “But as a person who’s been through it, it takes awhile to learn how to deflect. I understand that you’re not going to win a battle in the media. No matter what you say, you’re always going to probably come out wrong because somebody else is going to take it that way. 

“But now you quantify that by 20-fold,” Kennedy continued. “That was back when I played. That was ’93, ’94. Social media and everything that’s come out today, you see a number of athletes that cannot handle criticism. It doesn’t matter the venue, whether it’s by the press, social media – you see Kevin Durant dealing with people on Twitter. There are so many ways for you to get out of person, and there’s so many different ways to react. You have to learn how to deflect if you’re an athlete today because there’s always going to be somebody who doesn’t like you and has a way for you to hear about it.”