There’s a clear distinction between being the kind of person who just says what’s on his or her mind and just being a jerk.
For those who seemingly blindly support Baker Mayfield, too much credit is given for the former attribute, while rarely being accused of doing the latter.
Often times, people are given a lot of credit and praised for being bold enough to not be constrained by convention, and truly “telling it like it is.” Meanwhile, not speaking up is sometimes compared to being weak or at least weak-minded.
Mayfield isn’t back in the news, he’s addicted to avoiding it. The most recent example being an interview with GQ magazine, Mayfield comes after Giants quarterback Daniel Jones as well as comments on his decision to “plant” the flag at Ohio State, and then blasts his former school who forced him to apologize for it.
Now, many would certainly point to Mayfield’s comments and say they are just more examples of him being himself, being outspoken and being transparent. All of which would be true.
You know who else is just being themselves, totally transparent and are outspoken? Five year-olds. They say what’s on their mind all the time with no regard or interest in the fact others are affected by their behavior. But we don’t tolerate or enable that kind of reaction from kids. Nope. We deal with, possibly react poorly to it, or in the case of some patient parents (not saying I’m one of them), use it to teach a lesson.
Is it possible Mayfield is just being a 5 year-old here? Speaking without thinking. Babbling on without worry of repercussion?
Probably not. You’d think he’s too smart for that, but perhaps not. After all, you’d think it was a good lesson learned when Mayfield publicly criticized Cleveland teammate Duke Johnson and then was told by other teammates he was wrong to do it.
But remember, Mayfield was being “transparent,” and was just “telling it like it is.”
See, that’s the problem. Being transparent, despite the fact that most think this is always a great thing, isn’t always so. I sure don’t want to know what everyone around me is thinking all the time. I would assume that most don’t want to know what I’m thinking about all the time, either. Certainly my wife would agree with that.
In the world of sports, some transparency, some of the time, is a good thing. Too much and it becomes a muddled mess. Transparency has brought us replay review after replay review, often leading to more disagreement, not a clear answer. Did Dez catch it? What is a catch anymore in the NFL? No one knows. Video review in baseball, soccer and basketball has come with mixed results, too. We get the transparency of knowing certain plays in sports are being reviewed, but we don’t get total transparency in knowing what angles the decision makers are seeing and everything that goes on before a decision is made.
And that’s the key, some is better than none. Calculated, thoughtful transparency is the answer, the inability to restrain yourself, just because the opportunity arises to take a shot at Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger, a player he doesn’t even share a league with, isn’t being transparent. It’s being boorish.
Mayfield’s comments about Jones being drafted highly by the Giants are not untruths and not necessarily a wild opinion, either. Undoubtedly most agree with him. But Mayfield would do well to not be totally transparent here. Show some self-discipline. Verbally kicking Jones in the ribs doesn’t make Mayfield look better or Jones and the Giants look worse. It makes it look as though Mayfield just wanted to pile on.
Those who love Mayfield have already lined up behind him in defense of his actions at Ohio State and any future actions, too. It’s been well-documented at this point, so for Mayfield to say how ridiculous it was for him to have to apologize, while at the same time undermining his former school, seems excessive. We know Mayfield’s nature. We know he was forced into the apology and it’s something he’d never do organically. The idea that he feels the need to re-sell it in the GQ article to a group of people who have already bought in, is superfluous. An unnecessary transparency.
There’s a refreshing quality about the person who speaks his or her mind. But it’s even more refreshing for that same person to choose their words wisely.