John Fox doesn’t like the media. He is often dismissive and disrespectful to reporters. He lies to them for no good reason. He regularly “answers” questions with non-nonsensical platitudes, ridiculous globalizations and words which don’t really mean anything. He banned the media from training camp. Fox seems to think that controlling every bit of information as tightly as possible and misleading the media from time to time provides the Bears with a competitive advantage. The media can’t report on information they don’t have. But Fox does this when there is no advantage to be had.
Fox’s media policy creates ill will between not only he and the media, but he and the fans. If fans cannot trust anything that is coming out of Halas Hall, how can they trust John Fox is doing his job well? Especially when there are no outward signs, like victories. If Fox says he believes the team is headed in the right direction or he’s excited about a certain player. why should anyone believe him? Kevin White just went on IR with another injury and will have surgery this week. John Fox said he expects White to be able to return this season. Why would anyone think Fox is telling the truth when he lied about White’s injury last season?
Misleading the media and effectively preventing reporters from doing their job is one thing. It angers the media, it angers fans, it does not provide a competitive advantage and it’s wrong. It’s also John Fox’s right to do it. However, telling reporters they have no business doing their job is something different.
Trailing the Indianapolis Colts late in the 4th quarter of their game on Sunday the Bears had the ball and were driving down the field. Until their drive stalled at their own 35-yard line. QB Brian Hoyer, on 4th down on the Bears final drive, threw to a covered receiver instead of Alshon Jeffrey who was wide open down the field and most likely would have scored a touchdown. The Bears lost.
This play effectively lost the game for the Bears and dropped them to 1-4 on the season. And as many have declared a QB controversy in Chicago, rumors John Fox has stoked, this one play combined with Brian Hoyer’s overall good play in both this game and the game prior, brought up some questions after the game. As such, John Fox was rightfully questioned about this play after the game.
Reporter: “Should Hoyer have been looking Alshon Jeffery’s way on fourth down?”
Fox: “I think when you’re out there playing quarterback, it looks a little different than when you’re up in a press box having hot dogs.”
Reporter: “Does that play on fourth down illustrate the difference between Hoyer and Cutler?”
Fox: “I’m not going to get into all this … Had we had the coolness of the hot dog-laden press box, we might have gone there.”
Things do look different from the press box and it’s quite possible some of the reporters were better able to see a wide-open Alshon Jeffrey than was Brian Hoyer. The reporters also don’t have to make split-second decisions in the heat of a close game coming down to the final play. But isn’t this a perfectly acceptable question? Wouldn’t it be weird if John Fox wasn’t asked about that play? Isn’t the fact that Brian Hoyer was unable to see Jeffrey, as Fox implies, a criticism of Hoyer’s play and a legitimate factor in the decision of whether or not he continues starting? Plus there’s the fact that Fox eventually agreed with the reporters:
John Fox has the right to try to prevent reporters from doing their jobs, many times that’s the relationship between coaches and the media. It’s why so many reporters rely on the ever-controversial “sources”. But Fox has no right to tell the media they shouldn’t be doing their jobs.
And he shouldn’t insult hot dogs.