Defending Phil Mickelson


There are a lot of reasons I don’ t frequently peruse the World Wide Leader for anything except actual game action, but every now and again, I’ll make my way over to their dot com to catch up with one of their writers that I actually enjoy.

Tuesday afternoon saw me doing just that, as I had missed The Sports Guy’s latest column, and I thought I’d get a few laughs to see how wrong he was about the championship games that were played on Sunday.  To my surprise, he actually picked against the line correctly in both games, even if he incorrectly predicted the winners (he went fanboy and matched the Pats against the Falcons.)

Regardless of that, it was an entertaining entry, and I didn’t feel like the 10 minutes I spent on the column had gone to waste.  The same cannot be said for the video footage that accompanied this story about Phil Mickelson’s comments about possibly picking up and leaving California- or the country due to changes in tax laws.

Actually, I found the story to be quite interesting, because it showed an athlete that actually knows how to do basic math, and that’s not a common occurrence.  Rather, my problem was the video footage that accompanied the story.  In it,’s “senior golf analyst” Michael Collins took multiple swipes at Mickelson for discussing (in response to a reporter question) his possible move from California, and his disappointment in the fact that he would now be paying 62-63% of his earnings to taxes.  Collins engaged in low-handed tactics essentially concluding that Phil should just be happy to have a gig in golf.

To a certain degree, I can understand that.  I’m not one who usually enjoys celebrities of any ilk spouting off on what could be perceived as political issues.  I’d prefer for the most part that they simply stick to what they know best, and leave the heavy thinking to those of us who are trying to get by in the ‘real’ world.  However, what I enjoy even less than that is some blowhard doing his Dr. Phil impression in an attempt to cast Phil Mickelson in a bad light because he happened to talk about something that actually effects him in a very personal way.

Mickelson didn’t waste much time issuing a humorous apology where he admitted that he may have spoken out of turn, especially in this down economy.  While I think that was a stand up thing for him to do (and obviously, a wise move from a PR/marketing stand point), I think it’s ridiculous that any such apology was needed.  As Collins himself noted, we live in the greatest country in the world, and as such, one of the freedoms we enjoy is the right to free speech.

Does this mean that anything that anyone of us, or any celebrity says is going to be the most intelligent thing ever uttered?  Absolutely not.  In fact, it nearly guarantees that most of our words will be banal at best.  It’s the cost of freedom.  Michael Collins’ ridiculous rant is covered just as much as Mickelson’s more well-thought out (if ill-timed) response.

What it comes down to for me, as a sports consumer is that there is one less reason to view anything on ESPN.  I will take care to read/watch only those sources that I know I have enjoyed in the past, and hope to avoid the type of content that Collins provided on this issue in doing so.

On the down side, there’s always the chance that I’ll miss some great new writer, simply because I don’t want to be burned again.

What are your thoughts on Michelson’s comments?  Should he have kept quiet?

Let me know what you think: or @tbone44444444

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