Cincinnati Bengals rookie Ja’Marr Chase is apparently a weird sort of lightning rod for raised eyebrows and finger wags seemingly every time he gets in front of the media lately.
Before Week 1, there was that weird, late coverage of his comments on pro-sized footballs that he rightfully took issue with publicly. Reporters asked Chase to talk about his transition to the pros and some of the differences and he very slightly mentioned that topic and later elaborated when specifically asked about it, only for an outlet to run with it as the main issue.
Chase responded, of course, by torching the Vikings to the tune of his first 100-yard game while scoring a touchdown. He put several Vikings cornerbacks nearly on their rear-end in must-see highlights, too.
Crickets from certain spaces after that performance, though this commentary did pop up in response to an interview he had on “Good Morning Football” after the win:
maybe start with…helping your team win a few games first https://t.co/9bmAHHtReQ
— Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) September 15, 2021
Problem is, Chase was specifically asked about his individual goals for the season he had mentioned in an interview over the summer. Would it have been nice if he brought up team goals too? Sure, but we’re talking about a specific question in a segment that went five-plus minutes (and if he’s shattering records, the team goals are probably looking pretty good too, for what it’s worth).
Which — again — Chase did nothing wrong.
If Chase is doing anything wrong in these interviews, it’s that he’s being too genuine. And this is exactly why players give cookie-cutter answers that onlookers make fun of them for in the first place. Because the minute Chase opens up and gives honest, great answers, certain parties run with only segmented or out-of-context quotes for one reason or another.
So when we suggest the Bengals will surely get with Chase and better train him in the ways of PR this is exactly what we mean and why — he’ll be giving boring answers soon enough because when he’s genuine it gets ripped through the media cycle in a game of telephone that looks more bad than good.
So enjoy the candid Chase while it lasts. If it’s any consolation, his Week 1 performance will translate to the rest of his rookie year and he can just let that do the talking.