It appears the new big man on campus, Jay Cutler, hasn’t exactly taken to the bright lights of the big city. As Neil Hayes points out in his Chicago Sun Times column:
Internet reports detailing how the Bears’ new quarterback has alienated some fans while making public and private appearances are troubling because it suggests that he doesn’t grasp the enormity of his opportunity. We’re not making any specific allegations here.
I guess biggest thing to hit Chicago Bears football since the T-formation hasn’t exactly ingratiated himself to his new adoring fan base, blowing off autograph requests at recent public appearance. Hayes goes on to say:
Athletes can’t win when it comes to autographs. They can sign their names 300 times and the 100 people still in line will complain, sometimes bitterly.
Let me tell a brief story to set up my side of the story. I was a Wrigley Field a couple of weeks ago to take in the Cubs/Dodgers series opener thanks to the fine folks at Marconi Foods. As I sat relatively close to home plate, I noticed a gentlemen that looked really familiar. It was driving me nuts! I knew that I recognized this guy. Then it suddenly struck me – that’s Ron Turner, the Offensive Coordinator of the Bears! As he walked right in front of me, I gave a hearty, “Ron, Ron!” from my seat and he didn’t even turn to acknowledge. Could I be wrong? When the gentlemen returned to his seat, I thought I must have been mistaken.
Then, a few minutes later, a tall, lanky kid in a Cubs hoodie and cap approached with a big handshake and man-hug. I looked over a realized – holy crap – that’s Jay Cutler! Oddly enough, Jay and Ron were not sitting together. Jay was sitting even closer up. He walked past and I gave another hearty shout – Jay! Jay! Cutler gave a nod of acknowledgement. When I asked “How about a picture?” he just kept walking.
Maybe some of these “internet reports” that Neil is referring to are similar to my story. Neil’s right. Athletes can’t win. If they sign for 100 fans, the 101st will be mad or bitter. I get it. Here’s where I differ from those reports. I don’t care that Jay didn’t stop for a picture. If he had stopped for me, he’d be taking pictures until the 7th inning stretch. Do you know what matters to me? What he does on the field. Aside from breaking any laws or team rules, the basic requirement for my new quarterback is this simple – throw touchdown passes and don’t throw interceptions. Cut and dry. Plain and simple.
With all of that being said, I’ll pick up on another thing that Neil mentioned and that’s the Jay is missing a HUGE opportunity. If he is able to embrace the spotlight, he could make more money in endorsements than he does in salary. Maybe he’s just a shy guy. Maybe he doesn’t like the spotlight. I’m not sure what his story is, but if he can get over whatever his issue is, he could be the biggest Chicago sports star since Michael Jordan! If only Jay knew a great PR person to help him out. Hey, isn’t that Julia Allison that Jay allegedly hooked up with shortly after his arrival to Chicago a PR professional?