Late in the Arizona Cardinals 27-6 beat down at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, TV cameras caught Cards QB Derek Anderson smiling and laughing on the sidelines. Here's what ESPN commentator Jon Gruden said upon seeing that:
One of the things I don't like to see walking down these sidelines, is the demeanor sometimes of the players on the bench. When you're down 18 points and you have five first downs, I want it to really bother all of us.
The problem I think some people have -- mainly those in Arizona -- is that Gruden didn't know the context of the conversation Anderson was having with a teammate that made him laugh.
Gruden's words and the focus on Anderson from the TV cameras caused a reporter to ask Anderson after the game -- in as non-sarcastic way as possible -- what's funny about being down 18 points in the fourth quarter? Anderson responded saying he wasn't laughing and the reporter interrupted him to say that indeed cameras -- and Gruden -- caught him laughing.
What happened next is somewhat of a freak out. Anderson said he does care and that he puts his heart and soul into the team before storming out of the press conference. Here's the Derek Anderson tirade video.
There's no reason to beat a guy when he's down and nail Anderson for laughing on the sidelines. If Gruden knew what the context was, that's one thing. Or if he had an opportunity to ask Anderson about it first, that's one thing. But to point out his laughter suggests he doesn't care and that's not fair by Gruden at all. How would you react if someone questioned your toughness?
I hate say it but I'd almost rather go back to the neutered Gruden who predicts every every team into the Super Bowl and every player in to the Pro Bowl.