Almost every joke about journalists will make me cringe nowadays. They may get redundant but they never get old and they still do just as much damage as ever.
Things like “Oh, you write for the newspaper? Can’t trust those people,” and “Fake news” are usually said with laughs and smiles when they are said to my face but I know that is not always the case when people don’t realize they are talking to a journalist or when they say it out of spite.
Journalism is incredibly important to today’s world and I am talking about true journalism — not the clickbait on Facebook or the rampant debate shows on network television throughout the day. Those things are not always in the wrong but that is not the kind of journalism that makes a difference.
We saw another perfect example of what journalists do during last week’s press conference with New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. The Patriots signed Antonio Brown and all of his baggage earlier in the season but more news starting coming out about Brown as he was accused of three incidents of sexual assault.
Five days later, Brown played in a game with the Patriots, scoring a touchdown.
“We’re going to do what’s best for the team like we always do.”
That’s what Belichick said. The Patriots had no problem having Brown on the team as long as he was going to show up and perform at a high level — at least not until Belichick could not handle the pressure.
For two minutes, Belichick said he did not want to comment on Brown’s situation and refused to answer any questions regarding the receiver on or off the field.
One reporter asked, “You always say you want what’s best for the team so how do you weigh with your players their performance on the field and their behavior off the field?”
Belichick’s answers continued to get more and more mumbled as the questions rolled on until saying he was preparing for the New York Jets and walking off after less than four minutes of the press conference.
Hours later, Brown was released by the Patriots.
There is no way to know for sure when the franchise decided to make that decision but it’s clear that press conference pushed New England in the correct direction. Those journalists asked the tough questions because making a difference is more important than your weekly game preview with some coach speak quotes.
Meanwhile, Brown is continuing in the wrong direction. After Patriots fans threatened a journalist who was breaking the stories about Brown’s assault case, Brown tweeted out saying the “system (is) working effectively.”
That is dangerous. But hey, if the president can get away with it, a former NFL receiver can too apparently.
I do not know what Brown’s future holds but there is no reason for him to ever be on another NFL roster. He should probably be closer to jail than to the football field again.
But that’s not the point of this story.
Seeing journalists stand up for what is right and making a difference is always something that will give me pride. I know there are plenty of journalists out there who are working way harder than me and making a difference on big-scale events like this one but that’s what I strive to be.
That’s why I do what I do. And I wouldn’t trade this career for anything.
Caleb Turrentine is a sports writer for The Herald.