All of this has me longing for the comfort of my college journalism classes. It was so much easier back then. We just talked about these problems.
Give me my AP stylebook. Let me wrap my arms around the New York Times' old-fashioned tombstone design. Nothing but the facts; just the facts.
That's how we would've dealt with this story years ago; just the facts. The PR guy from the Titans would've sent out a release stating that the Titans have traded an undisclosed draft choice for running back Travis Henry. Then the release would've given biographical information making Henry appear to be the second coming of Jim Brown. That's it; just a simple press release.
Somebody in Seattle might've written that the Seahawks had expressed interest in Henry, and somebody in Jacksonville might've written that the Jaguars had also been interested. That's all; just a simple note at the bottom of the beat guys' stories.
Oh, for the good old days. It was so much easier back then. All you had to do was show up, eat the hot dog and restrain yourself from cheering in the press box.
These, however, are not the good old days. The scrutiny afforded professional football in 2005 rivals presidential coverage of 30 years ago. Almost nothing goes without major debate now. Hey, I got several angry e-mails when the Jaguars cut undrafted free agent Neal Philpot, a Pittsburg State Gorilla who was attempting to make the move from quarterback to tight end. Philpot's fans were incredulous.
Consider reaction to news of the Travis Henry trade. Three teams wanted him. Only one, of course, could get him. Tennessee turned out to be that team, which sparked story-of-the-year controversy in Jacksonville.
Who screwed this up? How did they screw this up? Everyone has an opinion and the debate has been heated. Are you kidding me?
If I could turn the clock back and introduce this subject mater for debate in my journalism class, I have no doubt the professor would say: "Is sports really worth this kind of attention?"
Think about it. Is it worth it? We've turned this into a witch hunt. Who said what? What does it matter?
Well, it's all about entertainment. This is how we entertain ourselves these days. We have come to rely on sports to give us focus and, in the "dead zone" that are the boring weeks of July leading up to the start of training camp, this is, apparently, as good as it gets.
All right, have we all been sufficiently stimulated? For the sake of lending balance to our lives, can we let this go and move on?
These are the facts; just the facts:
• The Jaguars were not successful in their attempt to trade for Henry, but the Jaguars believe their star running back, Fred Taylor, is in the final stages of full recovery from knee surgery, and the team has a stable of running backs who will be given the opportunity to become Taylor's backup.
• Training camp is about to begin and our thoughts will be consumed by what's happening on the Alltel Stadium practice fields, and Henry is likely to become a distant thought.
• All of this controversy and debate involving Henry will have served to further fuel the Jaguars-Titans rivalry, and just think how entertaining a prospect that is.