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You can't buy me with hot dogs

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Bill from Franklin, PA:
I heard something on the radio broadcast of the Colts-Titans game. They said Titans coach Jeff Fisher taped a message to fans in the stadium instructing them not to start making noise until there were 15 seconds left on the play clock. He figured that the last 15 seconds is when Manning provides final play selection and that was the time to concentrate on disrupting the offense. Maybe this is something Del Rio should keep in mind for Dec. 18.

Vic: I hadn't heard that. I hope that isn't true because I would consider it to be an insult to the concept of fair play. It would really bother me if a coach instructed fans in such a manner to obstruct the game. Once upon a time, the NFL frowned on coaches giving such instructions to fans. I can remember Bill Cowher being scolded by the league for merely encouraging fans to be loud at the next game. Maybe those days are gone. If they are, a degree of fairness and sportsmanship would also seem to have been lost.

Derek from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Can you ask Forrest to elaborate on the liberal agenda of mainstream media? What is it? Or did he just get done listening to Rush Limbaugh? Like it's a liberal thing to leave out important facts; that's funny.

Vic: Maybe Forrest is a liberal and doesn't even know it.

Adam from Louisville, KY:
Can I just protect myself?

Vic: Only after you first protect this house.

Derek from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Did I understand Rick correctly? Did he just imply that to be professional is to know when to tell the truth?

Vic: I'm reminded of my college Ethics of Journalism class. They'd throw these easy-to-figure-out problems at you, to which the answer was always, "The truth is the pure defense." For example, you're the editor of a newspaper and the publisher of the newspaper comes to you and orders you to kill a story about a guy getting, say, a DUI, because the guy is the newspaper's number one advertiser. Wadda ya do? Oh, gee, I don't know. I guess you kill the story because you don't wanna lose your job, right? Wrong! Seriously, though, it was a worthy class. Discussions would follow and opinions were exchanged. The answer was obvious but the underlying reasons were the important issue and students were, by and large, graded on their participation in class. One day, I decided to have a little fun with one of the problems. This was the problem: You're covering a football team that provides free hot dogs and soft drinks to the media at halftime. Would that make you feel obligated to be favorable to the team in your coverage? What should you do? I said eat the hot dogs and then rip 'em. I can still see the smile on the professor's face. I got an A in the class.

William from Jacksonville:
If Julie and all of these folks are protecting the house, why have we lost three of four at home?

Vic: I guess they didn't offer enough protection.

Blake from Jacksonville:
I'm a psych major and the five stages of grief are as follows: Denial (this is still Peyton Manning, he's not in decline). Anger (why would you say he's in decline, Vic?). Bargaining (we just need one free agent and Bob Sanders to be healthy). Depression (I am so sad about the Colts). Acceptance (my team sucks but at least we'll get a top draft pick and start to rebuild).

Vic: I have a feeling we're gonna return to stage two.

Stephen from Orange Park, FL:
How do referees decide they want to be referees? Are many of them former players in high school or college?

Vic: I can tell you about one of them. He's head linesman Tom Stabile and he was one of my high school football and baseball coaches. Tom was an outstanding athlete in his own right; especially on the baseball field (I even played with him one summer). He went on to become a school administrator, got into high school officiating and rose to its top ranks, where he was identified as a guy with NFL officiating skills, was encouraged in that pursuit and is now in his 14th season as an NFL official. I'm always very proud to look down on the field and see number 24 working the same game I am.

Bryson from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I'm glad to share in your disdain for the liberal media.

Vic: Yeah, I'm glad I'm not one of them.

Jordan from Kill Buck, NY:
Getting the story correct is the only responsibility a reporter has, but what about morals? Mike Nolan found out he was going to be fired when he turned on ESPN. How is that morally right in the mind of a reporter?

Vic: I guess ESPN should've called Nolan first and told him he was going to be fired, and then did the report.

George from Covington, TN:
Hey, Vic, who are you going to vote for on Tuesday?

Vic: I've already voted. I voted on the first day of early voting. I think I was the first person in Florida to vote. I really wanted to vote.

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