Russell Wilson is coming off the most disastrous season of his otherwise admirable NFL career, and that’s not just talking about what took place on the field.
Nay, for the entirety of the 2022 NFL season, Wilson was a walking punchline, as week after week he would make cringeworthy off-the-field gaffes and, to a disgruntled fan base, come off as tone deaf to what was happening on the field.
Whether it was trying to squeeze in a “Let’s ride” at the most inopportune times, saying he has Wolverine blood, making awful Subway commercials, talking about doing warmup exercises on an airplane, or making odd posts on his social media accounts, it drove Broncos Country and others crazy.
When having as rough of a go as Wilson was having, it’s usually best to lay low and focus on the task at hand, something he clearly had trouble doing. With Sean Payton now in charge, and operating with a close-to-the-vest demeanor, Wilson, too has been mainly silent...that is, until recently.
The Broncos QB posted one of his private workouts to his social media accounts back in mid-June, which showed him working his core on a slide board while showing off his much improved physique. Innocent as that may seem, it didn’t sit well with former Bronco and “get off my lawn” enthusiast Mark Schlereth.
Schlereth, a former offensive lineman, has been known for scoffing at any kind of flare a player shows on the field and favors an all-business approach, so his comments should mainly be taken with a grain of salt. And it isn’t the first time he’s criticized Wilson, for in January of this year, he went on the Pat McAfee show and referred to the QB as “tone deaf”.
“I’ve never seen a dude get clowned like he got clowned across the league last year with the ‘Let’s ride,’ team planes everything else, he got clowned by everybody. I’ve never seen that happen like that is a breaking of the ranks right? And I’ve never seen anything like that happen. So the overall, just the overall, tone deafness that he operates under on a consistent basis. If you don’t change that, man, it’s hard to get the respect of the guys that you play with and play against.”
While this is classic Schlereth making a mountain out of a mole hill, he does bring up a good point, and that is that fans and supporters of Wilson are burnt out on his antics. It’s now a put up or shut up vibe, and Wilson should consider that any time he’s about to press post.
Think of it in terms of Rocky III. Having defeated Apollo Creed to become heavyweight (ha) champion, Rocky Balboa wins a string of bouts in a defense of his title and gradually become less boxer and more public persona and celebrity. It wasn’t until James “Clubber” Lang beat the snot out of him, that he stopped doing all the PR work and instead worked out privately with Creed to regain the “eye of the tiger”.
Fiction? Of course. The strategy, though, is transferable to the real world. Want to show the world you are back to form and ready to compete? Don’t do it on social media. Do it in camp and show it during the season. Until then, just about any post made by Wilson is going to be gawked at and criticized, fair or not.
Want to stop the haters and prove them wrong? The way to do it is not through social media self-promotion, but getting after it in your own time privately and regaining that killer instinct. Accomplish that, and there won’t be many more peeps about “Let’s ride” or radio show hosts making snarky comments.
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