As the now infamous story about Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel wanting to cut his d— off for a Super Bowl ring makes the rounds, one thing is missing: context.
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel talked about the issue of “lazy reporting” and how the media will run with every word to create their own narrative prior to this whole “cut off d—” story.
Funny thing is, he was immediately proven correct.
On the Bussin’ with the Boys podcast, hosted by left tackle Taylor Lewan and former linebacker Will Compton, Vrabel was asked if he would cut off his male appendage for a Super Bowl victory as head coach of the Titans.
Light-heartedly, Vrabel said “yeah, probably.”
And just like that, a media sensation was born.
Here was the original conversation, per Paul Kuharsky:
"Lewan: Matt Neely (an assistant for the show) said he would cut off his d— for a, uno, Super Bowl, and I said, No I would not do that. Would you cut your d— off for a Super Bowl?Vrabel: Been married 20 years. Yeah, probably.Lewan: You’ve got three?!Vrabel: As a player…. You guys will be married for 20 years one day. You won’t need it.Lewan: If you come home with a bag of ice, and Jen is like ‘Oh honey what did you do.’ I cut …my d— off, we’re gonna win a Super Bowl, she’d be like “eh,” or would she be upset?Vrabel: She’d be like do you want me to do it? Do you want to do it now?"
Now, it’s understandable if you don’t know the podcast well enough to get the full context of Vrabel’s response when reading about this, but it could have easily been pointed out by those doing a story on it.
Bussin’ with the Boys is a bunch of guys shootin’ the you know what, having some fun and making some light-hearted jokes and comments. It’s actually a real good listen overall and I quite enjoy Lewan and Compton. Not to mention, they have some great guests on the regular.
So, naturally, a silly question like the one Vrabel answered came up, and he had some fun with it.
The quote that wasn’t put into any of these articles was that Vrabel wasn’t a huge fan of podcasts involving players with the kind of setting that Bussin’ with the Boys has. That’s because the media outlets can and will run with everything that’s said.
Mike Vrabel’s prediction
Just minutes after Lewan asked him the question about the lengths he would go to win a Super Bowl, Vrabel told the hosts he knew that anything and everything he said would be turned into articles.
It was also a conversation he had with his players prior to his own appearance on the podcast, warning them to be careful what they say, because even things said jokingly would be made into a story.
“Remember I had that conversation about the podcast,” Vrabel reminded Lewan and Compton. “How we can sit here and talk for an hour—or however long I have to sit here and talk—then they write an article about it and they use everything I have said, and will say, as quotes, like they ask me a question.”
“And they’ve never… will never ask me those questions, but they’re going to write an article about it because of being here. And I do think that that’s lazy reporting. I think that’s lazy, ya know? This is something different. But I guarantee you this week when I’m gone, there will be articles with quotations wrapped around it.”
And that’s exactly what the media did, and it’s exactly why Titan Sized decided not to run with it. We understood the context of Vrabel’s response because of the setting he was in.
It was no big deal—that is, until the media covered it like a blanket.
Lewan agreed with Vrabel, who went on and explained how he warned his players about exactly what just happened to him.
“I said, ‘listen man, you go have a blast, but understand they’re going to wrap an hour of conversation… they’re going to wrap quotation marks around it and they’re going to try to fit whatever narrative they want to fit.'”
And the narrative everyone got from this story? Mike Vrabel is 100 percent willing to cut off his Johnson for a Super Bowl ring, something he has three of already.
Rings, I mean.
Lewan even characterized it as lazy reporting on The Midday 180 show, which Kuharsky is one of the hosts of.
“Well, I just know that Paul is used to having that lazy reporting that we talked about on Bussin’ with the Boys, and we’re very disappointed in Paul,” Lewan said, somewhat light-hearted. “But we’ll work through it, Paul.”
In fairness to Kuharsky, who was the first one to pick this story up, he did add some context to Vrabel’s comments in his article, but did run with the same spicy headline as other media outlets.
While it’s refreshing to see an NFL head coach let it rip and have some fun, context is important and the act of showing it should be taken a bit more seriously. And that’s especially true when reporting shocking things that are said in a joking manner, in what was a fun, light-hearted setting.