Bobby "The Cajun Cannon" Hebert, great American or greatest American?
If last night was any indicator I'd venture a guess that Hebert may very well be the greatest American, but at the very least you'd have to slot him as one of the five coolest Cajuns on the face of the earth. Right there with Shelby "The Swamp Man" Stanga, Troy "Choot Em" Landry, and a host of other weird folks we've become accustomed thanks to the History Channel's infatuation with people who "talk funny". They kill and eat things that make us go ewww, and bygone-it they're just fascinating.
Last night, it was Hebert who gave us our latest Cajun gem after launching into a tirade following LSU's crippling 21-0 loss to SEC West rival Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game. The former NFL Pro Bowler turned New Orleans radio personality hasn't exactly embraced the impartiality that most have come to expect from the media, and LSU head coach Les Miles found out the hard way how dangerous a father with a press pass could really be.
Hebert's son T-Bob, yes you read that correctly, is a fifth-year senior at LSU and has started 26 games on the offensive line, and with LSU struggling to move the football offensively, the college football universe wondered aloud why Miles seemed so vehemently opposed to making a quarterback switch. However, it was Hebert who not-surprisingly had the gall to ask the question to Miles face.
The Cajun Cannon issued a 40 second statement in place of a question lamenting Les for not attacking Alabama's defense down the field, prompting a somewhat sardonic plea for a question from the moderator. To Miles' credit, he did attempt to calmly answer the question/statement to the best of his ability, but the The Mad Hatter was visibly rattled, be it by the question or the crushing loss.
However, Hebert's confrontation (which could stand for subtitles) with Miles brings up the larger issue of impartiality within the sports media. For the longest time, it's been expected to be completely neutral when covering a team, but with the Internet revolutionizing the way sports media does business, we've seen a rise in "fan-blogging."
And while most of these fan-bloggers, such as myself, would never dream of openly chastising a coach in a post-game press conference, Hebert's actions have fueled the already elitist "old guard" of sports media. Newsflash, you don't have to force yourselves out of fandom to be objective or critical anymore.
Some of us can differentiate between the thoughts of unabashed support and objectivity. I don't need to hide the fact that I'm a fan of Tennessee and several other teams to be critical of that very team or anyone else.
What Bob Hebert did was absolutely hilarious, albeit unprofesional and likely ill-timed. However, let's not operate under this assumption that it somehow justifies this backlash against bloggers.
We all understand that the idea of impartiality is so that you don't neglect any part of the story, but in denying and lying about your status as a fan, aren't you neglecting a rather critical part of the story anyways?
The death of newspapers is depressing to a kid who still actively combs the pages of the paper daily (and is also employed by one to boot), but the day and age of using a paper to find out a score or get a game report are all but finished. We've got 24-hour sports television and the World Wide Web for that.
What we want now is someone who isn't afraid to interject their thoughts and opinions. Maybe we should all be a little bit more like the Cannon?