Originally written on Player Perspective  |  Last updated 11/12/14
Generally enjoy Dan Wetzel’s work over at Yahoo, if you haven’t seen his work on the Sandusky trial definitely give it a look. Today I was on his page, and I ran across his column on why he thinks anonymous player polls need to be stopped. What spurred the column was the latest “dirtiest player” polls that were released as well as some anonymous comments against Dominic Raiola and NY Jets coach Rex Ryan. Wetzel argues that there’s no value in the polls that ask “negative” questions like “most overrated” player etc. And he says anonymous commentary should be reserved for situations in which the truth needs to be revealed without consequence — not for what Wetzel classifies as rip jobs. [To read what I think of player polls and anonymous criticism click Read More] To the first point, I think there absolutely IS value to the questions that are asked in the negative. By and large, the media tells the public what is going on in the locker rooms, how different players are viewed and that sort of thing. The anonymous polls give us insight into how the players perceive their peers independent of what the media tells the fans. I, for one, was shocked to read that players voted Sanchez as most overrated. I mean, who is over-praising Sanchez? Do players confuse overrated with “talked about too much.” If so, that makes sense that Tebow and Sanchez found themselves atop the list. So while I’m in favor of the polls, I do wish they were more robust. However, I will admit, that utility is certainly not why the lists were created. They were created to get hits/clicks/reads. Moving along, as Ryan pointed out, even though his name appeared as most overrated coach, his name would probably be atop the list of coaches players want to play for. If you remember in polls past, players have both lambasted Patriots Coach Belichick AND stated they’d want to play for him. So, in that sense, a negative isn’t even really a negative. And that particular result was pretty telling. I interpreted it as more often than not, players can stomach being led by someone they dislike as long as winning is involved. In terms of the “dirtiest” player polls, I think they, too, are valuable. it lets us know what kind of behaviors players think is acceptable and where they are drawing the line these days. Many people have argued that Detroit Lions Ndamukong Suh (who has, again, topped the list of dirtiest players) isn’t dirty, rather behind the times in terms of how players currently conduct themselves on the field. But it’s clear the players find fault in his actions whether he’s behind the times or not. I think that’s interesting to know. In terms of allowing folks to insult or criticize others in their industry anonymously, I don’t  like it but I also realize it is common enough to be impossible to stop. Whenever members of the media want to prove a point in their own columns they often take anonymous sources who speak negatively about the person they’re profiling. Now Wetzel may argue that that is necessary in those circumstances for “the truth” to come out, but that would still nullify his point about the childishness of public figures having to respond to anonymous opinions. Plus, saying that rip jobs based on opinion shouldn’t be done anonymously is essentially ripping the entire media’s practices and methodology. And maybe they need to be ripped… but it’s odd that this would be a final straw for anyone. To Wetzel’s point about the victims of anonymous screeds having to defend themselves, I’d argue that they don’t. Coach Ryan or anyone else could say “that person, whoever they are, is entitled to their opinion” and keep it cracking. That would discourage outlets like Pro Football Weekly from going back and forth between two people and hyping up a war of words. I’d personally love to hear players and coaches and GMs talk about each other more often but as has always been the case, stating an opinion that is remotely critical of someone else to the media can turn into something much bigger than what the person intended. When guys are honest, the media eats it up but still with a “tsk tsk” cause nobody likes “trash talk “and “classlessness”  (yeah right). There really is no such thing as an innocent criticism, especially not with the media covering athletes 24 hours a day. That’s why anonymity can afford some of the best insight into the culture of the league. I do, however, think that player polls should include more players. Sometimes I fear the polls are a little like the NFL’s top 100 list where you can’t find even one player who participated in the voting. At any rate, if Wetzel has a problem with anonymous rip jobs, then he should definitely write something on how draft prospects are victims of character assassination just for the sake of manipulating their value. That’s a topic I feel strongly about and have addressed many times. You can read Wetzel’s column here.     Related Posts:Eagles Players’ Opinions Vary When Asked About Prospect of Gay TeammateQ&A With (Anonymous) Gay Division I College Football PlayerBleacher Report Lists 25 Dirtiest Players–Steelers Dirtiest Team and One Glaring OmissionWoman Says She’s Selling Nude Photos of T.O. Because He Stopped Skyping With HerNdamukong Suh says there’s nothing about his hits that would cause concussions
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Brock Lesnar attends UFC 184, keeps MMA rumors alive

Ronda Rousey beats Cat Zingano in 14 seconds

Dick Vitale will not call Duke-UNC rematch either

PHOTO: Auburn coaches, players wear ribbons for Mason

Dustin Penner apologizes after sending rape joke on Twitter


Report: Cowboys to use franchise tag on Dez Bryant

Report: Panthers officially parting ways with Greg Hardy

Could the Eagles release LeSean McCoy?

AEG: Inglewood stadium would be a terrorism target

Former Knick Anthony Mason dies at age 48

Report: Blackhawks, Caps discussed Patrick Sharp trade

WATCH: NIU C brings down basket on dunk

McCown plans to embrace mentoring role with Manziel

Chris Sale out three weeks with foot injury

NHL analyst calls out media over Blackhawks report

Alabama recruits aim to bring the dynasty back

WATCH: Jon Jones, Rumble Johnson prank Dana White

Anthony Mason: The most 'New York' of the 90's Knicks

Ray Rice addresses domestic violence case, his future & more

Kentucky raffling off Wildcats-themed motorcycle

WATCH: Montrezl Harrell throws down monster alley-oop

WATCH: Tyler Hansbrough, Festus Ezeli ejected for fight

WATCH: Russell Westbrook literally gets dent in his face

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Brock Lesnar attends UFC 184

Rousey beats Zingano in 14 seconds

Anthony Mason: The most 'New York' of the 90's Knicks

Could Eagles release LeSean McCoy?

AEG plays dirty with Inglewood stadium

Anthony Mason dies at age 48

Westbrook got dent in his cheek

Earl Lloyd and basketball’s cruel February

WATCH: Barkley rips analytics again

A-Rod: A con man returns to baseball

Bostick death threats show why some fans take sports too seriously

Russell Westbrook is surging into the MVP conversation

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.