I normally would view this as a non-story in most situations. This story has taken on a life of its own though, probably due to the lack of NFL news out there right now but I thought it would be worth sharing my take after reading up on it and listening to Zack’s response.
I have watched several of Zack’s videos over on Vimeo. You can get to his response to the whole thing here. I have at least an idea of the type of person Zack is. He has a dynamic personality but I have not seen a true malicious side to him. That doesn’t mean that he’s innocent or that he is always right. It simply lends to me leaning towards giving him the benefit of the doubt.
That said, I do think that things are getting blown out of proportion. The phrase he used was a poor decision. That’s all there is to it. He could have phrased it better. If that’s not making a mountain out a mole hill then I don’t know what is. It was obvious to me that he thinks Matt is very gifted and talented. I got this message from Zack’s initial interview: Matt Stafford has some real potential, he has the ability to be great, he has shown it in practice, and he needs to find a way to stay on the field. That’s what I heard. Matt has taken some odd injuries and seemingly has had bad luck. It is what it is.
If I was Stafford I would take this somewhat personally, not that Zack was attacking me, but that it is up to me to get my body built up so I can be there for my team and so I can prove myself to the world. Matt has the ability to be a top 5 quarterback. I wanted him to be drafted. I saw it, the Lions saw it, most fans have seen it at times. It’s there, Matt could propel this team to be a legitimate contender but he HAS to do whatever it takes to be there on Sundays.
Zack’s response and some of the comments surrounding were more interesting to me. Reading comments in response to his video and on some local news sites it’s amazing to me how so many people are attacking him. On the radio this morning, WDFN 1130 AM, one of the morning show guys made some comments that were really off base. He stated that Zack was a guy who is essentially a media whore and bashed him for bringing God into it. The other host was simply upset that he didn’t back up his comments. Tom Kowalski, who I think is a respectable reporter overall, wrote this article in response to being mentioned in Zack’s response. I think Tom’s initial impression of things is pretty close to reality. It’s true that everything you say has consequences, intended or not. The only media issue I see with this story is the countless opinions that want to make his comments something other than what they were.
A lot is made about context, what question was asked, what was the setting, etc. Not enough is made about ‘context’ with regards to who is making the statement. If you view the comments from a perspective where Zack is a good guy that typically means well and likes Matt, then you get one perception. If you just read them without any context of who Zack is than it’s easy to try and paint a picture that isn’t reality.
I believe he made a poor choice of words and he admitted as much. I think he did owe Matt an apology and an explanation, which he said he has done. To me, it’s over there.
The next twist is where people are bashing him for bringing God and satan into the mix. Stating he’s calling people satan and not taking any responsibility. Again, I think that is people hearing what they want to hear. Another popular radio personality in Detroit, Mike Valenti over on 97.1 the ticket, has made this statement many times. “Perception is reality.” I whole heartedly disagree with that statement and having listened to Mike for years now, I am confident he understands the difference between the two. Perception isn’t actually reality, but it is our version of reality. The perception by some is that Zack is hiding behind the Bible. Although the first thing he did in the video is admit he was wrong and that he had to apologize.
My point is, there is reality and then there is your version of reality. Perception is your version of reality but it is almost never true reality. That is precisely why it amazes me how so many will pass a judgment on Zack for so many things without understanding who he is, his relationship to Matt, what he really meant by his statement, etc. It also amazes me that we are so willing to forget that he is human and he will make mistakes. Those statements apply to many other situations. It’s too common to judge something based on our perception without understanding the true reality of the situation.
As far as the God and bible bumping that Zack is being ripped for. Again, that’s who Zack is. Zack views the world through the gospel. I don’t know what specific version of Christianity he follows but I do know that his entire world revolves around his faith. To expect anything different is simply ignorance of reality. We all view the world according to the things we believe to be true. We can’t explain or prove most of our believes but we believe them and live by them none the less.
Taking it a step further, how much has been made of President Obama’s religious affiliations? While the individuals he allows to influence his life may tell you something about the man, it doesn’t define him. You can’t make assumptions from it. Ultimately he is his own person, with his own beliefs, and his own version of reality just like the rest of us. I have read things where people want to say there is a plot to destroy the country because he’s an evil muslim. The problem is that the people making the comments don’t know the man. They don’t even know if he is a muslim.
My whole point is that we are too quick to judge people based on our perceptions and not willing to give people the chance to be themselves or make mistakes. We don’t value people for who they are, rather than who we think they are.
Zack is a Christian that believes that God and Jesus and the Bible are all very real and very relevant. He didn’t call anyone satan in any comment I heard. He was simply discussing how he believed that satan used things to try to attack us, simple things like a poor choice of words or a comment that you make. What I got out of that rant is that it is incredibly important to be above reproach. Meaning, don’t just have good intentions, guard your actions as much as possible so that it’s almost impossible for anyone to perceive them wrong. There’s that word again, perceive. Zack was getting at a point that although perception isn’t reality, understanding that others perception matters means that you have to try to be a person that they are forced to perceive as honorable or good. You may be that in your own mind, but if you want to impact the world like Zack says he does, then you have to be a person that is perceived as a ‘light’ as he calls it.
I guess I’m curious what your perceptions of Zack or the media are. My perception is that Zack meant no harm but should have been more careful about the words he spoke. My perception is that some people get that this is somewhat of a non-issue but others want to make this a hot button issue. My perception is that too many people are willing to decide what Zack meant and what his motivations are, while not allowing him to decide that. Only Zack knows what he meant and what his motivation was. I choose to take him at his word personally. I haven’t seen anything yet that would make me be skeptical of his explanations.
What’s you perception of things?