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The Clinton Portis Files

If you haven't actually watched the full Clinton Portis interview, you really ought to. It's on the Redskins' Web site. As far as I'm concerned, this is all a perfect demonstration of the Big Sports Story circa 2007. During a light-hearted interview, player says something incredibly stupid, having absolutely nothing to do with football. Bloggers and other media persons go wild, since May is such a boring time of year. Publicists near and wide, pro and anti, issue a flurry of press releases. And then, the inevitable ending: I "didn't think what I said was that offensive, but after doing research and seeing how serious people take this, I shouldn't have made the comments." In other words, "whoops, my bad."

Trying to be serious makes my head hurt. This is me speaking, not Portis. (John Raoux - AP)

And thus the news stories: "Portis Apologizes for his Comments," and "Portis Recants Words About Dogfighting," and "Portis Issues Apology," and we can all go back to worrying about Tom Brady's love life.

But if you watch the clip, he didn't apologize. I certainly don't want to be a moralistic scolder, but jeez, did you listen to what he said? I mean, if everyone was so outraged a few weeks ago, you might as well still be outraged. He said that he realized people take this issue seriously and so he shouldn't have said anything; that his comments were "inconsiderate." He didn't say one word about whether dogfighting is good or bad, or whether he's changed his mind on whether what Mike Vick does behind closed doors is his business.

Check out what Significant Blog says:

This isn't about whether or not I get my feelings hurt. It's about right and wrong. And Ports still doesn't get the wrong part. Okay Clinton, if you want to show everyone that you get it, then prove it by coming out and making definite statements about the evils of animal fighting.

But whatever. Like I said, we're moving on. Still, the Portis interview was an entertaining enough five minutes. For example:

* "Seeing the people crying over the whale, you know all that happening right after I made those coments, and then you see people crying over some whales stuck in a canal, trying to get them back."

Seriously? Whales?

* "From now on, I don't comment on nobody. My life is the only thing I control. What other people do, I'm going to let them continue to do it....I can't jump on the bomb for nobody else, I can't cover up for nobody else."

And Michael Vick thanks you for jumping on that bomb for him.

* "I hope [Vick] get out of the situation and it dies down and it erases and he can just go out and play football."

PR people: Next time, go with "We just have to let the legal process take its due course."

* "I think people treat animals like kids, and I wouldn't say that about a kid, so I probably shouldn't have said it about an animal."

My opinion: if people want to fight kids behind closed doors, that's their business.

* "Just being thrown out into the fire over something that I had nothing to do with. If I'm going to get into trouble it's going to be something I do, it's going to be something that I'm involved in, it ain't going to be for nobody else. I've never let anyone else steer or guide or detour my life and I'm not going to start now. So if I'm going to get in trouble, it's going to be behind my thing. I'm almost 26 years old, I never got in trouble, so I'm doing something right and I'm going to continue on that path."

This is a new twist on personal responsibility. If I'm going to get in trouble, it's going to be because of me. Seriously, this is why we love Portis; he's honest. He was honest throughout; he didn't realize how serious people take the issue, which is why he now knows he shouldn't have said what he said, regardless of the merits of the issue, which is too boring for sports sections anyhow.

By Dan Steinberg  |  June 6, 2007; 11:48 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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