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Sports Business

Is asking Manning about fatherhood out of bounds?

August 29, 2011
KEYWORDS Sports Business

So when is some reporter who has a little less respect for the holy ground that Peyton Manning walks on going to ask him the obvious question?

No, I’m not talking about his aching neck. Nor am I talking about someone whispering in Peyton’s ear in the locker room, “Just between you and me.”

I’m wondering when one of the national broadcast media members is going to ask Manning as the cameras roll and a national audience watches, “So how is fatherhood treating you?” or “How does it feel to be a dad?”

The news is out there than Manning and his wife became parents to twins this off-season. So when is someone going to have the gumption—or the order from a network executive in an ivory tower—to pull the trigger and ask the question?

Manning certainly has a preference for spilling his guts to the national media rather than the hometown beat writers. Besides, the national networks aren’t constrained by Hoosiers’ sense of politeness or correctness.

I was almost stunned that CBS Sports’ Sam Ryan didn’t pop the papa question during Friday’s preseason game in Lucas Oil Stadium. Manning was unusually chipper during the interview and seemed primed to answer a probing question.

Maybe Manning has more power than I think. Maybe he has warned the networks that any questions about his family is strictly out of bounds and will be flagged with a no-more-interviews-ever penalty.

The question really isn’t that probing. Most people love to talk about their children. Good grief, Beyonce was rubbing her baby belly Sunday night during the MTV Video Music Awards, proudly proclaiming to the live audience and throngs watching on television that she and her hubby are expecting.

How many athletes and celebrities have discussed their children and their role as parents? Fans eat that stuff up, and it only serves to endear them—and in the case of athletes, their teams—more to the adoring masses.

So when’s it going to happen? A press conference probably would feel a bit too much like an ambush. It’d be too easy for Manning to blow off the question if it is asked in the corner of the locker room. But on the sideline during a preseason game or maybe during a blowout or right after a victory in the regular season, that seems like the perfect time.

You have to figure the question is going to be asked. Despite Manning’s pleas for privacy, the question is begging to be asked.

And as intense as Manning’s desire for privacy is, the networks’ desire for ratings is even greater.              

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