In the world of social media, it's a near impossibility for a professional athlete to not see the articles being written about them. And as much as some of them try to avoid the papers, talk radio, SportsCenter and blogs, every now and again something slips through the cracks. Such was the case for New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul on Friday, who got wind of an ESPN article written by Dan Graziano in which he took serious offense.
Although it's somewhat unclear which specific article upset JPP, it was enough to prompt him into challenging Graziano to meet him on the field and play the role of left tackle Will Beatty.
Our early speculation is that JPP took offense to Graziano's article about how summer hype needs to carry over for Pierre-Paul, which specifically noted that Beatty had been "handling him" every day in practice. Which, as much as JPP may not want to admit it, has been true to this point. And that's not necessarily a negative for JPP, who has also showed many flashes of his pre-injury form, but a tremendous positive for Beatty, who's also returning from an injury and a down year.
"It sure has been a long time since Pierre-Paul played like the player everyone seems to know he can be. He had back problems in 2012 and back and shoulder problems last year and obviously wasn't himself. He says he feels fantastic now and expects to dominate. To "shut some people up," as he put it, somewhat oddly, during minicamp. And it all sounds feasible and fantastic.
"Thing is, watching him play the few snaps he played Sunday night against the Bills, I didn't see it. Did you? I saw him get handled one-on-one by a tight end, Chris Gragg, at one point in the first quarter. I'm out here daily watching Will Beatty handle him in practice. And I know as well as you do that none of this stuff counts. But if the point is that Pierre-Paul is having fun and playing free and easy, wouldn't you think you'd see him flying through the line and getting somewhere near the quarterback on a regular basis? There were early practices in which we saw that, but it hasn't been happening much over the past week or so," Graziano wrote.
It's easy to see why a professional athlete would find an issue with what Graziano wrote, but the anger is misdirected. The reality is Graziano was spot on in his analysis here, which we also alluded to in our Buffalo Bills-New York Giants Hall of Fame Game recap. And as much as JPP may not want to hear (see: read) it, he's going to be subjected to this exact kind of analysis until he returns to the player he knows — and we all know — he's capable of being.
Furthermore, what does JPP feel he'd prove by dominating a journalist on the football field? It's not as if Graziano (or anyone else) implied they could handle JPP by playing the role of Will Beatty. Let's not kid ourselves — no one on the Giants beat could. No fans could. As much as we'd all like to dream sometimes — even those of us who have played organized football before — Pierre-Paul is a world class athlete who would manhandle any of us. But his job is to handle other world class athlete's, not the journalists who are merely doing their jobs — whether he agrees with their analysis or not.
I'm glad everyone's having so much fun here on a Friday night....— Dan Graziano (@DanGrazianoESPN) August 8, 2014
Pierre-Paul deleted the tweet from his end shortly after it began to go viral, but the multiple retweets remain.
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Tags: Buffalo, Buffalo Bills, Football, Jason Pierre-Paul, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Will Beatty