Some of the most frustrating silliness of the NFL lockout is the increased scrutiny on each word a player speaks. One of the biggest firestorms to date started with a tweet from Reggie Bush:
Everybody complaining about the lockout! Shoot I’m making the most of it! Vacation, rest, relaxing, appearances here and there! I’m good!
The words traveled quickly, as they tend to do on twitter, and the pushback Bush received caused him to issue a response the same day:
FYI last tweet was a joke! Relax people damn it’s called sense of humor! Cry me a river why don’t you…
I don’t believe his initial tweet was actually a joke, nor do I believe that he needed to offer an explanation or apology. I have been anything but a shill for the players (or the owners, for that matter) in this dispute but I don’t see anything wrong with Reggie Bush’s words or the similar sentiments from Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson in a recent Detroit Free Press article.
Free Press writer Dave Birkett quoted Calvin Johnson as follows:
Maybe (it’s frustrating) to the guys in the front office, but to me, I’m taking it easy, back at home, just training, relaxing.. I enjoy being at home around the family. This is the only time it’ll probably be like this, so I’m going to enjoy my time off.
And a quote from Nate Burleson:
I got to be honest, it’s a little bit of a convenience for a guy like me. Three contracts in, being able to spend some time with my family, being back home this time of the year, it’s a good thing.
There isn’t any reason to suggest that “relaxing” equals a movie marathon with a bag of chips or that “spending time with family” equals. And let’s not forget that Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson have been some of the most visible Lions in terms of off-season workouts. Both attended the player organized workouts in the Detroit area last week and both have been active in other workouts on their own. Johnson got together with Matthew Stafford in Atlanta while Burleson worked out with some former Seahawk teammates.
The emotion of the lockout skews how quotes like these are received. A couple summers ago when the economy was particularly slow, my department at work had our week cut from 40 hours to 32 hours. It wasn’t an ideal scenario, especially on pay day, but I will admit that part of me enjoyed that time off. That doesn’t mean I wasn’t looking forward to returning to a normal work schedule, it just meant I chose to use the situation forced upon me in a positive way. I don’t interpret the words of Reggie Bush, Calvin Johnson or Nate Burleson to mean anything different. As long as they are ready to ready to return to work when the time comes, and I’m sure they will be, then there is no reason to get down on them for enjoying their free time.