Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

24 Jun 2012

Understanding Brandon Marshall

Sure is rare to see a lengthy profile on an NFL player these days, but the Chicago Tribune penned a nice look into Brandon Marshall's life and past.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 24 Jun 2012

11 comments, Last at 01 Jul 2012, 4:16am by Jerry


by WeaponX (not verified) :: Mon, 06/25/2012 - 9:27am
by Podge (not verified) :: Mon, 06/25/2012 - 10:32am

Really enjoyed that article, thanks for posting it. Its rare that you get a decent profile of a professional athlete, and even rarer that you get one like this that is pretty even-handedly positive and critical of them. It feels like he's trying to be a better person and put his past behind him, and is having some success with that. I think his relative openness about it, and particularly about his mental health and depression issues is really commendable. That's one area athletes can have a really positive effect, if they can be a bit of an inspiration to people with similar issues.

People like Marshall always remind me of Guns N Roses - people with ridiculous levels of talent in their chosen field, but with a personality that maybe isn't suited to fame and fortune.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Mon, 06/25/2012 - 10:52am

It seems that Marshall dwells in that unhappy twilight zone where he is both crazy and sufficiently sane to know it.

Although I also wonder how impulsive I'd be if I could afford to indulge all of them.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 06/25/2012 - 1:40pm

This was a really good article. Interesting on many levels. Looking past the specifics of Marshall, it paints a good picture of some of the pratfalls and challenges of being a celebrity dealing with the media. Here's a guy like Marshall, taking the risky and rather unusual move of inviting a reporter to live with him for several days, tag along with him wherever he goes. The nature of the assignment means lots of questions, most of which a normal person wouldn't answer in a million years to any stranger, let alone one that was going to publish an article. When he responds in the most logical way--by ignoring them--it's seen as him not being open enough.

These guys aren't saints--they're by-and-large narcissists and some have problems well beyond that--but they do end up in situations that are essentially can't win. It's a life everybody fantasizes about at one point or another but that would probably get old very quickly.

by jackiel :: Mon, 06/25/2012 - 7:15pm

I disagree with this statement entirely. The situation describes Marshall perfectly. He invited a reporter to live with him for a few days and was seemingly unaware that 24/7 contact would expose him to more invasive questioning. The way the invitation was offered shows impulsivity. Avoiding the legitimate questions of the houseguest/reporter looks amateurish at best and stunningly idiotic at worst. Subjects who are better with the meda would have wined and dined the reporter into submission and ended up controlling the entire interview. (Exhibit A: Shaq) Finally, acting upset about the line of questioning is just childish – especially since the reporter was asking him about stuff that’s already public.

If you aren’t a fan of speaking to the media, then don’t invite them to your house to live with you. Marshall got what he asked for. If he’s upset about the article, he has no one to blame but himself.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 06/28/2012 - 11:50am

If he's an idiot, he got off really lucky because he does not come off terribly in the story. It doesn't paint him as a hero, but he certainly comes off better than he could have.

Also, there's the issue of what constitutes a "legitimate" question. I'd say his past legal issues and domestic violence charges no doubt would be fair game. But his relationship with his dad and whether he was abused as a child? That's something most people will steer away from, nobody how public the rest of their lives are.

by Jerry :: Sun, 07/01/2012 - 4:16am

Legitimacy of questions is in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes Brandon Marshall doesn't want to answer them, sometimes Quentin Jammer does.

by tuluse :: Thu, 06/28/2012 - 11:55am

When did it say or even imply he was unaware that there would be invasive questioning?

He seemed fully aware this would happen and simply didn't answer the questions.

by markus (not verified) :: Thu, 06/28/2012 - 4:44pm

I don't think Marshall cares what people think about him. He wasn't going to do a sit down interview and answer all their questions, but he challenged them to have somebody hang around with him for a while to see what kind of person he really was. And it turned out to be a pretty good move on his part. The writer came away if not liking him, then at least willing to give him a fair shake. And Marshall still avoided talking about anything he didn't want to address.

by LionInAZ :: Tue, 06/26/2012 - 10:50pm

Forgive me if I take the very cynical view that this amounts to not much more than carefully controlled celebri-drama. That is: local celebrity/sports figure allows exclusive access to reporter. In return, reporter/media outlet gets exclusive big-time story on major celebrity. Conditions? Agent controls what gets reported: some tawdry details about condition celeb can't control (e.g., bipolar disorder), while humanity of subject gets emphasized. Meanwhile, the really dirty details are not disclosed until they show up in court documents. Marshall, the reporter, and the agent are all fully aware of what's going to appear in print even if there are a few "candid" moments allowed to make the story juicy.

Let's be real. The sports media have manipulated the image of athletes for decades for their own profit and that of the local teams that are joined to them at the hip. Look at how the media studiously ignored the foibles of Ruth and Mantle at a time when the things they did were frowned upon in polite society. Nowadays those two would be raked over the coals and fighting suspensions for being poor role models.

by Kyle D. (not verified) :: Thu, 06/28/2012 - 11:58am

Did you read the article? If that was the game they were playing, they'd have ran Marshall's Seau column and not let their competitor get it. And what do you think would generate more sales and web visits: An even-handed article like this that ultimately didn't tell you all that much, or "Egomaniac wife-beater expects to control local media"? Marshall doesn't have any leverage over them.