Some on the Mets beat are upset Matt Harvey didn’t want to answer questions
Struggling Mets pitcher Matt Harvey was recently moved from the rotation to the bullpen and his 2018 debut as a reliever did not go well on Tuesday. The embattled right-hander now owns a 5.87 ERA on the season. As MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo noted, Harvey did not speak to reporters after Tuesday’s game.
Harvey also refused to speak to reporters on Wednesday before the Mets’ game in St. Louis against the Cardinals:
Matt Harvey laughed audibly when approached by reporters today seeking comment about his bullpen debut. "No chance. Zero chance," he said.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 25, 2018
Harvey was asked why. "I have nothing to say to you guys," he said.
He was asked why not. "I dont [expletive] want to," Harvey replied.
Sports reporters don’t like it when players don’t want to answer questions because it makes their jobs slightly more difficult. Unfortunately, some of these writers take their annoyance out on the player. Here’s how DiComo responded to a reader:
It's not ironic. It's why as a team, you want your players to be accountable to the media. It takes two minutes to do a brief interview, spout a few cliches and make it a non-story. Instead, his manager and teammates have to answer for him because the story grows bigger.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 25, 2018
If he’s having a bad day, for whatever reason, he’s allowed to set his own boundaries and pass up speaking to reporters or simply offer a brief “no comment.” Even DiComo admits that if Harvey were to fake his way through an interview (“spout a few cliches”), he wouldn’t get any truly useful quotes or information. A player forced to interact with the media might also handle it the way Marshawn Lynch did on Media Day ahead of Super Bowl XLIX, repeatedly saying, “I’m just here so I don’t get fined,” rather than offer any valuable insight. Respecting Harvey’s wishes, rather than pestering him for a useless quote, might yield better quotes later on. This is a two-way street. Harvey was/is hostile, but so too is DiComo and anyone else who feels he’s owed an interview.
DiComo also wrote this to a reader:
It's a matter of professionalism, but ultimately, he doesn't. He's also not helping himself by being hostile.— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) April 25, 2018
Harvey is a pending free agent. Every team in the league considers character when evaluating players. Cursing out reporters isn't a great thing to have on your resume. https://t.co/twOMn0K0fP
If Harvey is able to turn things around, his prospective suitors won’t care whether or not he talked to reporters on April 24-25. No one will view him as “unprofessional” if he can be effective with his mid-90’s fastball. Sports journalists created the “unprofessional” angle to pressure athletes into talking to them. This can be undone as easily as it was created.
Harvey absolutely should not have been rude to DiComo and anyone else looking to talk to him as part of their job responsibilities. Keep in mind, however, that when people repeatedly refuse to respect your boundaries, you have to get more emphatic until you’re heard. The ultimate solution here is to simply be more understanding of athletes -- and people in general -- who are going through a rough patch and don’t want to be around/talk to people. We’ve all had plenty of days like that.