Kyler Murray is directing his anger at the wrong target

from Martin Rogers
FOX Sports Columnist

Perhaps Kyler Murray he believed what he said. Maybe he was really angry and frustrated, not about that Arizona Cardinalsbut with us.

Maybe he was angry at people like me who write, report and spread commentary about notable NFL events. Things like, oh, i don’t know, a franchise that trusts a quarterback enough to give him $230.5 million but simultaneously inserts a “please do your homework” clause into the deal.

Maybe he’s mad at people like you who intelligently and rationally soak in the news that seeps out of the inner workings of the league during the offseason and make the perfectly reasonable assumption that the Cardinals’ “independent research” subsection is the most the strangest arrangement you’ve ever heard.

Kyler Murray, Trey Lance top Broussard’s list under duress | FIRST MOST IMPORTANT

Kyler Murray, Trey Lance top Broussard's list under duress |  FIRST MOST IMPORTANT

Watch to see who’s under duress this week.

“To think that I can accomplish everything I’ve accomplished in my career and not be a student of the game?” Murray said Thursday, taking the podium for an impromptu media session. “To not have that passion, to not take that seriously, is almost … it’s disrespectful and it’s almost a joke.”

Agreed Kyler. Totally disrespectful. Total joke.

Just one problem. This idea that something might be wrong came for one reason and one source only. Your employer. And because of them, the joke was on you at the very moment you were given the financial proof to support your status as one of the best QBs in football.

Of course, Arizona made a late effort to turn things around on Thursday, removing the exploration clause from the contract and publicizing the fact that it was doing so. Too late. It is too late to repair the damage. It’s too late to stop the most positive piece of summer news for the organization from turning into a public relations disaster.

Hands up, if you look at Murray’s play over the past few seasons and whisper under your breath, “um, there’s a guy who doesn’t study hard enough.” no

Hands up if you believe Murray is anything other than a ground-breaking little signal caller who, at his best, is genuinely exciting to watch. I didn’t think so.

Speak up now if you think even a contract that will make him secondthe highest paid player in the history of the sport (per year salary) was too much. No, me neither.

That’s the level of respect Murray commands from the football public, which is why his anger – perfectly rational and understandable anger, mind you – was directed at the wrong target.

There are things the media is guilty of. This is not one of them. There are times when football fans misread the situation and take an unfair position against a player, unfairly tarnishing his reputation. Not here.

That’s the Cardinals’ fault.

“It’s a sign of a rogue organization,” FS1’s Nick Wright said on “First Things First.” “The fact that we now know they didn’t expect this reaction just proves that they are a no-nonsense organization.” I think that’s something that’s going to be a story line for the Cardinals all year and, unfortunately, it could follow Kyler down the road.”

Cardinals waive Kyler Murray’s ‘homework clause’ | FIRST MOST IMPORTANT

Cardinals waive Kyler Murray's 'homework clause' |  FIRST MOST IMPORTANT

An Arizona Cardinals press release featured Kyler Murray defending his spot as one of the best QBs in the league after an independent study clause called his focus into question.

If Arizona was worried about Murray’s study habits, $46 million a year is a fun way to show it. Well, whatever, that’s the market and he wouldn’t sign for less. But if they wanted more assurance that he would leave no stone unturned in his mental and tactical preparation, this was not the way.

How would they enforce it? Then came the disturbing details of how Murray, as a naughty teenager, was not allowed to turn on the TV or play video games at the same time as his office. What were the cardinals going to do, hire two spies to bug his living room and hotel suite?

This is all very unfortunate, and if nothing else, removing the clause on Thursday just kept the topic in the news cycle a little longer.

Murray is right. We got to talk about how he was the No. 1 pick in the draft at 5-foot-10. And how no one has faster feet and better climbing. How he’s both a current and future face of the league, how he led Arizona to a 7-0 start last season, and how he’s only 24 years old, for God’s sake, and he’s going to be swimming in well-deserved money.

But we are not. Instead, we spent an entire column, and football spent almost an entire week talking about schooling and video games and a contract line that’s ridiculous and absurd and a storyline that would belong on one of those naughty fake Twitter accounts while, you know, really happened.

Murray deserves more. That’s the shame. This is the maddening part of it all. This is Kyler Murray’s ongoing curse.

You won’t be putting this one back in the box, not for a long time. All he can really do is move on and try to use the uproar as motivation.

Which is probably why his criticism was leveled the way it was, because it can be difficult to use a comically stupid plot as mental fuel at the best of times.

Especially when those who stand to gain the most from your efforts are the same people who created all the nonsense in the first place.

Martin Rogers is a columnist for FOX Sports and contributor to the FOX Sports Insider newsletter. Yyou can subscribe to the daily newsletter here.


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