— Esmeee (@funsize_esmeee) March 31, 2020
ESPN’s First Take is an entertaining show because the entire premise is Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman presenting controversial sports opinions to get attention. Both have carved out a niche for themselves at the apex of the hot take industry by presenting these arguments as indefatigable truths.
No one has the guts to speak truth to power, except for them. Certainly not as fervently, and definitely not as loudly. That’s how they posit themselves, at least. Whatever your opinion is of them, their approach works, and it works consistently.
So, when a teammate — in this case, George Kittle — of a player they tend to criticize — Jimmy Garoppolo — joins them on air, it makes for fantastic television. It’s a beautifully set stage, teed up perfectly to fold in an added layer of flavor to whatever sports melodrama they’re sautéing.
On Tuesday, it was Kittle, pointing out that Garoppolo should not be criticized for being on a well-rounded team.
“It’s not his fault,” Kittle said, as Smith agreed. “… He shows up every single week. Yeah, guys make bad plays. I’ve had my fair share of bad plays. His are just viewed more because he’s a quarterback, he’s the franchise quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers so people see that more. And he deals with it.”
Garoppolo fielded questions after the 49ers’ Super Bowl loss, but deflected all of the many questions towards traditional team-oriented answers, as is his style. He did take those questions for a substantially longer time than any other 49ers player, though, and was far more professional about answering them than someone like Emmanuel Sanders, who spoke for about a minute and nearly got into an altercation with a snippy reporter.
Three days later, during the team’s locker room clean out, Garoppolo was much more open about his personal performance, acknowledging that he could have and should have played better.