Whitlock strikes a nerve with some Hall of Fame voters

In past years, any complaints regarding the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection process usually evaporated the next day, once the Super Bowl kicked off.

This year, the complaints have legs.  And now some of the persons to whom the complaints relate are helping to lace up the running shoes.

In past years, the 44 media members who solely and exclusively determine the contours of each class of Hall of Famers kept their heads low and their mouths closed in the face of criticism that they know will quickly subside and disappear, arriving again 52 weeks later as a temporary blip on the radar screen.  This year, Jason Whitlock of FOXSports.com opted not to move on (or move out), and he took aim at the process in a scathing column posted earlier this week.

Whitlock also joined us on ProFootballTalk Live to discuss his views on the subject.

Now, some members of the selection committee are fighting back, aggressively.  Len Pasquarelli dismissed Whitlock as an “idiot” on Thursday, and Bob Gretz takes aim at Whitlock today with an item that attacks him extensively, while barely addressing Whitlock’s core concerns.

Our reaction?  Whitlock’s criticisms have chafed one or more rear ends, possibly because his efforts threaten to disrupt the star chamber that has been charged with the duty of determining in shadows and codes of silence who gets in, and who doesn’t.

That said, Pasquarelli and Gretz seem to realize that the process should display a greater degree of transparency.  But they’re too busy circling the wagons and/or firing arrows at Whitlock to address in meaningful fashion the various problems with the process and meaningful ways for fixing them.

My own homework assignment for the weekend, which I may or may not choose to accept, is to articulate the things that I believe can be done to improve the process.  The reaction to Whitlock’s effort to shine a light on a system that has been cloaked in secrecy for far too long has convinced me that the time has come to try to make the process better, even if it means incurring the wrath of one or more of the 44 persons who probably don’t want to see their influence diluted, their power undermined, or their clique disrupted by meaningful change to the procedures for picking new Hall of Famers.

36 responses to “Whitlock strikes a nerve with some Hall of Fame voters

  1. There is no love lost between Gretz and Whitlock, wouldn’t surprise me if Gretz’s reaction is because he feels like Whitlock is attacking him in the media again.

  2. That was a lot writing to get to the point. Almost like my 5th grader trying to hit a certain number of words for his essay. Sometimes you just out think yourself.

  3. Power corrupts. Even small power like this gets to peoples heads. There needs to be media members as well as HOF members to decide these things. Humans just don’t want help that’s why these people are freaking out at the probability that more people will be involved/a better selecting process will incur. I just like when people ask for change someone needs to call them an “idiot”

  4. So instead of breaking down the mans (Whitlock) argument all Len could think of in response was” idiot” ? Usually when that happens I tend to side with the so called idiot he bother to bring facts while the other guy just brought insults.

  5. The irony here is……Sportswriters actually think fans care about their opinions….Does anyone really give a rats A$$ if sportswriters don’t agree on something?

  6. Gretz was colleague of Whitlock’s for more than 15 years here in KC.

    He knows Whitlock well enough to know he talks out of his ass more than he does his mouth.

    Whitlock has done more public name calling here in KC in the last 20 years than anyone and deserves to be called out.

    I’m glad public figures are calling the guy guy out. He’s an empty hat w a fat ass and a fat mouth.

    75% of Kansas City would tell you that he was run out of this town by the KC Star for it.

  7. My take…Whitlock worshiped Willie Roaf.

    Willie would let Whitlock hang with him to do more than talk the Chiefs…Jason smoked more pole in KC than Gates BBQ so the story goes.

  8. The more they attack Whitlock, the more right he seems. Mike, if you’re planning to jump into the fray on Whitlock’s side (and he is right about these guys), you’d better buy a flak jacket.

  9. duanethomas says:
    Feb 11, 2011 4:22 PM
    1st. Bishes!
    Yeah your first…
    first to fade away into internet obscurity.
    That is pretty desprate and pathetic to want to be first with no info.

  10. Whitlock is a racist, Peter King is a gasbag and my grandmother can cook. All obvious truths. Three ways to improve Hall. Term limits on voters. Transparency. Separate section for contributors (such as NHL has) for owners et al and add for asst coaches (Jim Johnson and Dick LeBeau).

  11. Anyone else see the irony in media members doing their best to keep information private and behind closed doors?

    The media is always making peoples business our business and now they are getting a taste of their own medicine.

    I agree with them, however, that the vote and discussions should be kept secret. But so should Tiger Woods marital issues…

  12. “But they’re too busy circling the wagons and/or firing arrows at Whitlock”

    Isn’t this a bit of a mixed old-west metaphor? If they’re the ones circling the wagons, they wouldn’t really be firing arrows would they? Shouldn’t they be firing .44-40’s or something?

    I know.
    Couldn’t stop myself.

  13. Any decision made exclusively by sportswriters has no merit. They are wannabes who never played a down and have almost no understanding of the game itself and certainly no understanding at all of the price your body and mind pays to play the game. Not a one of them would lasted one day in training camp even in their prime. The selection needs to be made by men who played the game – period. Sportswriters one true value to society is they provide a cheap liner for bird cages and for training puppies.

  14. Cris Carter and Jerry Kramer are not in the hall of fame. That tells you all you need to know about the Hall of Fame.

  15. No the process should not not be transparent. There’s a reason why we have secret ballots in this country.

    It’s not a case where voters need to have a thicker skin, as stated in a previous post. It’s case where voters shouldn’t fear retaliation or intimidation.

    We don’t live in an ideal culture, that’s why we have secret ballots. Ideally intimidation shouldn’t be felt. But we know differently don’t we.

    Here’s an example: what if it was on the ballot to expell OJ from the hall? What’s gonna happen to every white guy who says yes kick him out if you put cameras in the mettings? How many white guys will feel intimidated to change their vote? You’re gonna have every name put up in lights accused of everything from racisim to prejudice to not judging him for on the field only criteria and who knows what else.

    People shouldn’t have to worry about what’s going to happen to them after they vote. People will be accused of everything from racism to home-town prejudice. Every joker who doesn’t get his way will accuse other voters of everything in the book. People shouldn’t have to take that into consideration when they vote.

    Just like what’s happening right here in this post to Gretz now. Get it? Why can’t anyone just vote without having his name dragged through the mud of a blog?

    Unfortunately the irony is, PFT’s behavior in this post answers it’s own question.

    A more realistic example will be the Vick question. Someone, somewhere will lose a job for the following uproar for being on camera voting no because he’s a sociopath/psychopath. Some will drag that person through horrible mud for saying something that is hardly false.

    This is why we have secret ballots. Keep it that way, as the irony of this post is showing.

  16. The HOF voters are a joke. They are corrupt. A sports writer by the name of Zimmerman had said that he would NEVER vote for Kenny Stabler for HOF. He had an ax to grind and that’s all. Stabler should of been in the HOF along time ago. Cliff Branch, Jim Plunkett, Ton Flores and Ray Guy should all be in already.

  17. Poor Pastabelly and Gretz should realize that Fatlock appeared on PFT Live and attacked the host for being too mainstream. So naturally Mr. NBCstream wants to seem like an old-days radical by supporting Fatlock – even if there is no logic to the support. The HOF is not supported by taxpayer dollars and has no obligation to be transparent in the voting. Only the whiners on the outside resent not being part of the in crowd who actually cast the votes.

  18. Jason Whitlock strikes a nerve. Some other well known things that strike a nerve include Tooth Decay, Blows to the Elbow, Fingernails on Chalkboards, and Dentist’s Drills.

  19. Members should probably vote.
    Whatever they do, I hope they don’t let the public vote. It will end up like American Idol, and that will be a shame. Every idiot Cowboy fan will cast 5,000 internet votes for Tony Romo, half of Camden will each vote 15,000 times for Donovan McNabb, etc.

  20. These two have been picking at each other for over a decade in Kansas City. Gretz has always been a lap dog for the Chiefs while Whitlock has always been somewhat of an attack dog against the franchise. Whitlock is a brilliant columnist, verbose but thought provoking, just what a columnist is suposed to be. He crosses the line from time to time but often says things a lot of people want to say but are too afraid to speak up. Jason pisses me off sometimes but I have respect for the guy because he is unafraid.

    Gretz has very little journalistic integrity, so when he criticizes anyone in the media, it’s almost comical. Bob Gretz shouldn’t be calling anyone a “blob” he’s a candidate for TV’s “the Biggest Loser” in more ways than one.

  21. Readers get so upset at Whitlock’s rascist ranting and fingerpointing that FOXsports.com usually doesn’t allow comments on his posts there. Even if there is some truth in anything Whitlock writes, it would be better said by some other journalists who hasn’t already antagonized most of his peers. Even if Peter King is a gasbag, it takes huge stones to call out such a well connected and regarded writer. I am personally glad Whitlock did, but I wish what he said was said by someone with more credibility.

  22. I support Jason Whitlock!

    There’s something fundamentally wrong with members of the media insisting they do their voting in complete secrecy. A very odd position to take considering their profession.

    This just does not pass the smell test.

    This is the greatest form of hypocrisy. Some of these voters have personal axes to grind … and the system allows them to grind them in anonymity.

    It’s easy being a big shot voter when no one can criticize your votes, simply because they’re not made available to the public.

    If they don’t like it … then quit.

  23. Anything based on the merits of players needs to be voted on by former coaches and GMs…good ones. A few from different eras. Maybe some former players depending on how much knowledge they have of past players. I believe that a lot of today’s players don’t have the knowledge of and appreciation for the players who went before them. They don’t love the history of the game really…not the way guys used to.
    Writers voting on who makes the Hall is like women voting on who makes the best jockstrap. Just dumb.

  24. one thing that whitlock is assuredly right about-Roaf was a first ballot quality guy and it’s sad he didn’t make it on attempt 1.

    the real kicker will be if will shields, another Chief who made 12 consecutive pro bowls, doesn’t get in on the first ballot.

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