Thursday, January 22, 2015

Golden Tate and Me

By Nicholas Stix

I hadn’t planned on posting the 190-word comment below, or the publicist-ghosted content (which we’re supposed to believe was written by Detroit Lions wide receiver Golden Tate) it responds to. I had sought to post the comment to a site called, where I read the PR content, but after spending several minutes registering at the site, and writing, re-rewriting, and unsuccessfully trying to post my comment there, I got aggravated, and decided to post the whole megilla here.

(I’ve since tried repeatedly without success to read other comments at the site, which claims that hundreds of other readers have recommended it.)

When I wrote and sought to post my comment, I’d never heard of Medium, which is heavy on style, at the expense of substance, i.e., provides moron fodder, just what the Web needs more of. However, this is moron fodder produced by professional morons, under the guise of having been written by civilians (e.g., NFL players), for civilian morons.

My Comment to Golden Tate:

Although I use social media, I see very little positive coming from it. 140 characters are too few to do any good, but more than enough to cause irreparable damage to someone’s reputation.

As for Golden Tate’s publicist’s essay, I think it opens weakly, but gathers strength. “You don’t know me” comes off as narcissistic. In fact, I don’t know Tate, but I have never claimed to. All I know is that he is a superlatively gifted athlete who plays hard, and I’m content with that. Or I was.

Now, unfortunately, I know about vicious rumors I’d never heard of. Apparently, I was the last to know!

I wish I could tell Tate to just ignore what rumormongers say about him, but that’s impossible. If you don’t deny or attack smears, people will assume they’re true.

And what his publicist said about pro sports being a business is absolutely true.

Oh, well. All I can do is wish you and yours the best, Mr. Tate, except, that is, for when you play New York teams, and hope that your body holds up for many more golden seasons.


Nicholas Stix

Written in response to You Better Check Yourselves, Players

Silence isn’t Golden


You don’t know me.

Sure, by watching the NFL and playing fantasy football, you are aware of me as No. 15 on the Detroit Lions. You saw me win a Super Bowl last season with the Seattle Seahawks. You comment on my on-field celebrations and my perceived brashness. You frame what you think of me based on that, and how I perform, and what’s said and written about me by newspapers and magazines and blogs and talking heads.

But you don’t know me, Golden Tate, the person. What I’m all about. You don’t know how much I care about my relationships with the fans and city in which I play.

And that’s what I want to talk about, because in a world of 24/7 media that varies wildly in terms of credibility, you shouldn’t always believe what you see or read. What is said about a player can have a huge impact on him, his family, and his place in the community — especially if it’s not true.

I loved playing in Seattle, and to this day, I have a lot of affection for the city and the vast majority of the fans that make up the Seahawks’ incredibly passionate fanbase. I also have a good relationship with many former teammates and the coaches and ownership there. Understandably, some fans turned on me last spring when I chose to leave in free agency after the team won its first-ever championship, after previously saying I would consider taking a “hometown discount” to remain. That scenario was definitely on the table, but at the end of the day, the offer from Detroit made a lot of sense for me and my family.

I am not unique in this respect. Each and every season, in all professional sports, players must carefully weigh their options. The choices we make as free agents can be life-altering, and many of us don’t get more than one opportunity like that.

For me, joining the Lions meant playing alongside Calvin Johnson — who I believe to be the best wide receiver in the league — and with a quarterback in Matthew Stafford who can throw with the best of them. Just as important to me, though, was the opportunity to help build something great in Detroit, a proud city that seen more than its share of tough times in recent years. Not only is this a new era for Lions football, but it’s also hopefully the beginning of brighter days for the community, too. Despite the heartbreaking playoff loss in Dallas, we’re building something really good.

Yes, money matters — football is not forever, and athletes (rightfully) want to maximize their earnings in order to provide our families with security and opportunity — but there was a lot more to my decision. Playing in a market where the fans are very passionate and supportive was extremely important to me, especially because I think it’s important to have an impact in the community beyond just catching passes and scoring TDs.

Me and my girlfriend Elise at the ESPYs. (AP)

Of course, things can never be that simple — multiple rumors circulated about my departure from Seattle — and not all fans seem to understand that football, in the end, is a business. After my four-year contract was completed, I signed a new deal with a new team, a process that plays itself across the league each and every season.

Unfortunately, I have since been harassed on social media over a multitude of reasons about whyI left, none of which are true. It was profoundly disappointing, not only that these “fans” were circulating rumors about me, but more so how my reputation became tarnished in the process.

I did not have an affair with Russell Wilson’s wife, nor did I have anything to do with his divorce. That is laughable for anyone who knows us. His ex-wife, Ashton, is still best friends with my girlfriend. Russell and I were good friends when I was in Seattle, on and off the field — he knows the rumors about me were unfounded, damaging to my reputation, and an attack on my that rumor was just plain irresponsible.

There was also a social media frenzy concerning me and Percy Harvin. To set the record straight, I was not punched by Percy during Super Bowl week last year, nor did I have a black eye, as was speculated on by various Internet reports. I even saw a photo of my face that was photoshopped with a mark on it! Percy and I did have a confrontation, yes, but no punches were thrown, and it certainly never rose to the level that was erroneously reported by certain outlets. I highly respect his level of play. He’s one of the best in the game!

The false rumors about me served to open my eyes and sensitize me to what I read or hear in the media. Imagine, for a moment, walking in my shoes — having malicious and damaging accusations flying fast and furious, only you had no way of stemming the tide; no one person to call out and demand a retraction and an apology from. Now, imagine yourself squarely in the public eye, facing thousands of people lambasting you for something you didn’t say or do.

DeAngelo Williams was right. In the Internet era, stories like these live on — in search engines, in archives, and in the minds of fans watching the game. They will never fully go away, regardless of how I address them and how others debunk them. I actually learned something through all of this, it’s my Golden Rule, so to speak: “Treat others as you would like to be treated — especially on social media.”

Situations like this can and do change a person, and the way they choose to interact with the public. I know it has for me. I don’t tweet or Instagram as much as I used to. I do still read my mentions, and every day there’s a couple of people throwing salt my way, but anyone who actually knows me knows that what I say is usually joking around. I’m a big goofball. Some think the way I play the game is wrong, but that’s just me. I like to have fun, both on the field and in my interactions with fans — but there’s never any malicious intent.

I’ve learned not to take these social media interactions as seriously anymore. If something makes me mad, I just realize it stems for ignorance or hate. Sure, people in the public eye are often misunderstood, and fans can only judge me based on what they see between the white lines, but I have 100 percent confidence that those who deride me would feel differently if they knew what I stood for, if they knew about my faith in Christ, and my dedication to making a difference in the community.

This is exactly why I wish the media told more positive stories about NFL players. [Garbage. The MSM kill themselves, conjuring up positive stories about black NFL players.] I know “scandal sells,” but there are a lot of really good guys in our league who do a lot for their cities and their communities. Sadly, those efforts get far less attention than when something goes wrong for one of their teammates.

It would be foolish of me not acknowledge that well-paid professional athletes, celebrities and other public figures must accept the bad that comes along with the good, but facing viral stories about you that aren’t true is no easy task. When those who don’t even know you, judge you based solely on what they’ve “heard,” it creates a bad environment for the player and those close to him.
None of this is to suggest that the majority of players do not care about their relationship with their fans. I know I do. I’m so grateful for the support I received from the 12s during my time in Seattle, and I have loved getting to know the Lions’ faithful in my first season in Detroit. I have four more years left on my current contract, and I’m looking forward to making an even bigger impact in Detroit — both on and off the field.

Hopefully, this essay will serve as a way for you to get to know me — the realme — a little bit better. Maybe it will encourage you, the next time you want to write or tweet or yell something at an athlete you don’t really know, to stop and consider the impact of your words. And maybe, just maybe, I will re-engage over social media to help that along.

If it’s coming directly from me, you can be certain it will accurately reflect who I am.

[But it’s not coming directly from Tate!]

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