The subject of this week’s Life of Reilly column is the Tarheel of Tarheels, Tyler Hansbrough and the hatred that many a college hoops fanatic harbors for him. In case you didn’t assume that Reilly was going to defend Psycho T, as he is affectionately called, the subtitle of the column, Everyone hates Tyler Hansbrough. It’s pretty obvious why, tips his hand. In the column itself, Subtle Rick lists the reasons why people hate the North Carolina senior, reasons which are typeset in bold and followed by analysis (find the loosest defnition of this word in your repertoire, then subtract ten) on why each listed reason is invalid and idiotic. A sample of the words Rick Reilly is putting in our mouths:
- “He’s a big baby who gets all the calls”
- “Big guys are not supposed to be look-at-me-Coach hustle bunnies”
- “He never smiles! He never reacts to anything! It’s like he’s a robot after Botox!”
- “The big dope was stupid to come back for his senior season! Who turns down all that NBA cash?”
- “Besides, the oaf isn’t going to be anything in the NBA anyway, right?”
Many of the people who keep a close eye on NCAA hopes do indeed hate Tyler Hansbrough, and the reasons Reilly listed certainly contribute to the hatred to some degree. However, the most obvious reason, the one most pervasive and suffocating, the one coaching ill-will to mature into hatred, seems to elude Rick. The title in the above image should serve as an indication: the grown-up media is madly in love with a college student. ESPN, the company that Rick Reilly works for, the largest and most recognizable sports media outlet on the planet, wants to make passionate love to Tyler Hansbrough.
When a drop of Tyler Hansbrough’s sweat hits the hardwood an ESPN field reporter piously surfaces, towel-in-hand, ready to wipe up the perspiration and prepare a detailed report on its aroma. People hate Psycho T because of this, because ESPN’s stern, didactic emphasis on his character and his demeanor, because they never hesitate to exhibit how hard-working and wonderful he is.
Here’s a pretty telling indication: when Sportscenter anchors constantly refer to a college athlete by nickname during a highlight reel, anyone who watches ESPN with any frequency is already intimately aware of said nickname, and the “story” behind said nickname, and would prefer not to be reminded of why said nickname exists, an anecdote which the Sportscenter anchor(s) will almost certainly use to bookend the highlight reel itself.
Everyone hates Tyler Hansbrough, and it’s pretty obvious why. Because an ESPN-personality like Rick Reilly would actually write a column about the awesomeness of Tyler Hansbrough. Yeah, that’s it. That Reilly’s column defending Hansbrough even exists is enough for me to loathe the both of them.
(See how nicely the words “Reilly” and “reality” play off one another in the headline? That is intentional.)