Posted: Wednesday December 1, 2010 11:04AM ; Updated: Wednesday December 1, 2010 1:35PM
Jeff Pearlman
Jeff Pearlman>PEARLS OF WISDOM

Derek Anderson handled situation wrong, but why can't he laugh?

Story Highlights

Late in 27-6 loss to 49ers, QB Derek Anderson was seen laughing with teammate

After Monday's game, Anderson and reporter had testy exchange about incident

Anderson got defensive, but he should have said, "Hey, I'm human not a robot"

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Cardinals QB Derek Anderson was quick to point out that getting embarrassed by the 49ers on Monday Night Football is no laughing matter.
AP

Derek Anderson should be ashamed of himself.

There is a way a professional athlete is supposed to behave, and a way one isn't supposed to behave. There's a proper method for responding to criticism, and an improper method for responding to criticism. There's good vs. bad, right vs. wrong, decent vs. wicked.

Again, Derek Anderson should be ashamed of himself.

In the aftermath of his team's embarrassing 27-6 home defeat to San Francisco on Monday night -- during which Anderson was spotted laughing during a fourth-quarter conversation with teammate Deuce Lutui -- the Cardinals' quarterback stood at the podium and had the following exchange with Kent Somers of The Arizona Republic.

Somers: I don't mean to be sarcastic or pointed, but [you were shown laughing on] on Monday Night Football. A lot of fans are talking about that right now. Can you put it in context what was going on?

Anderson: What Duce and I are talking about is nobody else's business.

Somers: But why was something funny when you're down 18 points in the fourth quarter?

Anderson: It wasn't funny. I wasn't laughing about anything.

Somers: The camera showed you laughing.

Anderson: OK. That's fine, that's fine, that's fine. That's fine. I'm not laughing about it. You think this is funny. I take this -- serious. Real serious. I put my heart and soul into this -- every single week.

Somers: All I'm saying is the camera showed ...

Anderson: I'm just telling you right now what I do every single week. Every single week I put my freakin' heart and soul into this. I study my ass off. I don't run out there and laugh. It's not funny. Nothing's funny to me. I don't wanna go out there and get embarrassed on Monday Night Football in front of everybody.

Somers: That's why I'm asking why.

Anderson: I'm telling you right now. We were talking. Duce and I were talking.

Somers: What was the context?

Anderson: I'm done. Sorry.

With that, Anderson walked off in a huff. Which, again, was terrible form.

Here's how it should have gone:

Somers: I don't mean to be sarcastic or pointed, but [you were shown laughing on] on Monday Night Football. A lot of fans are talking about that right now. Can you put it in context what was going on?

Anderson: Sure. Duce told a joke about a four roosters, Emmanuel Lewis and the Wendy's drive-thru. I thought it was hilarious, and I laughed. Duce is a Tongan. Tongans are pretty funny people.

Somers: But why was something funny when you're down 18 points in the fourth quarter?

Anderson: Is that a serious question? Dude, we just dropped to 3-8. We're a terrible football team. I mean, we're really, really bad. Best case scenario, I'm backing up John Skelton next season. Worst case, I'm fighting Liam O'Hagan for a spot on the roster of the Sacramento Mountain Lions. So, in the midst of football hell, why shouldn't I laugh? Laughter doesn't mean I don't care about winning and losing. It just means I'm not a robot. None of us are. I don't wanna go out there and get embarrassed on Monday Night Football in front of everybody. Enjoying a second, however, doesn't mean I'm any less passionate.

Somers: But Derek ...

Anderson: No, hold on. You guys in the media expect us to behave a certain way, and if we don't conform to your stereotypes, you kill us. So we play along. After we lose, we all walk into the quiet locker room, and everyone has to whisper. There's no music, no joy, no nothing. We pretend we're absolutely devastated when, in fact, we're just mildly bummed. It's a friggin' football game. One game.

Somers: I'm not saying ...

Anderson: Seriously, wait. If I throw my 30th touchdown pass but we lose, inside I'm thrilled. Is that selfish? Maybe a little -- but it's the same with every guy in this league. We busted our asses to get here, and individual accomplishments mean a helluva lot. Now, am I allowed to celebrate the feat? No. Why? Because if I do, you guys call me cocky and a me-first anus. So I answer your questions with the lamest clichés imaginable. You ask how I feel and even if I'm elated and euphoric and skipping around like Alfonso Ribeiro, I'll tell you "I'm just glad the team won" and "We'll take it week by week." Why? Because it's what you deem to be correct. Just like laughing vs. not laughing. I'm telling you right now. We were talking. Duce and I were talking.

Somers: What was the context?

Anderson: Emmanuel Lewis and four roosters pull up to a Wendy's. The first rooster looks at Emmanuel Lewis and says ...

Jeff Pearlman can be reached at anngold22@gmail.com. Check out his blog at jeffpearlman.com.

 
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