February 28, 2024


Former NFL star J.J. Watt called out the media for a double standard over coverage of players in free agency, pointing to ESPN’s narrative around Shohei Ohtani.

Ohtani has yet to make a decision on which team he will sign with. The Los Angeles Angels, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers appear to be in contention to land the prized two-way player. But reports over Ohtani’s request for secrecy about his meetings with teams have taken some of the intrigue out of the rumor mill when it comes to the former Angels player.

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Shohei Ohtani at the dugout

Shohei Ohtani sits on the bench in the fourth inning during a game against the Detroit Tigers at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on September 16, 2023, in Anaheim, California. (John McCoy/Getty Images)

ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote that the shroud of secrecy around Ohtani’s decision-making is doing a “disservice” to himself and baseball. Olney wrote that his free agency has been “unnecessarily joyless” and “completely antithetical to the way Ohtani competes, the way he loves his craft.”

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith also blasted the way Ohtani is going about free agency, and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo also took a shot at how he’s going about his business.

But Watt responded, suggesting a double standard.

“Athlete does public free agency tour…

“Media: ‘Look at the ego. All about themselves. Attention seeker.’

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JJ Watt on the sideline

Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt is shown before a game against the Los Angeles Rams, Sept. 25, 2022, in Glendale, Arizona. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

“Athlete tries to keep everything private:”

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He wrote the post on X, attaching a picture of Olney’s headlines juxtaposed with Smith’s take.

Ohtani is among the best players in baseball and he will get paid like it no matter where he lands.

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Shohei Ohtani with batting gloves in his mouth

Shohei Ohtani of the Los Angeles Angels walks to the dugout at the end of the top of the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at RingCentral Coliseum on September 3, 2023, in Oakland, California. (Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

He led the American League wit 44 home runs and a .412 on-base percentage. He led the majors with a .654 slugging percentage, 1.066 OPS and a 184 OPS+. He also had a 3.14 ERA and 167 strikeouts. He won his second American League MVP Award.

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