ESPN Writer Rick Reilly's Religious Jabs at Jimmer Fredette Outrageously Unjust

Scott LambsonContributor IIIMarch 27, 2011

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 24:  Jimmer Fredette #32 of the Brigham Young Cougars drives against Kenny Boynton #1 of the Florida Gators during the Southeast regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at New Orleans Arena on March 24, 2011 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

After reading Rick Reilly's column this week entitled "Jimmer Grows Dimmer," my first thought was to wonder why a national award-winning sportswriter would use Jimmer Fredette's religion to make fun of him?

When you are critiquing a player's game, shouldn't the stats be enough?

However, I then realized that it's always been this way with BYU. When it comes to BYU, the university and the Mormon church are inseparable.

Some writers will be respectful about BYU and their religion; some, like Rick Reilly, will use it as an opportunity to kick a player, or team, when they're down, and while they are at it, try to get a few laughs at the religion's expense.

Here are a few of Rick Reilly's religious mentions about Fredette's game.

"You can take off those "Romney-Fredette in 2012" T-shirts now. Except for a stretch in the middle, when he was brilliant, Fredette was brutal."

I get it Mr. Reilly, Mitt Romney is a Mormon too! Hilarious!

"He committed six turnovers and wandered aimlessly through the lane on defense like Moses in the desert. I've seen dead people play better defense."

So Moses was wandering aimlessly? Thanks for the biblical insight!

"Great kid, though. Polite, smart (good chess player, whiz at Sudoku), studies his Bible in hotel rooms. Maybe that was the problem."

So Jimmer Fredette's bible study was maybe the reason he played a bad game against Florida? I never thought about it that way? Interesting observation Mr. Reilly.

"Fredette and the largely Mormon BYU Nation should've never been made to come to New Orleans. You can sin just by osmosis here."

Sin by osmosis? Weird!

"You should have seen some of them on Bourbon Street, the freshly scrubbed Cougars fans, horrified to find themselves among the window strippers, the hurricane chuggers and the bead catchers. Then again, some of the comparisons BYU fans were making about The Jimmer this week made you think they deserved it."

I bet you enjoyed watching those Mormons, Mr. Reilly. Did they have their shirts tucked in as well? Tell us more.

"To his credit, he'll have more help in the NBA than he had this season at BYU. His best rebounder, Brandon Davies, was thrown off the team for violating BYU's no-booze, no-sex, no-caffeine honor code."

So if any BYU player had one bite of chocolate this year, they would have been kicked off the team? Thanks for clarifying that in your critique of Jimmer Fredette's basketball skills, Mr Reilly. 

All religious mentions aside, I do agree with Reilly that the Florida game was not Jimmer's best game, yet it was hardly a reason to throw Jimmer under the bus.

What Reilly fails to mention in his article is everything that happened BEFORE the Florida game. It's like attacking Larry Bird in 1979 for losing in the NCAA finals, while ignoring everything Larry did to get unheralded Indiana St. to the final game.

Reading Reily's article one would think BYU had to win the whole thing to legitimize Jimmer Fredette and what he accomplished at BYU during his college career. Reilly took one game out of 37 and decided to write a hit piece about it.

And this coming from ESPN's nationally award-winning columnist?


The entire article is also so contradictory that it makes you wonder what exactly was the real intent of the author?

While he absolutely rips Jimmer's offense and defensive ability, he also compares BYU's other players to pizza delivery guys?

So according to Reilly, five bad players made it to the Sweet 16 and lost in overtime?

Sounds like an overachieving bunch that should be praised, not mocked.

And lastly, why would Reilly choose to print an anti-Jimmer quote from obscure bench warmer, Nick Martineau? A BYU player that hardly played any minutes the entire season?

"The weird thing is, [his defense] has gotten progressively worse over the year," says Fredette's own teammate, Nick Martineau. "From the start, he's never really been accountable to it, but it's just gotten looser as the year's gone on. But he can play defense. He really can. He'll definitely tighten it up for the NBA."

Thanks Reilly, for throwing Martineau under the bus as well. Why you even decided to print that quote, which definitely does Martineau no good, is beyond me. I doubt if he even said it, at this point.

How does an ESPN award winning columnist come away from the BYU sweet sixteen game, with a quote from Nick Martineau?

When his intention is to write a hit piece, that's how.


When warranted, there is nothing wrong with being critical of Jimmer Fredette's game, or BYU's rules for that matter.

But there is something most definitely wrong with Rick Reilly writing that maybe Jimmer's bible studying was the problem with his basketball game.

Why would Rick Reilly choose to go that direction?

Only he knows.


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