Parkey’s re­demp­tion tour charms tele­vi­sion hosts on ‘To­day’, but win­ning over dis­traught Bears fans is go­ing to be trick­ier

Chicago Sun-Times (Sunday) - - SPORTS - RICK MOR­RIS­SEY LEAD­ING OFF rmor­ris­[email protected]­ | @Mor­ris­seyCST

And there he was. Fresh-faced, brighteyed, bushy-tailed. Earnest.

Who or­dered Cody Perky?

It was way too early in the morn­ing and way too soon af­ter the Bears’ painful play­off loss for Cody Parkey to be talk­ing again about the dou­ble-doink heard round the world.

But there he was early Fri­day on NBC’s “To­day’’ show, chat­ting with new friends Hoda, Sa­van­nah and Craig. The kicker wanted the coun­try to know that he felt aw­ful about miss­ing the field-goal at­tempt that ended the Bears’ sea­son but that he would sur­vive. Such was the co-hosts’ level of ad­mi­ra­tion for this dec­la­ra­tion that, if they could have strapped them­selves to the Sol­dier Field goal­post and de­flected the er­rant foot­ball through the up­rights last Sun­day, cost­ing them their lives in the process, they would have done so.

What­ever Fri­day’s ap­pear­ance was — an act of con­tri­tion, a plea

for re­demp­tion, a mar­ket­ing cam­paign — it was a bad idea. Chicago is still mourn­ing the Bears’ 16-15 loss to the Eagles, and a large num­ber of fans are still an­gry at Parkey, at his missed kick and at the fran­chise for stand­ing by him in the reg­u­lar sea­son when he was clank­ing field­goal at­tempts off up­rights lit­er­ally left and right. And if God had a hand in the missed kick last Sun­day, those fans would like a word with Him, too.

I don’t want my pound of flesh out of Parkey. He missed his field-goal at­tempt and an­swered re­porters’ ques­tions af­ter the game like a pro­fes­sional should. That was enough.

I don’t think the na­tion needs a “To­day’’ap­proved group hug. I know Bears fans don’t.

They don’t need him to tear his gar­ments and pour ashes on him­self. Af­ter be­ing tipped, his kick hit the left up­right, bounced off the cross­bar and that was that. I’d pre­fer he just move along.

The def­i­ni­tion of be­ing es­tranged from re­al­ity: Be­liev­ing that go­ing on na­tional TV five days af­ter one of the most ex­cru­ci­at­ing losses in Chicago sports his­tory, a loss you played a huge role in, is a good idea. I know Bears fans who would rather have a ro­man­tic evening with a Pack­ers fan’s dairy cow than look at Parkey right now.

Per­haps Fri­day’s ap­pear­ance wasn’t his idea. Per­haps some­one con­vinced him that it would make him seem more hu­man. Per­haps some­one told him that fu­ture em­ploy­ers would be able to see that he could get past the de­ba­cle against the Eagles.

It doesn’t mat­ter. Parkey signed on to do the in­ter­view. He agreed to what­ever the “To­day’’ folks sold him on. Maybe they sold him on the idea that he’d be help­ing all those peo­ple out there who have fallen down in their daily strug­gles and can’t get up with­out the aid of hy­draulics.

If you need a kicker to tell you how to deal with your prob­lems, your life is worse than you even know. I wouldn’t set­tle for ad­vice from any­one less than a full­back.

“Ob­vi­ously, I’m disappointed that I let the fans, my team­mates and the whole or­ga­ni­za­tion down,’’ Parkey said. “But

I’ll con­tinue to keep my head held high be­cause foot­ball is what I do, it’s not who I am.’’

We all know that there’s flesh and blood be­hind that missed kick. We all un­der­stand that Parkey is hu­man and that these things hap­pen. But the foot­ball-doesn’t-de­fine-me speech? Too soon.

Say­ing sorry once was enough. His apol­ogy was widely dis­sem­i­nated af­ter the game. What’s the point of dou­bling down on the downer of the dou­ble-doink?

“I feel worse than any­body about miss­ing that kick be­cause I wanted to make it more than any­body, but at the end of the day, I’m just go­ing to hold my head high,’’ he said. “When things aren’t go­ing my way, I’m just go­ing to con­tinue to keep pos­i­tive and keep swing­ing.’’

“You’re the classi­est of class acts,’’ co­host Sa­van­nah Guthrie said to Parkey. “You went in the locker room, and you an­swered ev­ery ques­tion from re­porters.’’

Fri­day’s in­ter­view looked like an at­tempt by Parkey to gain sym­pa­thy. There’s a chance it wasn’t. Many of his team­mates speak highly of him and his char­ac­ter. But celebri­ties have so bom­barded us with their re­demp­tion tours over the years that our skep­ti­cism lev­els are off the charts.

Chicago still hasn’t had enough time to process what hap­pened against the Eagles, and this guy’s al­ready shar­ing his cop­ing skills with the rest of the coun­try? That’s not how it’s done here. Maybe some­where else, but not here.

And as for his kick­ing ca­reer, same thing: Maybe some­where else, but not here.




Bears kicker Cody Parkey fields ques­tions from Craig Melvin, Sa­van­nah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on the “To­day” show Fri­day. The co-hosts show­ered him with ac­co­lades.


Cody Parkey’s wife, Colleen, also shared her thoughts dur­ing the in­ter­view on ‘‘To­day.’’

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