When I heard Nick Reid's comments toward his Kansas University football teammates Saturday - particularly his offensive teammates - I'll admit my eyebrows raised to the top of my skull.
My first thought? Uh-oh, he's going to have to run some stairs for this. Threatening to break a teammate's nose is no way to build camaraderie during a troubling time.
More and more, though, I find my first thought to be straight-up wrong - just like my first thought that Michael Jackson simply was a misunderstood man.
For those who missed what Reid said about his offensive teammates after Saturday's 19-3 loss to Oklahoma, get your spectacles out. The comments are pretty good:
¢ "I think I'm ready to go out and get in a fistfight with them, but that gets back to pointing fingers, and I'm not going to do that."
¢ "We're out there busting our butts. They need to play with more heart."
¢ "I'm exhausted. I felt like we were out there the whole game."
Not exactly the cliched stuff the KU football program trains its players to say. But here's why Reid has every right to say what he did: Because no teammate of his has any room to ever call him out about anything. No one on that team can chirp like Reid, because no one will back it up every single week like Reid.
Reid has 69 tackles in six games, 16 for a loss and three sacks. He said before the season he wanted 10 tackles per game, and he has done it every week but two. He had nine against Texas Tech, and against Kansas State, he had six tackles, three tackles for a loss, an interception and a forced fumble.
KU coach Mark Mangino, who claimed Sunday that he didn't see Reid's comments, didn't seem to care what his star linebacker had to say anyway.
"He's a leader of the team," Mangino said. "He needs to lead out on the field, and whatever it takes to get our guys going, he needs to do."
I can recall three times now where Reid has been brutally honest out of frustration and helplessness, and that's not a bad thing. After the Kansas State game, he channeled his anger at K-State running back Thomas Clayton, whom KU knocked clear into the land of afterthoughts after Clayton demonstrated loose lips to the media beforehand.
After the OU game, though, there was no whipping boy on the other sideline. So the KU offense and its 97 total yards got the brunt.
Truth be told, Reid probably wouldn't really sock any teammate in the nose. He claims he doesn't want to point fingers. He WAS out there pretty much the whole game. And to say the offense needs to play with more heart actually is a compliment - it's an endorsement that he truly believes the talent is there to get things done.
Some outsiders wouldn't agree, and they consequently would think Reid's comments pour salt in a nasty, hopeless wound.
But if Reid wasn't spouting off baloney - and I don't think he was - it could be beneficial for the Jayhawks' stretch run.
The recipients just have to listen.