By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com
Mike Florio is mad on the Internet, and he just confirmed that on our very airwaves at 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Long one of the NFL’s more prominent reporters and commentators, Florio runs the @ProFootballTalk Twitter account as himself. He decided to use it on Wednesday night to fire an absolute missile at Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy over his reaction to being compared to Patriots Hall of Famer Rodney Harrison.
“Hey Kyle you should get on your knees every night and pray that you will become half the man Rodney Harrison is,” Florio tweeted. Here’s his tweet along with Van Noy’s reply:
Dear Mike, Im pretty happy with the man I am and tonight I’ll pray for you instead! ???? #blessed— Kyle Van Noy (@KVN_03) October 2, 2019
You may think Florio is responding to Van Noy’s own verbal haymakers toward Harrison, right? Not really. During an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Zolak & Bertrand on Wednesday, Van Noy balked at the idea that he’s performing the “Rodney Harrison role” as the Patriots’ vocal supporter.
“I don’t want to be compared to that guy, I’m good,” Van Noy said. “I don’t want to be compared – definitely not to him.”
The tone and cryptic nature of Van Noy’s response indicated that he harbors some sort of personal issue with Harrison, or didn’t want to be associated with Harrison for some unknown reason. Van Noy later tweeted that, as a linebacker, he simply didn’t want to be compared to a safety. That raises the question of why he didn’t just say that in the first place, but to be fair he did say he has “nothing against” Harrison during the interview on Wednesday.
I play linebacker so compare me to Bru, Vrabes, Ninko, Willy Mac, or Mayo.... why compare me to a safety?? Or why compare anyone to anyone?? All love! Nothing but respect for Rodney...— Kyle Van Noy (@KVN_03) October 2, 2019
To suggest that there’s nothing whatsoever to see in Van Noy’s comments on Harrison is probably a stretch, especially when you hear how he said it. But Florio is without question the one who completely overreacted here. And he doubled down on it when he called Zolak & Bertrand on Thursday.
“I just didn’t understand why [Van Noy] would go after Rodney Harrison,” Florio said. “Maybe there’s a relationship there that I didn’t know about, but I don’t think so. I think Rodney was as stunned as anyone else was. It just seemed gratuitous, it just seemed unnecessary.
“[Harrison] didn’t deserve that, and it just didn’t make any sense, and so I reacted the way that you would when somebody attacks one of your friends. I have no regret for doing it, because Rodney is a friend of mine and it seemed like it was completely unnecessary and out of line. And I have a feeling Bill Belichick probably wasn’t a fan of somebody taking a shot at a player he loved as much as he loved Rodney Harrison.”
Did Van Noy’s tone sound like he was biting his tongue as to some negative feelings toward Harrison? It’s fair to wonder why he was so uncomfortable with the comparisons. His discomfort certainly seemed beyond the level of just comparing a linebacker to a safety. But at no point in his comments did Van Noy “attack”, “take a shot”, or “go after” Harrison. Just a baffling overreaction by Florio, and apparently he will stand by it moving forward. When you listen back to what Van Noy actually said, Florio’s tweet and subsequent defense of it come off as how he described Van Noy – gratuitous, unnecessary, and out of line.
You can listen to the full interview with Florio below starting at the 26:45 mark. The question about the Van Noy tweet starts at 34:15.
Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.