Murray had already signed a lucrative contract to play professional baseball, but the Cardinals gave him a whole new option to explore last year. And Murray decided to cast his lot with the NFL despite a warning from one of the TV talking heads that he was making a “colossal mistake.”
Kyler Murray’s first choice was baseball
Kyler Murray was a multi-talented scholastic athlete who could have signed with a Major League Baseball team rather than choosing the college route. But baseball came calling again in 2018 once Murray had transferred to Oklahoma after playing quarterback at Texas A&M in 2015.
After the Oakland Athletics made Murray a first-round draft pick (ninth overall) in 2018, he signed for a $4.6 million bonus that allowed him to retain his football eligibility with the Sooners. But once he entered his name into the 2019 NFL draft coming off a Heisman Trophy season, Murray faced the biggest decision of his life.
And then the Arizona Cardinals more or less made the decision for him. By selecting Murray No. 1 in the NFL draft, the Cardinals guaranteed him money that dwarfed what the A’s could risk on a prospect who might not reach the majors for four or five years.
Sports Illustrated reported that the A’s put $14 million of guaranteed money on the table. However, the Cardinals offered a $23.5 million signing bonus as part of his $35 million rookie contract.
Murray returned the $4.6 million to the A’s and never looked back. He’s now in his second stellar season for Arizona, where the 5-foot-10 quarterback has thrown for 46 touchdowns and run for 15 in his first 30 NFL games.
Rob Parker has had some awful takes on sports
Talk shows on the big sports network employ a variety of journalists and former players to discuss topics of the day, with Skip Bayless and Stephen A. Smith arguably the best-known of the bunch. Rob Parker, who’s also worked as a sports columnist in Detroit, frequently appeared alongside those two during his time at ESPN and then moved on to Fox Sports.
As far as “hot takes” go, Parker has a history of offering up some clunkers, including an awful attempt at humor that cost him his newspaper job in late 2008. The Detroit Lions were heading for an 0-16 season under head coach Rod Marinelli, whose son-in-law was the defensive coordinator. Parker asked Marinelli whether he wished that his daughter had “married a better defensive coordinator.”
Worse, Parker unleashed a nasty attack on Washington Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III in late 2012.
“He’s not real. OK, he’s Black, he kind of does the thing, but he’s not really down with the cause,” Parker said on ESPN’s First Take. “He’s not one of us. He’s kind of Black but he’s not really, like, the guy you want to hang out with because he’s off to something else.”
Parker rambled on about Griffin having a white fiancée and being a Republican as though neither was acceptable for a Black man. An ESPN spokesman called the comments “inappropriate” and said the network was evaluating its next steps. Midway through a 30-day suspension, ESPN announced Parker would not return.
Rob Parker warned Kyler Murray that the NFL would be a ‘colossal mistake’
The No. 1 problem with sports talk shows is that the participants are expected to put opinions out there that will get the show noticed. The notoriety is sometimes not flattering, which is what happened to Rob Parker in the Robert Griffin III fiasco.
In February 2019, Parker had a take that wasn’t controversial. However, it was dead wrong. He went on a Fox Sports show to say Kyler Murray should forget about the upcoming NFL draft and stick with baseball.
“This is obviously his passion, but he’s making a colossal mistake,” Parker said.
Much of his argument was rooted in Murray’s relatively diminutive stature despite the fact that Russell Wilson was succeeding with the Seattle Seahawks.
“While I understand why he did it, I think that baseball, long-term, would be better health-wise, career-wise, money-wise,” Parker said. “And there is no excuse for why he can’t make it in baseball (that can be pegged) to any kind of physical attributes.”
It’s a hot take that went permanently cold by the time that Murray throw for more than 300 yards in each of his first two NFL games.