DeAndre Hopkins, unsurprisingly, has thrived in his first season with the Arizona Cardinals. Paired with quickly-rising young star Kyler Murray and offensive whiz Kliff Kingsbury, Hopkins has 103 catches for 1,324 yards and six touchdowns through 14 weeks, including an incredible Hail Mary catch to beat the Buffalo Bills a few weeks back.
He also apparently doesn't practice all the time. That's something that goes entirely under the radar in terms of national coverage, but such mini-controversies are the bread and butter of local coverage. Hopkins was asked about it today during his media appearance and gave an extended speech about how he doesn't pay attention to the critics (but his grandpa does) and that anyone who thinks less of him for not practicing every day should come see him play on Sunday.
""Yeah, man, I've heard a lot of a lot of negativity about me not practicing when I first came to Arizona," he said. "I don't watch the Arizona local news and channels and the sports station, but my grandfather, he's an avid listener to everything and every single one. I think, if one of you guys say something bad about me, my grandfather, he's told me. So, I've seen all the blogs and all this stuff, I'm pretty sure some of you guys might have been in there egging it on, but I'm not gonna say any names. "But, there's a reason that I play football and they watch. And there's a reason that people are in positions for a reason. So, I really didn't listen to it. I don't listen to it. I listen to my grandfather, and he was saying, 'Man, Arizona, they really kind of on you right now because you're not practicing and all the critics in the sports people,' But, my grandfather knows who I am, also, and he knows how productive I am on that football field. And he knew what I was going through, and the people who are giving me stuff, they don't know what I was going through or dealing with, and I don't let my news, or really what's going on with me, be publicized for the future.""
He also revealed he charges for any news appearances outside of his standard media availability required by his contract. But if you criticized Hopkins, he'll give you a discount. Via ESPN:
"Hopkins offered to be a guest on local sports shows but said he charges for news appearances, although news organizations make it a practice not to pay for guests; he said he would charge outlets that criticized him a reduced fee."
The man's competitiveness is so permeating that he'll take less money to do something he doesn't want to do just for the chance at defending himself. If I were a radio host in Phoenix who had criticized Hopkins, I would absolutely take him up on this offer (even if paying him to appear compromises some journalistic ethics). It would make for great radio. .