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Clint Dempsey's Magic Mystery Tour (aka press junket circuit)

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The Sounders' newest Designated Player participated in no fewer than 11 interviews on Monday with everyone from NPR to ESPNFC. We rounded them up in one convenient package.

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

By now, you should be quite aware that Clint Dempsey was making the rounds through New York-based media on Monday. Depending on how you choose to count them, he did somewhere between 11 and 13 interviews, many of them one-on-one and the vast majority going over very similar ground. I wouldn't quite say that if you read/saw one, you read/saw them all, but Dempsey clearly was well prepared and gave very similar answers to mostly similar questions. If you've been reading about him since last Monday's press-conference, there weren't a lot of revelations.

Some of the oft-repeated talking points:

  • He decided to come to MLS not because he had no options in Europe, but because he wanted to come back while he was still in his prime. He also wanted to make sure his kids were raised like Americans, playing tee-ball, hide-and-seek, having Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner with family.
  • No, he doesn't think this is going to hurt his standing with the United States national team. He didn't run his decision past Jurgen Klinsmann, but that doesn't seem to have been a major concern then or now.
  • It took about two weeks for the transfer to come together. Up until then, he had fully expected to complete the final two years of his contract at Tottenham.
  • Dempsey doesn't seem to feel as though he left England with unfinished business. No, he didn't get to play in Champions League, but he says he's comfortable with his EPL legacy.

What was probably more interesting than the interviews themselves was the fact that there was a demand for him to do them in the first place. These were some of the biggest news and sports outlets in the country and they wanted Dempsey, a Seattle Sounders player. It was a pretty cool, so here's links to as many of the interviews as I could find as well as some observations for each.

MSNBC's Morning Joe

If you're not a news junkie or really into politics, you could be excused for not knowing the name Joe Scarborough. As a recovering news junkie myself, I've always liked him.

What we learned: Turns out Joe Scarborough is a bit of a soccer fan. He says he saw Dempsey play at Craven Cottage and he actually sounded like he knew what he was talking about. He even tweeted out this picture:

Cringe-worthy moment: Robert Gibbs is clearly not much of a soccer fan. Barack Obama's first press secretary only asked one question and it was something about "how do kids go from playing AYSO to becoming the best player in the U.S." Well, Bob, you just have to try really hard...

ABC's Good Morning America

Best I can tell this was second on the list in terms of when he did the interview. Josh Elliott, a former Sportcenter host and Sports Illustrated writer, had the show all to himself.

What we learned: Oh my god, Elliott is a total fanboy. It was actually pretty cute, the way he gushed over Dempsey. He's also enormous. Dempsey is a big dude and Elliott towered over him.

Cringe-worthy moment: The only real slip up was when Elliott called it Qwest Field.

NBCSN's Dan Patrick Show

Dan Patrick wasn't actually working today, so this other dude was handling the interview. I could look up his name, but I'm really not that interested because, well, just watch the interview.


What we learned: Nothing. Seriously, this is probably the worst interview Dempsey did all day. OK, I guess they asked about getting a Sounders tattoo.

Cringe-worthy moment: Because the host is still apparently under impression that it's 1996 and it's still cool to call it "futball" (yeah that's how he pronounced it), he wanted to know if he could hang as a NFL kicker. Yep, it was that kind of interview. He also called the United States national team "Team USA" because, like I said, it's 1996 and this is apparently basketball.

Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl

This was probably the most insightful interview and it's pretty obvious that Wahl was hoping to find some new material everyone was missing.

What we learned: Quite a bit actually. Dempsey apparently has a place on Lake Washington, he lived with a host family called "The Flecks" when he was a rookie and, most interestingly, we find out that his first coach at Fulham, Lawrie Sanchez apparently, didn't want the defenders passing to midfielders.

Cringe-worthy moment: Maybe I'm being too nice, but nothing.

Sports Illustrated video

Maggie Gray did this one. It was fine.

What we learned: Sports Illustrated does video interviews. Where do they use them? Their website, apparently, because despite having a partnership with CNN, this was not the interview they used.

Cringe-worthy moment: Again, none really. Some of these people are making it very hard to be snarky.

New York Times' George Vescey

Vescey isn't really a soccer guy (editor's note: Yes, I know he's written a lot about soccer. Meant it more as "not just a soccer guy"), but he is regarded as one of the great sports writers of our time. I should be respectful...

What we learned: The Times photographers are really talented.

Cringe-worthy moment: No joke, there are four quotes from Dempsey in this article. There's almost literally as much space given to Klinsmann as Dempsey.

ESPNFC

Dempsey's former coach, Steve Nicol, and former teammate, Taylor Twellman, were both in on this interview so it was quite a bit lighter than some of the others.

What we learned: Apparently, Nicol is interested in Dempsey paying off a promise the player made almost 10 years ago after being drafted.

Cringe-worthy moment: I vowed awhile back to stop caring when people put "the" in front of MLS, but as the host of a soccer show you should know better. Dan Thomas, you should know better.

ESPN.com's Roger Bennett

This interview attempts to dig a little deeper into the motivations behind coming home and he even mentions that remaining in England felt a bit selfish.

What we learned: There's no good Mexican food in London.

Cringe-worthy moment: Ah, it's fine. No big issues.

CNN International

I'm not sure if the whole thing played anywhere, but all I could find was this clip.

What we learned: Apparently the English are a bit sensitive about the idea that a player in his prime left their league.

Cringe-worthy moment: The lead-in to the interview was about cricket ... I think.

Other interviews

I couldn't find any transcripts or video of the interviews he did on NPR, Associated Press or CBS Evening News. He also apparently filmed a piece with MLS Insider that hasn't aired yet.