Linebacker or congressional reporter?

From MSNBC’s American Voices with Alicia Menendez this morning, under the header “Republicans criticize Justice Dept. for protecting state secrets in Trump documents”:

(#1) Screen shot: Murray, Broadwater, Menendez, Dowd

Former President Trump’s allies are demanding more “transparency” from federal authorities about the stash of classified records at Mar-a-Lago. “This seems to me the weakest part of their argument,” says CountryOverParty founder Matt Dowd. “The more things are put out, the worse it is for President Trump.” Dowd joined New York Times congressional reporter Luke Broadwater and New York University law professor Melissa Murray to unpack the newly unsealed Mar-a-Lago affidavit.

Broadwater’s reporting was nicely done, but my attention was captured at first by the thickness of his neck, closer to a linebacker’s than to a congressional reporter’s. Are the NYT‘s front-line reporters subjected  to repeated head confinements and impacts, as linebackers and wrestlers are? The sort of thing that would build up solid neck muscles supporting their heads? Are Broadwater’s excellent reporting chops just a cover for a secret — or former — life as a jock who can take a lot of abuse?

Broadwater has what is known, informally and metaphorically, as a bull neck (or bullneck). He’s not as extravagantly bullnecked as some linebackers, but, still, he’s definitely a bullneck boy (about his cheeks I cannot say).

The lexical item, from NOAD:

noun bull neck: a person’s thick, strong neck: a big man with a red face and bull neck.

An illustration of the phenomenon, in more or less pure form:

(#2) Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch in 2019 (AP photo)

The neck muscles involved in such thick necks:

(#3) From the Lecturio site (for med students) on “Muscles of the Neck: Anatomy”; note the SCM muscles especially

The source of the metaphor:

(#4) A Robert Lawson illustration from Munro Leaf’s 1936 book about Ferdinand, a bull who would rather sniff flowers than engage in bullfights

And a better shot of Luke Broadwater, from a NYT story about his move from the Baltimore Sun to become a congressional reporter for the Washington bureau of the Times:

(#5) (photo: Jeff Bill / The Baltimore Sun)

A story in which we learn that

Luke graduated with a degree in writing and a minor in history from Ithaca College, where he was on the wrestling team.

Yes! It’s from wrestling.

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