The League

Roman Oben
Retired Football Player

Roman Oben

Played 12 years as a tackle in the NFL

Leave the Media Out


Conventional wisdom used to be that players should just "shut up and play football." I believe that still stands. Yet players these days are uncharacteristically lamenting about playcalling, their team identity and how they are utilized by coaches. This ultimately undermines a head coach's ability to control his football team.

When Maurice Jones-Drew described himself as the second highest paid decoy in the league, what I heard was a fierce competitor and star running back who was frustrated after a 41-0 loss to the Seahawks. But this new trend of players openly criticizing their teammates, fans, and coaches has reached an all-time high.

As a native Washingtonian, I secretly mourn each season that my favorite childhood team fails to reach the playoffs. But what's even more disheartening is to see the former players who contributed to the Skins' glory days openly bash their team on talk radio.

Redskins fans are equally frustrated. And who wouldn't boo their team after failed expectations from six head coaches and five quarterbacks in the last 10 years? We know winning cures all, but unfortunately losing creates the doubt and division that leads to a head coach's departure in January.

Players need to close ranks and remember what it is to be a team. Exposing internal politics and voicing frustration about your team to the media is counterproductive for team unity. Pro football is the most competitive sport, so players should keep that competition on the field and not in the newspapers.


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By Roman Oben  |  October 16, 2009; 8:37 PM ET  | Category:  Jacksonville Jaguars , San Diego Chargers , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Hey Roman, nice read and very true!

Posted by: gdanita1 | October 17, 2009 9:29 PM

Can anyone say ANARCHY? Mr. Oben, I could not have written a better and more timely article. It is difficult if not impossible to effectively control an organization with dissention amongst the employees. No one LIKES losing and fans want instant gratification, which makes it more difficult for owners, gms and coaches to fulfill their expectations. However, the players need to simply "stay in their lane". Running to the media, voicing your frustrations on twitter, etc, is not only unprofessional, it should in some cases result in termination. The NFL just like any other professional sport is a business, and the players are employees. In any other business, if you called the media and publicly complained about management decisions, performance or trade secrets, you would lose your job. Once a team actually makes an example out of one or two of these players, by benching them for the entire season, not paying them for a significant portion of their pay, etc. etc., we would see how quickly these behaviors would change. But we all know this is a business and the owners know the players are the oil for the machine, which unfortunately means this behavior will continue and our younger atheletes in HS and college now have these poor role models to emulate. Which is simply another thread of the fabric that is loose in professional sports.

Posted by: articulate1 | October 18, 2009 3:41 AM

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