The League

Michael Kun

Michael Kun

Co-author of The Football Uncyclopedia. He is also the author of six other books and is a practicing attorney.

No excuses for Albert


If Albert Haynesworth has a serious medical condition that is affecting his ability to play right now -- the rumor is that he may have a condition known as "rhabdomylosis" -- then we should all be sensitive to that condition, hope that it's treatable, and hope that Haynesworth will be back on the field playing at full strength soon. None of us wish him or any other player ill health.

But whether Haynesworth has that condition or not, it doesn't excuse most of his conduct unless one of the symptoms of the condition is poor character or poor judgment.

If Haynesworth has a health condition, it doesn't excuse him from stomping on Andre Gurode's head back when Haynesworth played for the Titans. And don't say it's not fair to raise an incident from four years ago. We're talking about character issues here, and four years wasn't that long ago.

If Haynesworth has a health condition, it didn't excuse him from signing a $100 million contract with the Redskins, only to appear to give a half-hearted effort and trash the defensive scheme after a loss to the Giants last November, saying he wasn't sure if he would come back if the scheme wasn't changed.

And it doesn't excuse him for his conduct since learning that the team in fact would change its defensive scheme, going from a 4-3 to a 3-4.

Haynesworth accepted an ungodly amount of bonus money this past off-season, only to criticize the 3-4 scheme, demand a trade and refuse to show up for voluntary workouts. And don't tell me that "voluntary" workouts mean just that. When you sign for $100 million, you're expected to be a leader of the team. You should be the first person to arrive at voluntary workouts. You're the one who's supposed to set the tone, especially when you know there's going to be a new defensive scheme that everyone needs to learn.

Ray Lewis doesn't skip voluntary workouts.

Peyton Manning doesn't skip voluntary workouts.

Drew Brees doesn't skip voluntary workouts.

What's happened since Haynesworth skipped those workouts? Well, you know what's happened with training camp. You couldn't miss the stories if you tried -- although you might have missed Haynesworth saying just this past weekend that he won't be coming to workouts next off-season, either.

The Redskins' $100 million man, the one who should be the team leader on defense, isn't in shape and only lately appears interested in learning the new 3-4 scheme. He's not committed to the team or to his teammates. Instead, he's shown he's committed to one thing -- cashing his paychecks.

Now, there's been some discussion that perhaps the handling of the Brett Favre and Albert Haynesworth situations demonstrates an unseemly double standard in the NFL. Few are jumping on Favre for only returning to training camp last week, while everyone and his cousin is jumping on Haynesworth for his antics.

First, the situations are not identical. Favre hadn't already cashed some of his checks for this season; Haynesworth did.

Second, Favre's option if he chose not to come back was retirement (though anyone paying attention knew he was going to come back); Haynesworth was looking to play for another better team rather than try to make the team he signed with better.

Third, Favre already knows the offensive scheme he's going to lead; Haynesworth doesn't know the 3-4.

Fourth, belying the entire premise of this discussion, both Favre and Haynesworth both mishandled their very different situations, albeit in different ways. Both put themselves ahead of their teams and their teammates.

But fifth and most importantly, the way Brad Childress and Mike Shanahan handled these two different situations tells us little about the NFL, but quite a bit about Childress and Shanahan. Childress allowed one player to lead him around by the nose, which may end up biting Childress on another body part this season or next. Like it or not, Childress has probably lost his players' respect. Shanahan has shown everyone on the Redskins that this is his team and that he kowtows to no one player. That is going to pay off for him, if not this season, then next -- with or without Haynesworth.

By Michael Kun  |  August 24, 2010; 12:30 AM ET  | Category:  Brett Favre , Minnesota Vikings , NFL , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Please email us to report offensive comments. is kowtow,not cowtow.

Posted by: scrutiny1 | August 26, 2010 7:52 AM

Why is it that with the exception of Peyton Manning that every UT player who has come into the league within the last 10 years has serious character issues? Could it have anything to do with Phat Phil Phulmer and the fact that he has no concept of right or wrong and that has serious character issues himself? I mean, there is a reason why awards the "Fulmer Cup" to the college football team who has the most points acquired during the off season for violations of local laws. Just wondering.

Posted by: skipperdawg89 | August 26, 2010 9:32 AM

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