The League

Jason Maloni
Crisis Communications Expert

Jason Maloni

Senior Vice President with
Levick Strategic Communications
and Chair of the firm's Sports & Entertainment Practice.

It's Fat Albert!


What a fickle town. Washington seems to easily tolerate diva-like behavior from White House officials, members of Congress, and even cable show talking heads. But we can't stomach the childish behavior of a 6-foot-6, 350-pound human being who had 8.5 sacks and three forced fumbles in 2008.

I'm not excusing Haynesworth's behavior. Showing up to camp unfit and complaining about having to play with the second string is unacceptable. Thankfully head coach Mike Shanahan has made it clear who's in charge.

In training camp, Shanahan had an excellent teachable moment for Fat Albert and any future big personalities the Skins bring into the fold. This is Mike's team and the standards are high. Full participation is the minimum that's expected and no one is more important than the team.

But back to Albert, let's place blame where it's due.

Haynesworth could almost ...almost be forgiven for his absurd behavior. He was more than accommodated under the previous head coach.

Under Zorn, Haynesworth was late for practices and team meetings, disrespectful of Zorn and assistant coaches, and vocal about his unhappiness with those around him. There was an animated outburst at Zorn in front of the team, and Haynesworth was openly critical of defensive coordinator Greg Blache after a bad loss to the New York Giants on Monday Night in 2009. Who knows if there was a quiet penalty for either matter but, after the Blache incident, Albert was allowed to start the Skins' next game against the Cowboys.

Redskins fans can't be shocked that they have players who think they are bigger than the team when the team was so dysfunctional for so long. You can't be puzzled your house is full of rats when you leave garbage in the kitchen for a year.

Shanahan knows how to make an example of someone and I love the fact that Haynesworth's fat contract is no disincentive for Shanahan to take swipe at Albert's fat rear end. Good for you, Mike!

Is the situation irreconcilable? No. As Sally Jenkins cited in her column Monday, difficult players under Shanahan have turned things around and become productive. With or without Haynesworth, as long as the Skins improve on 2009's 4-12 season, Shanahan will be given the latitude he needs. Who can argue with someone who sets clear expectations for his players?

With all of the questions in the air there are two things that are certain. Next season, there will be an uptick in OTA participation and the Skins will likely come into camp in great shape.

By Jason Maloni  |  August 24, 2010; 11:04 AM ET  | Category:  Jason Maloni , NFL , Washington Redskins Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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