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A Defense Of Albert Haynesworth

In every argument, there must be a devil's advocate. Patrick Hruby, writing for ESPN attempts to make a defense for Washington's most despised athlete:

Haynesworth's argument essentially goes like this:

I signed with the Redskins expecting to be a havoc-creating, quarterback-attacking playmaker in a 4-3 defense. That's the role in which I excel; that's the style of play I enjoy; that's what was promised during my free-agent courtship. Only now, the team has shifted to a new coaching staff and a new 3-4 scheme, which basically asks me to eat double-team blocks. Thanks, but no thanks. I'd like a little more excitement. A lot more glory. Please send me somewhere else.

Or as London Fletcher said, "It's a team game." But whatever.

Speaking of impotent rage: Skins supporters, team members or press box critics upset over Haynesworth's intransigence maybe ought to direct some of their ire toward the club's financial decision-makers. After all, Haynesworth wouldn't have so much leverage -- $21 million worth, which last I checked goes a long way, Antoine Walker excluded -- if Washington hadn't been stupid enough to cut such a large check.

Correction: a bonus check. Not a check for playing. A check for agreeing to play. Which Haynesworth did. And now he's a bad guy? For saying yes to a big, fat sack of cash, real-life Monopoly money?

Now this I agree with. Sooner, rather than later, Snyder's profligate ways were going to catch up with him. He finally signed a player who was happy to take his money, and not even show up for work.

Bottom line: Haynesworth doesn't deserve the flak he's receiving. And frankly, the flak is more than a little hypocritical. Fact is, he's doing exactly the same thing his use-and-discard NFL brethren would do if ownership didn't hold all the financial cards; the same thing panicking, overworked sports writers would do if the newspaper industry wasn't bleeding jobs like oil gushing into the gulf; the same thing all of us would do if we weren't running scared in a wheezing, job-poor economy.

So, in better economic times I could take my employer's money and not show up for work? How does that make sense? I should admire Haynesworth because he is demonstrating tone-deafness in a time of economic stress? I find that patently ridiculous. As an athlete, you are expected to perform certain services for the team. Whether it's community service or team events, you are expected to show up. The last time I looked, practicing and playing in football games were probably part of your contract.