There’s a scene in the movie “Swingers” where the main character meets a girl at the bar, gets her number, then proceeds to go home and call her repeatedly – ruining any chance he had of ever getting a date with the chick. For some reason, this is what I think of every time I read about the Washington Redskins and their handling of Albert Haynesworth.
I’ll make something clear off the bat: I don’t support Haynesworth, the record-setting contract he signed in 2009, what he’s pulled the last few months and everything in between. The guy has always had a reputation for being immature, face-stomping included. So, the Redskins’ signing of Haynesworth was always a risk. Paying him millions more than anyone else offered was just stupid. However, if the Redskins, or better yet, Mike Shanahan, wanted to ensure they’d get the most out of him, they couldn’t have picked a worse way to go about it.
The balance of public opinion when it comes to financial issues between players and ownership is inherently balanced in favor of the team. For some odd reason, fans think players are completely at fault when they hold out for more money. Without getting into not-so-complex labor law, we’ll just go with that premise for now. In any case, Haynesworth gave fans every reason to dislike him: he showed up last year out-of-shape, missed a
bunch of time, and then took $21 million from the team knowing full well he’d be asked to play nose tackle. Adding insult to injury, he skipped off-season workouts and made no secret of his desire to be traded. In the world of public opinion, the Redskins had the head of Haynesworth on a platter. They could do whatever they wanted with him.
Nevertheless, the Redskins had to screw it up. First off, after Haynesworth showed up in camp (on-time), Shanahan embarrassed him with a conditioning test that he was never going to pass. As that kept him from practicing, he fell further and further down the depth chart with a sore knee. The two-time former All-Pro spent much of preseason playing with the scrubs on the second team (and still played well, albeit against terrible competition). Oh, and then there were the “headaches.” In the team’s final exhibition game, a game usually reserved for guys on the cusp of making the team, he played almost the entire game. Now, they seek to demean him once more by somehow allowing trade talks to leak again.
One wouldn’t expect the man who was close buddies with former President George W. Bush to understand the fundamental rules of economics, but devaluing your best asset in an effort to assert your dominance is a pretty stupid idea.
The Redskins need to make a decision about what they want to do with Haynesworth and live with it. If they are happy being 7-9 without him, that’s fine, but cut the cord now: trade the player (even if it’s the Titans) and at least get something or cut him and eat the money. At this point, you’ve already embarrassed yourself beyond recognition with the way you’ve treated him and how much money you’ve wasted.
If you think Haynesworth can be motivated again, commit the organization to keeping him and try to get something out of the $32 million he’s been paid. Worst case scenario, he loafs around for a few games and makes himself look worse, which again puts the court of public opinion in your favor and allows you to cut him next year when memories of this debacle aren’t so fresh.
Do whatever you want, but do it now.