Forgetting for a second that Owens’ comments that have been criticized were extremely tame, sometimes even perfectly politically correct, but completely misparaphrased by the media for sensationalist headlines (and fed to the target player or coach in the media’s sensationalist interpretation of the comment to cause conflict), and that numerous other players around the league make critical comments that don’t receive even 1% the publicity or outrage Owens did for the same types of comments, let’s have a look at something nobody ever seems to talk about.
Anonymous sources. And in this case, I’m referring to anonymous teammates.
There are quite a few examples of this from all over the league.
What is an anonymous teammate? Well, an anonymous teammate is someone who wants to say something that would get him in trouble but he doesn’t want to be held accountable for it.
And this is just fine with the sports media.
So apparently, if Owens had voiced whatever “controversial” remarks under the condition of anonymity, he’d be fine, and the media would be talking about what a great team player he was because he never attached his name to any “controversial” remarks.
The media protects the anonymous players who bash or criticize teammates or coaches, but rips Terrell Owens for supposedly (and actually not) criticizing or bashing teammates or coaches and having the accountability to attach his name to what he said.
Here are some examples of players who will never have to face the repercussions for their comments:
“Well, when you see DeMarco (running back DeMarco Murray) sliding before getting hit, you tell me. Was that giving full effort?” an anonymous player told the Inquirer. “You see that [stuff], and it makes you wonder.”
“It’s been clear to me that Mario doesn’t care about anybody but himself,” the teammate said. “He followed that up by not giving any effort during the season and complaining about the scheme instead of manning up and saying he played like crap and doesn’t care.”
Has Williams checked out? “Totally checked out.”
“Those guys have to be your team leaders and bell cows,” the player said. “To not give a crap like that shows why teams need to think twice before investing that much in one guy. We could easily have five solid players contributing than one guy who doesn’t give a (expletive).”
“Zero effort,” the player said after one recent game. “The tape speaks for itself. … He takes two steps and stops.”
The player added that others feel the same way and grew “beyond furious.” Still, he couldn’t recall anybody voicing concerns to Williams because nobody believed it’d do any good. He described it as a lost cause, adding that longtime Bill Kyle Williams is the only player who could’ve spoken up to Mario Williams.
One Jet called Tebow “terrible” and unable to step in as a quarterback.
“[Woodley] tells us he works out, but we didn’t see it. He wasn’t in shape. That has to be a reason why he was always hurt.”
According to the anonymous defender, Spagnuolo’s personality was as problematic as his work on the whiteboard.
“He does have that good-guy persona, but he is a control freak and treats people like crap,” is how the player described his boss to The (New Orleans) Times-Picayune’s Larry Holder. “No patience and zero personality. Has a way of pissing players and our defensive coaches off with how he says and does things. (I) think it’s even harder after having (former defensive coordinator) Gregg (Williams), who guys enjoyed.”
In a story using anonymous quotes from teammates, several New York Jets players teed off on quarterback Mark Sanchez in a New York Daily News article.
“We have to bring in another quarterback that will make him work at practice,” said one Jets player. “He’s lazy and content because he knows he’s not going to be benched.”
The question was also posed about the Jets potentially bringing in Peyton Manning if he is healthy and winds up being let go by the Indianapolis Colts.
“Come on. That’s a no-brainer,” a Jets source said. “If you have a chance to get a healthy 36-year-old Peyton Manning and you don’t do it, then you’re stupid. If I could get a healthy 36-year-old Peyton Manning, then, hell yeah, I would trade Sanchez.”
That answer isn’t really news, because 25 or so other NFL teams would respond the same way when asked if they’d like to have a healthy Peyton Manning, even at age 36, running their offense.
And in regards to the Jets, Manning, even in the late stages of his career, would probably be better than anyone who ever took a snap at quarterback for the Jets, except for maybe Joe Namath from about 1965-69.
The real news here is what Jets players think of Sanchez, and it isn’t good right now.
“How can we when he’s not improving at all?” one teammate said. “He thinks he is, but he’s not. He has shown us what he’s capable of.”
Said another in the organization, “So many games, he looked defeated before he ever took the field,” a team source said. “He didn’t have much confidence in what he was about to go do. You could tell throughout the week in practice. He never felt comfortable with some of the things we were doing. It was too much for him.”
An anonymous Redskins teammates reportedly ripped into Griffin when talking to TMZ. “No one is happy … no one gets the hype around him anymore,” the teammate reportedly told TMZ Sports. Griffin’s play has been abysmal — he’s thrown for just two touchdowns and three interceptions in five games this season — but his issues extend off the field, too, according to this teammate. “He’s secluded and it affects us in the game,” the teammate told TMZ. “We don’t have that real rapport. He’s lost confidence and is complacent now.”
The player told Yahoo sports this: “Yeah, we’re loaded. But we have a couple of guys who don’t understand what it takes to win. Just making a couple of plays and thinking that makes you great…sometimes you want to just shake some of these guys and say, ‘Don’t you get it?’”
When he was asked to elaborate which players he was talking about he said, “Ndamukong would be first. He’s focused for 90 percent of the time, but it’s the 10 percent that kills you…With (Suh), he loses his cool and all of a sudden we’re blowing a play or dealing with some controversy.”
”He has absolutely no people skills,” one team source said.
Believed to be a Super Bowl contender in the preseason, Minnesota now is third in the NFC North with a 3-5 record. Players lay the blame for the meltdown at Childress’ feet.
”We know that Childress doesn’t have our backs, so why should we have his?” one player told the Sun-Times.
”We’re playing for us, and we’re winning despite him.”
One anonymous player even claimed Carroll had Russell Wilson throw the ball in that situation because he wanted the QB, not running back Marshawn Lynch, to be the game’s hero.
According to NFL.com’s Michael Silver, “several” anonymous Bengals players felt that Lewis deserved a share of the blame, citing a lack of discipline among defensive players in games, practices, and meetings that has lasted all season long.
“Eventually, this (expletive) catches up to you,” said one player, according to Silver.
Another added: “You put up with enough (expletive) for enough time, guys think they can continually do it.”
Atlanta’s linemen offered no such call to arms, leaving Smith to ask where the Staley moment was from his cast of blockers.
“Our linemen are punks,” one frustrated Falcons player told NFL Media columnist Michael Silver this week.
“You could tell Josh did not know the offense,” one anonymous Vikings player told USA Today of the week leading up to that New York tilt. “Practices did not really go that well that week. But coach Frazier was in the team meetings like, ‘Oh, I think this is the best week of practice we’ve had all year.’ And everyone’s like, ‘What? What are you talking about?'”
According to the report, four members of the Vikings told the publication that Freeman was frequently late to meetings, and was usually among one of the last players in the building. These same traits were reported during his time in Tampa Bay which eventually saw him lose his captaincy of the team before being granted his release.
Freeman was given a $3 million deal by the Vikings, and some members of the team saw the move to start him against the Giants as a desperation move to justify the contract.
“Debacle,” another player said of the team’s quarterback situation per NFL.com. “When they started Josh in that Giants game, we were as confused as anybody.”
A veteran Jets player, quoted anonymously by Newsday, described Favre as a “distant” teammate who, when at the Jets’ practice facility, spent his downtime away from teammates in an office specially designated for him.
“There was a lot of resentment in the room about him. He never socialized with us, never went to dinner with anyone,” the player told Newsday.
Later on Thursday, the Newark Star-Ledger quoted an unnamed player as saying “it’s the quarterback throwing the ball all over the place. And he didn’t suffer any repercussions. He kept doing it. People said [coach] Eric [Mangini] called him out in meetings. I didn’t see it. Eric treated him like he was Brett Favre. A lot of guys didn’t like it.”
”Instead of getting mentally ready for the Broncos,” another Falcon player said, ”we were talking about Eugene. The Broncos beat us, but anyone who says what happened to Eugene was not a factor is lying.”
One unnamed Browns player told NFL.com that the Browns’ organization is “a joke.” Another said, “We are so dysfunctional. These billionaires need to pick somebody and stay with them.”
Washington Redskins coach Norv Turner yesterday decried anonymous critics who were quoted in a national magazine article that says his players no longer respect him.
Sports Illustrated reports in its current issue that defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield challenged Turner’s leadership along the sideline during the 45-10 loss to San Francisco on Sept. 14. It also quotes anonymous players as saying Turner’s release of kickers Scott Blanton and David Akers has failed to intimidate them during an 0-4 start.
“Norv tries to scare guys and act like he’ll get rid of them if they don’t perform, but nobody believes him,” SI quotes one source. “Who did he cut? The kicker? Wow, guys are shaking.”
Stubblefield also reportedly gave practice tapes of his former team, the San Francisco 49ers, to Redskins coaches for comparison. Stubblefield openly criticized Turner’s practices to local reporters as too long during the preseason. Turner denied that tapes were given to the staff and said he barely noticed Stubblefield’s blowup during the 49ers game. Stubblefield refused to comment.
`There were some situations where (Switzer) could have backed Troy better than he did. When that didn’t happen, it cut deep.”
The Washington Redskins have been like a sinking ship all season. And like so many nautical wrecks, the S.S. Redskin apparently developed a leak.
ESPN.com published a story over the weekend full of quotes from an anonymous player who trashed the Redskins’ defensive coaches, cited dissension within the staff and strongly criticized assistant head coach-defense Gregg Williams for his “arrogance.”