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View Full Version : Shocker! A well written Whitlock ESPN article


C-Mac
01-06-2005, 04:44 PM
http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=whitlock/050106
BEWARE OF THE BONUS
By Jason Whitlock
Special to Page 2

Randy Moss isn't the only NBA player masquerading as a football star in Paul Tagliabue's NFL.
That's the beauty and brilliance of the NFL, a league that has done a remarkable job of hiding the fact that it has just as many petulant malcontents as the NBA does, as well as more performance-enhancing drug cheats than Major League Baseball and Olympic track and field, combined.
This wasn't the first time Randy Moss walked off the field early -- or acted like a malcontent.
No one should be all that surprised that Moss abandoned his Minnesota teammates near the end of their seventh loss in 10 games last Sunday, walking off the field as the Vikings lined up for a last-ditch onside kick with two seconds to play.
Randy Moss, self-absorbed?
This is the man who thanked Marshall University for offering him a home by skipping the press conference called to announce his early entry into the NFL draft. This is the man who told the world that he routinely takes plays off, and plays only when he wants to play.
Randy Moss is no Avon Barksdale. Randy doesn't love the game. He loves what the game can do for Randy Moss. And with two ticks on the clock and the Vikings trailing by three but still with a damn good chance to back into the playoffs, the Redskins' game had nothing left to offer Moss. So he headed for the locker room, seizing the opportunity to be the first man in the shower and grab a clean, unused bar of soap.
Surprised? Heck, Moss had done it twice before last Sunday. This latest early exit received national attention only because Minnesota is in the middle of another predictable meltdown and Vikings coach Mike Tice is in jeopardy of losing his job.
Everything gets magnified during a 3-7 slump. We also tend to lose perspective.
Yes, Randy Moss is a coward and a punk and has the leadership skills of a five-year-old Girl Scout placed in charge of Navy Seals. Moss is not a winner. He contaminates and undermines everything with which he comes in contact. Dennis Green, the man who ignored Moss' rap sheet, looked like a genius for drafting the freakish wide receiver when he caught 17 touchdowns, averaged 19 yards per catch and ignited the Vikings to a 15-1 record in his rookie season.
But three years later, partially because of Green's inability to control Moss, the coach lost control of his team, and then lost his job when the squad fell to 5-11. Green, as talented a football coach as there is, tried a full-out NBA approach to coaching in the NFL. He shared the power with his two most talented and influential players -- Moss and Cris Carter -- and it blew up in his face.
I mention all of this to make the point that Randy Moss isn't alone as a cancerous pariah lurking in the NFL waters. Tagliabue's league, with its salary-cap-driven reliance on huge signing bonuses, is developing uncontrollable superstar malcontents at an NBA pace.
Moss walked off the field before the end of the Redskins game because Vikings owner Red McCombs -- at the behest of Green -- gave Moss an $18 million signing bonus (and a $100 million contract) just before training camp opened in 2001, which just happened to be Green's final miserable season in Minnesota.
It's impossible to motivate, discipline or control a young man with Moss' attitude and personality once you've handed him lifetime financial security and surrendered the only piece of leverage you ever had over him.
You can't cut Moss once he's holding $18 million of McCombs' cash flow. You really can't afford to cross him or tick him off, either. You can only beg and pray. NBA coaches -- who deal with teenage and 20-something, shoe-deal-emboldened, guaranteed-contract-fortified multi-millionaires all the time -- have begging and praying down to a science. They call it Zen. And when the Zen doesn't work, they retire and write books about it.
NFL coaches are playing catch-up. They're just coming to grips with the negative influences of gigantic signing bonuses. The league used to threaten and manipulate super-talented jerks such as Moss by threatening to waive them, which would void their contracts and end the stream of money. The NFL wasn't encumbered by guaranteed contracts.
Now, $20-to-$30 million signing bonuses are making un-guaranteed contracts work just like a guaranteed deal. And that brings out the NBA in NFL players.
Priest Holmes is one of the good guys -- and even he has caused his team headaches.
It's widespread throughout the league. The NFL is masterful -- with its petty fines for violating all sorts of petty rules, such as the league's uniform policies -- at hiding the fact that it has little control over its players, particularly its high-profile stars. Take Kansas City Chiefs running back Priest Holmes. He's a legitimately good guy. But Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil and team president Carl Peterson have no idea what Holmes is going to do, day to day. None.
At metaphorical gunpoint (Holmes threatened to sit) just before the start of the 2003 season, the Chiefs gave Holmes a contract extension and more upfront money. (He deserved it.) Holmes shattered the NFL's single-season touchdown record and then disappeared during the offseason and contemplated retirement. He changed cell phone numbers and broke off all communication with the organization. When he finally re-emerged after two months and many frantic phone calls from the Chiefs' brass, Holmes told the team he wanted to rush for 2,000 yards this season and needed to cut down on his number of receptions to do it. (If you check the stats, you'll see that NFL backs who have approached or surpassed 2,000 yards have never been a big part of their team's passing game.)
A high-scoring, wide-receiver-deficient offense that had for three years been built around throwing 70 passes a season to Holmes then had to re-work its philosophy to accommodate its well-paid star. This year, in eight games, Holmes caught 19 passes before he suffered a season-ending knee injury.
You think Allen Iverson is the only superstar with a healthy disdain for practice?
"Practice! We talkin' 'bout practice?"
NFL players spend nearly every free second complaining about practice. Tom Coughlin spent the offseason bickering with his Giants players about practice, and I'm not sure if Coughlin has figured out even now that his team quit on him because of it.
Just like there's a little Allen Iverson inside every NBA player, there's a little Randy Moss inside every NFL locker room. As the signing bonuses get bigger, don't be surprised when all the Li'l Randys come out to play ... and take their balls and go home early when things don't go their way.

Taco John
01-06-2005, 04:46 PM
WHitlock has a lot of well written articles. This is no shock.

Just because Chiefs fans hate the guy, doesn't mean everybody else does. I think he's one of the better columnists on ESPN.

easymobee
01-06-2005, 04:51 PM
Whitlock trumps anyone that writes for the the Denver Post or Rocky Mountain News by a country mile.

This one is a good article too.

And it reminds me of when i really saw Whitlock become the most hated columnist around these parts ( since ive known of the Planet ).

He did that preseason write-up of Ryan Sims that had just about everyone calling for his head.

In Hindsight ... it was right on too.

Ryan Sims Season Stats : 15 Tackles ( 13 Unassisted ) and 2 Sacks.

That sounds about the same as one good game from Ray Lewis.

jcroft
01-06-2005, 04:53 PM
Whitlock is a very good writer and often speaks the truth. I just get annoyed with him <em>constantly</em> playing a race card. And I usually AGREE with him. But still, it used to seem like every topic on his radio show was race-related. Just gets old. Doesn't seem to have been so bad, lately, though.

HemiEd
01-06-2005, 04:55 PM
So does this mean that Randy Moss does not fit the profile?

BIG_DADDY
01-06-2005, 04:56 PM
I think Jason is an assclown but he is dead on with this one.

Fairplay
01-06-2005, 04:59 PM
Randy Moss is a coward and a punk and has the leadership skills of a five-year-old Girl Scout placed in charge of Navy Seals.




I had to laugh at that line. Very good article.

shaneo69
01-06-2005, 05:04 PM
I have always been against re-working a player's contract to reward him for good performance. If I was a GM, I would make that player play out his rookie contract (or in Holmes case, his FA contract) if his agent screwed up and allowed the team to underpay him.

I was against giving Holmes a new contract when all this crap came up before the '03 season (and if we had the search function, it could be verified) because the team always gets screwed when they are forced to re-negotiate like the Chiefs did with Holmes.

So what's the alternative? Allow the player to hold out and potentially ruin your teams' chances? Yes, because there's a big difference between the NFL and NBA, in that the NBA only has 5 players playing, so if you lose your best player, you're screwed. On the other hand, the NFL has 24 players (offense, defense, K, P) who make a difference in a game, so you should be able to make up for one missing player.

I would always put the salary cap above rewarding players who outperform their contracts. Cold-hearted? Maybe, but no player should be put above the team. As much as I hate Shanarat, I think he did the right thing with Portis.

Demonpenz
01-06-2005, 05:22 PM
i remember at marshell randy high stepped into the endzone and was taunting, and the scouts were like "This is what your going to have to deal with" Moss and cullpepper's window at actually contending for a title has to be closing

JohnnyV13
01-06-2005, 05:56 PM
I have always been against re-working a player's contract to reward him for good performance. If I was a GM, I would make that player play out his rookie contract (or in Holmes case, his FA contract) if his agent screwed up and allowed the team to underpay him.




The problem with this philosophy is if a player UNDERPERFORMS his contract, then the team simply cuts him. Why should contract promises only work one way, to the benefit of ownership.

One interesting phenomenon here is that most fans tend to be in favor of ownership when it comes to contract disputes. There are a couple of basic reasons: 1) fans just want to see the games and don't give a woot what the players are paid, 2) when a player holds out the fan's team has less of a chance to win, and 3) Players get paid a lot more than fans, so when a holdout occurs it rubs the fan's nose in his much lower status.

HemiEd
01-06-2005, 06:02 PM
"One interesting phenomenon here is that most fans tend to be in favor of ownership when it comes to contract disputes. There are a couple of basic reasons: 1) fans just want to see the games and don't give a woot what the players are paid, 2) when a player holds out the fan's team has less of a chance to win, and 3) Players get paid a lot more than fans, so when a holdout occurs it rubs the fan's nose in his much lower status."


Yep, that is me. I think they make too much money, I must confess that I do not make 4-15 million per year. I am still trying to get a grip on the fact that George Brett made a million per year! He was incredible but I had a hard time with it. Now it is totally out of control.

StcChief
01-06-2005, 07:07 PM
All contracts should be base + performance. Period.
Base goes up with years of experience.

Signing bonus regulated like the cap.
based on on College numbers.

Parted out over life of contract

Nothing big up front to keep player/owners inline.

jettio
01-06-2005, 07:15 PM
Since Channel 4 showed the Vikes game instead of the Panthers-Saints, it is pretty clear that Moss did not cost them the game. A great play that he made for a long TD was called back for a OL penalty that was a bad call IMO.

And other Vikes wore the goathorns on several other memorable plays.

He should not have left the bench early, but the biggest factor in the Vikings skid this year is Moss's injury.

Moss missing games and then coming back at a reduced capacity had more to do with their drop-off than any supposed bad attitude.

He does have some personality problems, but he worked to be as good as he is and he does compete to win.

A player that is a sore loser is better than one that is complacent about failure.

Cochise
01-06-2005, 07:17 PM
I think he's a primadonna like these athletes he lampoons in a lot of ways.

But, he's right about Moss

shaneo69
01-06-2005, 09:38 PM
The problem with this philosophy is if a player UNDERPERFORMS his contract, then the team simply cuts him. Why should contract promises only work one way, to the benefit of ownership.

So do you really think the Chiefs can simply cut Bartee, McCleon, Barber, Hicks, Woods, Wesley, and Sims this offseason? As much as we'd like to see all those underperformers cut and their salaries removed from our books, Peterson has already said it's not as easy as that. I don't think any of those contracts are working to the benefit of Chiefs management.