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Old 10-26-2009, 10:43 PM  
Tribal Warfare Tribal Warfare is offline
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Babb: Larry Johnson’s latest words add to controversy

Larry Johnson’s latest words add to controversy
By KENT BABB
The Kansas City Star

Larry Johnson didn’t say much, but those few words Monday from the Kansas City Chiefs running back further stoked a fire that had been ignited the night before.

Hours after the Chiefs lost 37-7 to San Diego on Sunday, Johnson made several controversial remarks on Twitter directed toward his coach, Todd Haley, and Haley’s lack of football-playing experience.

A message posted on Johnson’s Twitter profile about 7 p.m. stated: “My father played for the coach from ‘rememeber the titans’. Our coach played golf. My father played for redskins briefley. Our coach. Nuthn.”

Johnson continued the postings and, in later responses directed toward his Twitter followers, included inflammatory remarks about gays. In a reference to someone’s profile picture, Johnson called it a “pillowbiter pic” and called the person a “Christopher street boy,” a reference to a predominantly gay and lesbian area in New York’s Greenwich Village.

Then Monday in the Chiefs locker room, Johnson used another slur after saying he wouldn’t speak to reporters.

Johnson, sitting down, told reporters that “I’m not talking till Thursday,” his usual day of speaking with the media.

Then Johnson turned away and whispered, “Get your pillowbitergot ass out of here.”

Haley was asked at his news conference later Monday about Johnson’s comments and said the matter was being investigated by the team.

“How our players conduct themselves with and through the media in a public setting is very important to us as an organization,” Haley said after being asked about Johnson’s use of the slur.

Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, reportedly called for National Football League officials to “take action.” The NFL, according to senior vice president of public relations Greg Aiello, is looking into Johnson’s comments as well.

The Star asked Chiefs officials to speak with Johnson after he said the slur, but he was not made available. Johnson’s agent, Peter Schaffer, told The Star that his client would issue an apology.

Schaffer said that Johnson’s first cousin is gay and that Johnson “is not a homophobe.”

“He just used a poor choice of words,” Schaffer said, “a politically incorrect choice of words, and he’s going to have to apologize for it. And he should.”

Past problems

Johnson’s latest actions follow other incidents since he joined the Chiefs. In 2003, Johnson was charged with aggravated assault and misdemeanor battery for allegedly brandishing a gun. Those charges were dropped after Johnson completed a domestic violence diversion agreement.

Last year, Johnson was arrested twice on assault charges but pleaded guilty to two counts of disturbing the peace and was sentenced to two years of probation. The convictions will be removed from Johnson’s record if he successfully completes probation.

He was granted a clean slate when Haley and general manager Scott Pioli joined the team earlier this year. Johnson, who turns 30 on Nov. 19, had been quiet, optimistic and loyal. He said during training camp that he was determined to distance himself from the “old LJ,” the irritable player who had become known more for his run-ins and mood swings than his considerable football talent.

Then Johnson delivered cryptic comments earlier this month after the Chiefs’ loss to the New York Giants. Johnson repeatedly used the word “ego” to describe the difference between the Chiefs and the Giants, later refusing to elaborate.

That night, Johnson posted a message on Twitter: “EGO … EGO … EGO … EGO”

He turned often to Twitter, expressing hope that the Chiefs might pull out of a three-year funk in which they’ve lost 29 of their last 32 games, and disappointment when the team lost again. Johnson also shared his thoughts on music and movies.

Twitter trouble

Johnson is one of many players with a Twitter page, and he’s not the first to be faced with the temptation of using the site to vent frustrations and share criticisms, some of which can be viewed publicly.

Second-year running back Jamaal Charles said he doesn’t use Twitter, Facebook or MySpace because he prefers to maintain some semblance of privacy. Chiefs receiver Bobby Wade, who registered a Twitter profile last week, said the site offers plenty of opportunities for players — including some opportunities to make mistakes.

“It can be a distraction,” Wade said. “You’ve really got to be careful about what you’re saying.”

After Sunday’s game, Johnson sounded frustrated. His rushing average remained at less than 3 yards per carry. He lamented the team’s lack of success and the change surrounding the franchise, which he said was ongoing throughout his seven-year career.

“This is what this organization has been doing since I’ve been here,” he said. “This is my third head coach in seven years I’ve been here. It seems like this is what we keep doing: going back to the drawing board. We bring in new coaches, new organization, new schemes, new mentality, new attitude.”

Hours later, he posted the item comparing his father — Larry Johnson Sr., the defensive line coach at Penn State University — to Haley, which elicited critical responses from Johnson’s followers. Johnson responded to several of them, most of the time boasting about his money and challenging others to “come play our game ooops forgot u can’t.”

Johnson’s Twitter profile went private early Monday, and some posts have been deleted.

Schaffer said he advised his client to remove the controversial posts. Schaffer said he never tells players what to do but rather guides them. This week, Schaffer said, he will advise Johnson to apologize for his controversial remarks — some of which, the agent said, were taken out of context.

“He was trying to make a statement about his dad,” Schaffer said, “and obviously he didn’t articulate it well. For that, he’s probably guilty as charged.

“But he certainly wasn’t taking a shot at Todd or anybody else.”

Haley’s response

Haley didn’t say Monday whether he expected or hoped for an apology from Johnson. Haley added that he wouldn’t take offense at a player who questioned his credentials as an NFL coach, and he said he was comfortable that his path toward his position was enough to qualify him to lead the Chiefs.

Haley, who is in his first season as a head coach at any level, never played football in high school, college or the pros. Haley was a golf pro and college golf coach during his early 20s. Last season, he was the offensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals, who reached the Super Bowl.

“I’m very proud of the route that I took to get to where I am,” Haley said. “I think I’m here for a reason. I think I’ve earned what I’ve done in the NFL through hard work and through execution and results.”

But now Haley and Pioli face another test. They must decide how to handle Johnson’s latest outburst.

Schaffer said Johnson is a passionate player and sometimes that passion encroaches on his personal life and clouds his judgment. Schaffer, who said he doesn’t condone Johnson’s words, said it is time for Johnson to “learn how to channel some of that passion.”

Schaffer said that as much as Johnson’s outbursts appeared to be part of a trend, it is instead something different.

“I’m not making excuses for him,” Schaffer said. “He knows there are certain things, certain ways he has to say things. This wasn’t the old Larry. This wasn’t an angry statement. It was one out of frustration.

“But we’re going to have to make amends.”
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:45 PM   #2
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Johnson, sitting down, told reporters that “I’m not talking till Thursday,” his usual day of speaking with the media.

Then Johnson turned away and whispered, “Get your pillowbitergot ass out of here.”
This, honestly, is why I cannot deal with pro athletes or locker rooms.

I just can't take that kind of garbage in person. I would react like a grandmother.

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Schaffer said that Johnson’s first cousin is gay
Many of my best friends are black people!
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:48 PM   #3
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So this is basically another article wrapping up the last 24 hours, again?
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:49 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Tribal Warfare View Post
“I’m not making excuses for him,” Schaffer said. “He knows there are certain things, certain ways he has to say things. This wasn’t the old Larry. This wasn’t an angry statement. It was one out of frustration.

“But we’re going to have to make amends.”
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:50 PM   #5
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In my worst Chiefs dream.... Tony Gonzalez and Jared Allen would still be in the league... playing for other teams, while the Chiefs would keep Larry Johnson.

Oh... not a dream? damn.
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:53 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ari Chi3fs View Post
In my worst Chiefs dream.... Tony Gonzalez and Jared Allen would still be in the league... playing for other teams, while the Chiefs would keep Larry Johnson.

Oh... not a dream? damn.
Just think, that money we wasted on Johnson couldve been saved to throw at Jared Allen.
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:54 PM   #7
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Just think, that money we wasted on Johnson couldve been saved to throw at Jared Allen.
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Old 10-26-2009, 10:56 PM   #8
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“He was trying to make a statement about his dad,” Schaffer said, “and obviously he didn’t articulate it well. For that, he’s probably guilty as charged."


attempt at plausible denial...FAIL
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:03 PM   #9
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An ex chief told me this on red friday regarding haley..that players will hold hs not playing against him...
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:07 PM   #10
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I will grant Johnson this only...3 coaches & Carl Peterson Jokery in 7 years, will test anyone.
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:09 PM   #11
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"Schaffer said that Johnson’s first cousin is gay and that Johnson “is not a homophobe"

How many cousins has he had? Incestuous homo
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:14 PM   #12
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Someone should stick LJs head down a toilet and flush.
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by stevieray View Post
An ex chief told me this on red friday regarding haley..that players will hold hs not playing against him...
Huh?
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by stevieray View Post
An ex chief told me this on red friday regarding haley..that players will hold hs not playing against him...
And everyone loved the fact that Herm had played...until it became obvious that's all he knew how to do.
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:26 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by stevieray View Post
An ex chief told me this on red friday regarding haley..that players will hold hs not playing against him...
Sorry, I didn't quite understand the post. Care to elaborate on that, please?
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