Aug 23, 2010

Every morning, Post columnist Tracee Hamilton discusses the most amazing and outrageous news from the world of sports.

The mark of a good leader is that they grow and adapt. They find ways to motivate each employee and obviously Coach Mikie never learned this. He is too old school and wed to the head coach being feared and we do it my way. Sorry that method doen't work in combat, doesn't work in the business world and doesn't work in sports. Fat Albert was told one thing by Danny Boy. He saw how divas are treated on the Redskins ie CP and Cooley and believed Snyder's con job and signed. After one year Snyder allegedly gave full control of the team to Coach Mikie and things changed. 3- 4 defense and Coach trying to assert control and his manhood. Let me ask if you and Sally Jenkins got job offers from NYT and 7 figures and were told you only had to write three columns a week and you would be free on any editorial interference. So you sign and after a year the CEO of the NYT brings in a new editor and she/he has full control. You now have to write five columns a week, show up at the office and you will have to write a column every now and then about a subject of our choosing. Oh and only say good thing about the Knicks. How would you feel?

Whoo boy. Asked and answered. I wouldn't like it, but I'd do it, because I'm an EMPLOYEE. I might look for another job, I might quit, but what I wouldn't do is not show up except to do a crappy joband bitch in the meantime. That's such a weak, weak argument that I can't believe it's still out there. Job isn't going to way you thought it would? Take a number.

The mark of a good HUMAN BEING is that they grow and adapt. I can't believe the people who want to give this lump a pass for everything.

And good morning to everyone (else).

Coverage abounds on the Mids, Cavs, and Terps. Where is the Hokie coverage? Methinks that it is another cost-cutting move by the paper. If they think Blacksburg is too far away, or that they are not the biggest draw in Northern Virginia, watch how many necks from Tech show up on Labor Day at Fed Ex. Travesty , I tell you, travesty. Hokie 72.

Methinks you are wrong. Careful readers of this chat know that the Post lost its correspondent rather suddenly and is getting ready to hire a replacement. The timing is terrible but can't be helped.

It's hard to believe he doesn't have at least an inkling of how he's perceived by the outside world. I have friends all over the country, and the outrage and disdain is universal. Is it truly only about the money, at least some of which he appears to have gotten under false pretenses? Or does he truly believe himself to be the injured party in this mess?

See above; not everyone is outraged by this guy. Which just stuns me. There were fans slapping hands with him every day at camp. I try very hard to see both sides of any argument but I have to admit, I cannot feel bad for him. Just can't.

Don't you think Sally is being entirely too hard on Big Al, expecting him to read a book and all? Perhaps The Danny can hire someone to read the book to him. I'm thinking as a bedtime story. Or maybe to keep him occupied during the first half of the next preseason game.

There we go. A laugh from all this, which is what we need.

While my head says Mike Wise is right, my heart says NO WAY should Shanahan give in to this infantile megalomaniac! Right now he has the tean and fans. It's bad enough that, apparently, he can't be fined for these shenanigans. Letting him get away with them shenanigans, not to mention his disrespect of the coach and the team, would just be wrong on so many fronts.

Well, I agree. Maybe it's from being raised by a tough father, I don't know. But this guy is just out of control now, and even his teammates who've been neutral as sick of it. And he doesn't care.

I have a 9:30 meeting so thanks for taking my early question. Haynesworth clearly doesn't get it. Does he really think that the Redskins offered to pay him all that money because he's a great guy? What he seems to have forgotten is that they pay him (and every other player regardless of salary) for two things: to play hard and to help the team. He demonstrated last season, this off season and now in pre-season that he isn't willing to play hard. He clearly doesn't see himself as part of this team but rather as a one man show who happens to be wearing the same uniform as a bunch of other guys. His sense of entitlement and lack of esprit de corps is galling. I say cut bait, sit him for the rest of the season and unload his contract ASAP. I'm afraid this is all part and parcel of the same mindset exhibited by LeBron with "The Decision." It's all about them all the time. The question is how do you assemble a team in any sport from a group of athletes who can't see beyond themselves and their best interest? Your thoughts?

I've been pondering this question a lot. I can understand the hesitation to cut him because it gives him exactly what he wants. On the other hand, everyone in the organization is sick talking about it, especially the coach. There are only two ways this ends: He gets in line, or they dump him. If Shanahan can't achieve the first, the second will start looking better and better.

As a local non-Skins fan, I'm gonna just sit back and enjoy the fight.

Yes, if you aren't invested in the outcome -- or have to write about the battle -- it would be fun to observe. I envy you, my friend.

Any rethinking of your perception that The Danny has changed after the firing of Zack Bolno?

I don't know enough details to answer that yet. I really hate seeing Zack go, I can tell you that.

Seriously, if Strasburg is hurt, then all I want to know is when does Capitals camp open up.

Well, the Wizards also open camp, and college football is right around the corner. All is not lost, buckaroo. (Unless you hate those sports, in which case I can't help you.)

"This is a man so committed that as a college quarterback he nearly killed himself playing in the spring game at Eastern Illinois, when he stayed on the field despite a spearing hit that shoved his kidney behind his spine and split it open." I don't think this is a sign of great intelligence, I think it's a sign of extreme stupidity. I also take great issue with today's Jenkins column. Haynesworth's condition is not a sign that he came into camp in bad shape. He lost quite a bit of weight. The criticism that is somewhat warranted is that he didn't work within the team's framework and certainly he is not a great teammate. However, if he indeed has the stated disease, working out in extreme heat and overtaxing the work (which football coaches routinely do, perhaps, though, not Shannahan) is not recommended. I played hs and college football from 1966 to 1973. The things coaches did to me in that era where nothing short of criminal. The deaths of some players recently suggests that coaches still don't understand the unnecessary stress that overworking in the heat places on large bodies, some stress of that ilk lasts for months and sometimes almost permanently damages a body. Shannahan's "tough guy" image has taken a blow from my perspective with this recent attitude that he had a "headache". And he still seems to be dismissing the severity of Haynesworth's condition.

Your point about working a big guy in extreme heat is a valid one. The trainers are going to be crazy careful now because of those deaths you've mentioned. But no one made him work despite his knee injury and the recent illness -- we're going to call it R on this chat so I don't constantly have to look up the spelling. AND Shanahan let him play despite the fact that he says he won't play guys who don't practice. To me that was a sign that Shanahan was bending a little. But the third quarter wasn't good enough, I guess.

The "headache" thing could be dismissive, but coaches also don't like to talk about injuries. Professional sports is one group that welcomed the new stringent medical privacy laws because it allows them to cover up pretty much anything. Is that the case here? Perhaps not. Albert, at any time, could have told any one about his R, if he didn't like the headache talk. Albert has the ability to get his side out there and chose not to until after a loss, when he staged his little hissy. I just can't get on board with this guy.

Why the first chatter limited himself/herself to you and Sally? I'm thinking somehow it must be a "he." Your colors are showing, sir, or madam, on theoff chance it's a "she."

I wondered about that, too, but Sally and I have hammered Haynesworth while Mike Wise has taken his side so I chose to hope that that's why Sally and I were grouped.

No "Skins are Super Bowl-bound" posts this morning?

I haven't found any but I'll keep looking.

Now we are hearing that Haynesworth actually has some medical condition (that hasn't seem to be explained well)? I don't know what to think or believe any more.

Go to Redskins Insider; it's explained there VERY well. I'm not sure, as I said above, why the Skins didn't just say this, and why ALBERT didn't just say this.

No I don't want to give him a pass but lets look at the real world of being a NFL player. You can sign a contract for 5 years and after the first couple years they can cut no matter how well you perform. You could be the league MVP and 2 time pro ball player. No I played sports at an elite level back in college I was a member of the US rugby team, ran track in high school and palyed CYO football. I was also CO of a SEAL Team before I retired. My high school track coach made Shanie look like Jim Zorn, CYO football coached believed in out doing Woody Hayes but my rugby coaches understood motivation and leadership. Have you ever asked a man or a woman to follow you combat and make the ultimate sacrifice? Ever written letters to the survivors? Than sorry you don't have a clue about leadership and either does Shanie or his staff. I don't condone what Fat Albert has done but he has been treated as a diva since he was what 10yo. What other recourse does he have after being lied to by Danny Boy and dealing with the second coming of Woody Hayes. Typical garbage from a stick and ball sprts reporter/blogger. Football isn't a matter of life and death. Most sports aren't but real leadership does make a difference. Would Coach Bellicheck or the Indy Colts coach pull this cae man stuff? No!

I'm posting this because you've submitted it so many times. I have nothing but admiration for anyone who serves our country but I don't believe there is only one way to become a leader. But you're entitled to your opinion, so here it is.

As will be obvious from this comment, I'm not a serious sports fan, but Ido like to stay current on DC sports, in part to better interact w/my clients. (Thanks for helping!) I went out of town for the weekend, and when I walked into the office this morning, I thought someone had died, or perhaps our company was shutting down. Turns out Strasburg and the Redskins were the source of all the gloom and doom. I'd really like to say, hey, everyone, these are only games -- get a life! But I realize that, for many of them, this is a major part of their lives. For their sakes, I hope their teams right themselves soon.

It was a strange day Saturday, sitting in the press box watching the Ravens game and getting updates about Stras from Boz, who considered driving to Philly when eh got the news.

I didn't think the preseason game should have been that depressing to Skins fans. They are going to have a hard time against top defenses like the Ravens. LJ did not have a good game. They were never going to go 20-0 (including preseason). The one reason for Skins fans to be depressed was the injury situation.

As for Strasburg -- for Nats fans, that is very depressing. If Strasburg turns out to be an injury-prone softie, the Nats are in trouble. There are a lot of eggs in that basket. Do I think that's the case? No. I believe the explanation that his crazy changeup requires him to position his arm in such a way that a nerve could be pinched, which would cause temporary discomfort. The shoulder, to me, is far more troubling but so far, so good.

The real question is, when will the kid glove treatment end and they let him sink or swim on his own? Won't be this season, certainly.

If the coach is sick of talking about Haynesworth, he should stop talking about him. He should talk to him as needed but otherwise ignore him regarding media. If asked about Haynesworth, he should respond, "Next question."

That'll stop half the problem. But the questions still will be asked. He could certainly do that, though.

Some players already freeze up the minute you mention his name, believe me. I can't say that I blame them, but when a player makes those remarks, you HAVE to ask about it. They don't have to answer, but we have to ask.

Hi Tracee - How about those Mystics?!

God love 'em.

Does he think he can win a PR battle by going to the media and trying to play the poor me card? The man has made more money than most of us ever will, doing something that he supposedly loves. As far as I'm concerned- he should be out there every single day and every play in the pre-season until a team of doctors says that doing so could risk his life. And to say he's below playing in the 3rd quarter? That just eats at me. That pretty much tells me that if the skins were apparently not in a game- say down by 21 starting the 4th, he would argue he's above playing in a game where they have no chance. WORST MISTAKE OF A PLAYER.... EVER. (and there have been some pretty bone-headed players in the Snyder era).

I think he DOES believe people will feel sorry for him, and if you read this chat you'll see some people do. The last straw for me was announcing that he wouldn't take part in the offseason program NEXT season. They haven't played one real game yet and he's pulling that? That is such a giant finger to his teammates, I can't tell you.

Tracee, We don't have to examine this debate like we are: Who's wrong? Who's right? Who's being a baby?, etc. Can't we agree that they both are acting like children? Haynesworth is a spoiled, but talented, diva. The Skins knew that when they signed him. What they also knew was that if it could be personified in physical form, Shanahan's ego was easily big enough to replace Fat Albert in the nose tackle slot. And you knew he wasn't going to handle this well given his reputation of belittling players who crossed him in the past. These guys have both handled this situation very poorly, and it's yet another example of the Skins being run by incompentents that they didn't apparently forsee problems when they hired an egomaniacal coach to run a team filled with large, highly-paid personalities.

I think there is some truth to what you say, but see above. I still think Albert tips the scales (no pun intended).

No. He'd just use up his players, play them while they're suffering the after effects of a concussion and then cut them when they're used up. Ask Ted Johnson.

good point

As Boz correctly pointed out, Jim Palmer, at the age of 21, looked like he was through. He went through two seasons where he could barely pitch at the minor league level, much less the majors (after having won 15 games and a World Series game over Sandy Koufax at the age of 20). He bounced back to have a long successful career on the mound and in his underwear.

Yes, agreed, it's too soon to tell with Strasburg. I truly don't believe Saturday's hiccup is anything to worry about. The shoulder ... maybe because that's  a subject dear to me right now, but the shoulder might be. But he's SO young. Patience is the key.

If Wilbon and Mr Tony had written columns I would go after them. Too many sport journalists and columnists buy into this head coach line of bull. We don't know what promises Fat Albert was made etc. Just as we don't know what Favre's team mates came down and really said to him. Hey come on and join us or that head coach hasn't a clue about the offense.

As I suspected. That's perfectly fair, thanks.

Like you, Tracee, I stand behind no one in my admiration for our fellow citizens who served (and serve) in the military. But I think that other chatter has gone overboard in the opposite direction. His implication that there is only one kind of leader -- the person who commands soldiers, sailors, marines, and officers with death on the line -- does an incredible disservice to leaders everywhere. More people learn about leadership from teachers, clergy, bosses, and parents than from command officers. More importantly, it is a terrible disservice to our fighting men and women to compare them to Albert Haynesworth. I suspect he's a better human being than professional, but there is still no way to compare his me-first attitude to the folks in the military I know who place the needs of their unit and their country above themselves. Do leaders need to show flexibility? Sure. But to me the best barometer of what is right and wrong is the fact that the rest of the unit is on Shanie's side and not Albert's.

Well said, thanks.

Tracee: I just read Boz's article on how the Nats should shut down Strasburg  for the rest of this year. I happen to agree with him. Keeping him around now would only prove the conspiracy theories that say the Lerners are only in it for the money and that they don't care about the fans. Ending his season now would allow him to come back stronger and better next spring. What say you?

My only hesitation would be the inning count. If they shut him down now, and this turns out to be nothing, they've doomed him to pitch only 160 innings or so NEXT season. If they shut him down every time he has a pain somewhere, he'll still be getting cut off at 160 when he's 40 years old. It's a tough decision, and one I'm happy to let Boz, er, the Nats make. (So great to see Boz Saturday night; worth the horrible trip to FedEx, including the man who fell on top of me on the train ride. That hurt.)

Well, long as usual. FYI, you may have noticed that I didn't post any "topic" chatter today; I don't see the point when you guys and gals dictate the topics pretty well all on your own. So I won't be doing that anymore; you can bring up anything you want. Let's talk tomorrow about...whatever!

In This Chat
Tracee Hamilton
Tracee Hamilton has worked at the Post since 1993, toiling in office obscurity as an editor before someone said, "Hey, you've got a lot of opinions and can write a little. Why don't you become a columnist?"

Her interests range from genealogy to Nordic combined to Kansas basketball. If ever there was a Jayhawk who once flew off a ski jump, she'd know where he was buried.

Her list of pet peeves is considerably longer, but includes Missouri basketball and poor subway etiquette. She welcomes dissenting opinions -- in the way Great Whites welcome open-water swimmers.

First Things First Archive
Tracee Hamilton Column Archive
Recent Chats
  • Next: