Sports News Without Access, Favor, Or Discretion

Brian Orakpo can't quite find the words he's looking for. But the words he did give us help explain why the players didn't get more in the just-ended labor standoff.

All of the wrong words via CSN Washington:

We want to focus on the team. I thought last year and the previous year, we talked too much about individuals that were having problems with the organization instead of trying to go out there and perform well.


On Albert Haynesworth:

He's still under contract, so I expect him to be here. This year, we're not going through all that Albert nonsense. If he's here, if he's not, I don't want to discuss it.

He's a great person and phenomenal athlete when he's on the field and ready to go.

Orakpo doesn't have to throw the faint praise Albert Haynesworth's way. It's altogether possible Big Al's a dick. For instance, he defends himself against sexual assault charges by saying he doesn't like black girls. This is not a thing that great people do.


But Orakpo's other comments are still unsettling, primarily because he talks like a coach. Or worse, certainly in Washington's case: management. It's not Orakpo's concern to talk about Haynesworth being under contract, it's also not right to talk about a member of your union as "having problems with the organization." (The Redskins suspended Haynesworth without pay for four games last year, citing "conduct detrimental to the team," which in this case meant showing up to a meeting a minute late and maybe hungover.) The NFLPA found Haynesworth's conduct last year so odious that they didn't want to defend him in his grievance before the lockout. Consequently, the grievance is still pending.


This is, to be sure, a reflection on what an asshole Albert Haynesworth is, but it also shows us just how little some elements of the NFL union care for organized labor. So did Chris Kluwe's comments on Brees, Manning, et. al. Yeah, Vincent Jackson and Logan Mankins aren't terribly sympathetic, and sure, in their lawsuit they stood to make more money than any doctor or nun in several lifetimes, or what have you. But that's one of the perks of being an NFL player: you get paid well. The averted damages don't get passed along as rebates to season-ticket holders. Whatever Roger Goodell says, fans get charged what the market will bear.


And even though the lockout is happily resolved, with neither side really winning, we ought to care that the players' union is so flimsy, able to be undone by just one fat, sometimes drunken malcontent. In this case, we should side with the millionaires—they're up against billionaires, billionaires who don't have to risk their long-term health to make oodles off the NFL. And, hey, even if you despise Haynesworth, there are far worse boogeymen in the Redskins organization anyway.

Redskins' Orakpo tired of saga, drama [CSN Washington]

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