Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise

Last Night's Winner: The Indefensible Albert Haynesworth

Illustration for article titled Last Night's Winner: The Indefensible Albert Haynesworth

That headline passes no moral judgment on Haynesworth. It just points out that the players' union, tasked with appealing any suspension, hasn't done so for him. It's clear: the NFLPA has no urge to defend Albert Haynesworth.


Last Tuesday, the Redskins suspended Haynesworth for the final four games of the season, for the catch-all transgression "conduct detrimental to the team." A threatened holdout because of the 3-4 here, a failed conditioning test there, — it's all part of life's rich pageant. Showing up late (and possibly hung over) to a meeting was just the last straw.

As soon as the suspension was handed down, Haynesworth's agent confirmed their intention to appeal it immediately. And you know what? They probably have a decent case. The Skins handed down the maximum penalty allowed under the CBA, and did it without issuing a formal warning first. That's the kind of thing that makes the NFLPA rep laugh, call up the league rep and say, "C'mon," and the suspension is knocked down to one or two games.

And yet that didn't happen. Because nothing's actually happened. No appeal hearing, no nothing. The union has the right to demand an expedited hearing within seven days of an appeal being filed, yet they apparently haven't bothered. To the Washington Post's Jason Reid, pressing for a quick hearing

was not in his best interests or that of all the league's players...Rushing Haynesworth's appeal in front of an arbitrator makes no sense from its standpoint, especially during a time of negotiations for a new labor deal. To say the least, Haynesworth is not a sympathetic figure, so it would seem to benefit the union to deal with this matter out of the public glare sometime after the regular season ends.

Not even the union, whose job it is to represent Haynesworth, wants to fight that battle. It's like a court-appointed lawyer refusing to show up to the courthouse because he thinks you're not worth defending.

So Haynesworth is likely done in Washington, after just two partial seasons and $35 million down the drain. But with the union content to sit this one out, the Skins won't have to pay him the $847,000 that would be his last four game checks. Recouping any money from that awful contract? Call it a financial victory for Dan Snyder, his first since...?