On Sunday January 6, 2013, the Washington Redskins enjoyed their first home American football playoff game since 1999 against the Seattle Seahawks. On display was their revered rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III, who had made an outstanding contribution to their mid-season recovery and who had led his team into the playoffs.
He had led them, however, as an increasingly crippled player, following a severe knee injury received a few weeks earlier. Spectators knew, even during the regular- season-ending game against the Dallas Cowboys, that Griffin should not have been on the field. His running ability had gone and his throw accuracy was limited because he could not plant his right leg firmly on the ground to direct the throw. But, hey, this was a playoff game on Fed-Ex Field before 90,000 spectators, with an unbalanced owner, Dan Snyder, right up there in his box and with Mike Shanahan, the coach, right back in grace, having survived a near-firing from an irate owner just seven weeks earlier in the season. There was no way that RGIII was going to sit this game out on the bench.
Well, eventually nature intervened and RGIII hobbled off the field with a torn ACL (and maybe more). He now confronts serious knee surgery that may indeed prove to be career-ending. In the meantime, a mean-faced coach puts the blame on a young quarterback for the decision to continue to play, denying any responsibility of care.
The reality is, Coach Shanahan, that you do owe a serious duty of care both to your player and to your organization, whose major asset he is (or was). Dan Snyder may well be irrational, and who knows what he will choose to do – but I can tell you that if I owned the Washington Redskins, you would now be coach history. In the words of Donald Trump: ‘You’re fired’. That firing should be a career- ending event.
There is no place in any professional sport for managers and coaches who place their own egos and desire to win ahead of the future careers of young players whose careers should not be over before they are even begun.
Shame on you Mike Shanahan, both for your selfish decision, and for your unwillingness to accept responsibility. Surely, you are a loser as a human being.