Sheldon Richardson’s Snapchat video heard ‘round the NFL world has prompted the high-horse police to spring into action, spewing more nonsense from their clueless perch.
The Jets defensive lineman’s lone transgression during his seven-second message via teammate Rontez Miles’ account hours before the team’s primetime loss against the Dolphins Saturday night was using a derogatory term to describe women. It’s inexcusable, for sure, but the level of outage by some sanctimonious folks hovers between stupid and dumb.
Richardson used profanity three times. How dare he curse? The nerve! You mean that football players curse in locker rooms? Say it ain’t so.
Some aggrieved parties are demanding an immediate suspension for such abhorrent behavior. (Did I mention that Richardson cursed?). They’re ticked off, fed up and infuriated that Richardson would behave in such a shameful manner. He sullied the Jets!
The reaction is some vomit-inducing stuff.
Note to the incensed: Exhale.
Richardson is no choir boy, but it’s disingenuous and unfair to paint a picture of a rogue element wandering the Jets locker room. He’s not a bad guy poisoning the franchise.
No, he’s an immature 26-year-old professional athlete embarrassed by past transgressions that shed a negative light on his family’s good name. His four-game suspension last year stemming from a failed drug test for marijuana and one-game suspension this season stemming from a high-speed police chase with a 12-year-old in the car genuinely hurt him.
Richardson was benched by Todd Bowles for the first quarter of a Week 9 loss in Miami after being late for one team meeting. Yes, one meeting. Any suggestions otherwise are just plain wrong.
The reality is that Richardson had been fined several times by Bowles for being late/missing weight lifting sessions, according to sources. You can make a fair case that lifts are integral parts of being a professional athlete.
There’s no debate, however, that missing a practice and/or team meeting is a far more egregious act. (Remember, Richardson isn’t the Jets player who skipped a practice this season because he was hung over from a night of revelry).
None of this, of course, excuses Richardson’s word choice on Saturday night.
The seven-second transcript: “Snapchat takeover gang gang in this b—h. You know, pregame s–t. Where the h–s at? Don’t f–k this guy.”
He needs to exercise better judgment. But let’s not pretend that Richardson desecrated the Church of Gang Green. Let’s not pretend that a few seconds of silliness and immaturity in the pre-game locker room somehow revealed a lack of focus. That suggestion is insulting to every clear-thinking human.
“It bothers me that it was said… period,” said Bowles, who admitted that he’ll have a chat with Richardson on Tuesday. “We don’t condone that kind of language on social media or anything else.”
Again, Richardson’s word to describe women is indefensible, but let’s not go nuts about the use of profanity. Bowles himself has had his fair share of profane public musings after losses this season. Is it desirable? No. Is it a sign of the apocalypse? Of course not.
“The inappropriate comments should have never been said,” Bowles said. “It’s inexcusable, but he plays hard.”
Richardson will likely be the odd man out this offseason for reasons that have nothing to do with this video. The Jets surplus at defensive line coupled with a roster filled with holes will prompt the brain trust to move Richardson. The organization made a mistake signing Mo Wilkerson to a long-term deal last summer. He’s virtually untradeable at this point given his bloated contract. Superstar-in-the-making Leonard Williams and his bargain-basement salary aren’t going anywhere.
That leaves Richardson, who’s set to make $8.1 million on a fifth-year team option in 2017. The Jets explored his market value before the trade deadline. They’ll do so again this offseason with the hope of finding fair draft-pick compensation for the 2014 Pro Bowler.
It’s a shame given that Richardson has a higher ceiling and greater passion for the game than Wilkerson. The Jets, truth be told, are looking for more players like Richardson, who live and breathe football. That’s the locker room culture they want.
Nobody takes losses harder than Richardson. He has little to say after defeats because they sting to the core. He’s an affable guy at just about every other time.
He cares about football. He cares about winning.
Richardson is a well-intentioned person, who wants to start a foundation to help kids in his hometown of St. Louis. It’s clear that he still has some way to go before becoming that man, but save your outrage for a someone who actually deserves it.
Source: NY Daily News Headlines Sports News