In 1995, running back Ricky Watters signed with the Philadelphia Eagles after starting his career with the San Francisco 49ers. In his first game with the team, he was running a crossing pattern and made a feeble attempt at catching a pass because he was shying away from the contact that was coming at him. When asked about “short-arming” this pass after the game, Watters famously wondered aloud why he would have even considered doing otherwise, asking “For who? For what?” Although he went on to have a very good career with the Eagles, the notoriously tough Philadelphia fans never let him forget the selfish questions with which they were introduced to him. This week, another new Eagle, Cary Williams, went down a similar road when asked about some recent Organized Team Activities that he had skipped. Uh-oh.
It’s hard to put ourselves into the mind of a professional athlete, I will admit, as we don’t live the same kind of lives that they do and our concerns are very different. Still, a player has to give some thought to the fact that the people who buy the tickets and watch the games on television want to be able to feel like they can identify with the players in at least some ways. I can’t speak for fans in other cities, but in Philadelphia, the hard-working player who gives his all and never finishes a game with a clean uniform is the guy that is beloved. The guys who seem like they are above it all never cut it here.
The Eagles just went through several days of OTAs, and Cary Williams missed all of it. He actually came up with four different excuses, one for each of the days he missed. Most of the excuses were connected to family events he had to attend, but one of his reasons was that he had to pick out sconces for a new house he is having built. I am not sure what sorts of things Philly football fans would find to be acceptable here, but I am pretty sure that picking out sconces is not one of them. I know that OTAs are technically not mandatory, but that is really in name only. All of the players come, and if the events were really considered voluntary, you can be sure that more guys would beg out. There was a lot of discussion on local sportstalk radio about Williams’ absences, especially since he signed a pretty sizable deal with the team in the offseason and is looked at as a likely starter in the team’s beleaguered secondary. When the show’s host asked him what the fans should think about his disappearing act, he actually tossed this out there:
“I don’t have nothing to say to the fans, man. You’ll see me on Sunday. You’ll see me flying around making plays. That’s it. That’s all you’re gonna see. I don’t have to explain myself to anybody.”
Double negatives aside, that’s just brutal. He just put a huge bulls-eye on his back, I am certain. I sure hope he turns out to be good, because if he isn’t, he is going to have a very hard time playing in this city. Whatever grace period he might have expected to have as a new player here, it has gone right out the window. I can hear the boos already. OK, maybe that’s because I am booing. Fair enough.
Bad sports, continued:
2) Marty Brown, a manager at triple-A Buffalo, got tossed out of a game last Sunday for arguing a bad call. He was so disgusted that he decided to plop himself down on the infield, where he sat for several minutes before finally leaving the field. OK, I actually think this was kind of awesome, but I guess it does belong in Bad Sports.
3) A girl who was playing in the state high school tennis final in New Hampshire last week quit after losing the first set because she was upset at being heckled by spectators. Lame.
4) Cleveland Indians closer Chris Perez and his wife have been arrested after they received packages of marijuana in the mail. Postal inspectors tipped off the police.
5) Watch this guy come up very small as a bat hurtles toward his wife’s head at an Angels game on Monday. He must be proud.
6) Freddie Kitchens, the quarterbacks coach for the Arizona Cardinals, became ill during the team’s OTA on Tuesday and ended up having to have heart surgery.
7) Just after he was drafted in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft by the New York Yankees, Ian Clarkin was shown in a video talking about how he could not stand the Yankees. This is another one that feels like it should really be in Good Sports.
8) I read a story the other day about a girl who was photographed sitting next to Justin Bieber during game seven of the NBA Eastern Conference Finals and how he was a jerk to her. The story means little to me, but it made my column today because of the picture. What a complete tool.
1) The guy in item number five above needs to take some lessons from the kid in this video. That’s what you do when a bat comes flying at you.
2) Serena Williams won the French Open on Sunday, becoming the first American woman to win it since she did it back in 2002. She beat Maria Sharapova in straight sets to take her 16th grand slam title.
3) Also at the French, Rafael Nadal became the first man to ever win the same grand slam event eight times, crushing David Ferrer on Sunday. He has played 60 career matches at the French Open and has won an astonishing 59 of them. Amazing.
Bad sports, good sports appears every Monday
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