Albert Haynesworth is a physical giant of a man at 6′ 6″ and 335 pounds. Only last year the two-time All Pro defensive tackle signed a contract for a cool $100 million to play football for the Washington Redskins.
After Haynesworth’s addition failed to improve the team’s record his first season, there was a coaching change.
Mike Shanahan was hired to right the ship. The former coach of the two time Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos immediately installed a 3-4 defense as opposed to the 4-3 defense the lineman was more accustomed to play.
The change meant that Haynesworth would no longer be one of two defensive tackles free to wreak havoc on the defense. It meant instead his job required him to line up directly across from the center and clog the middle of the field. The scheme change meant his primary role would be to hopefully occupy two or three blockers, freeing his defensive teammates to make plays.
His new role is arguably much more important to the team as a whole, but it requires personal sacrifice and loss of prestige to fans less knowledgeable about the importance of the nose tackle.
Football is a team sport. The scheme change might improve the team’s chances of winning, but it diminishes the probability that Haynesworth would achieve the same notoriety he enjoyed while playing for the Tennessee Titans.
The giant man pouted. In spite of the fact he received a bonus payment of $21 million dollars in a lump sum as recently as April 1, Haynesworth skipped a mandatory team mini-camp and showed up out-of-shape when he did finally arrive. Apparently he realized he would not get paid for refusing to do his job. When he finally showed up he still displayed an attitude problem illustrated by his comments to the press.
Remarkably Haynesworth was quoted to say, “Just because somebody pay you money don’t mean they’ll make you do whatever they want or whatever. I mean, does that mean everything is for sale? I mean, I’m not for sale. Yeah, I signed the contract and got paid a lot of money, but … that don’t mean I’m for sale or a slave or whatever.”
Really? A slave? Is Haynesworth serious?
In an economy with ten percent unemployment, can he be serious to suggest getting paid $100 million dollars to play football for a living is tantamount to slavery? Because his new boss changed his job description?
Here’s a news flash for Mr. Haynesworth about how the real world works — you do your job for a living and you receive a paycheck. If you continue to do your job well you continue to get paid. If you don’t, you get fired. It’s pretty simple.
If the job description changes, the employee better adapt quickly or soon they will be out of work. He’s in the enviable position of having money guaranteed as part of his employment contract.
In the real world, sometimes people get laid off without even receiving two weeks notice. The boss can show up on payday and say, “Here’s your last paycheck. Hit the road.”
Jobs in the real world are not guaranteed and do not all pay $21 million dollar signing bonuses.
When millions of Americans have suffered through the worst two economic years of the past fifty, unprecedented numbers of bankruptcies and foreclosures with no relief in sight, it is highly offensive to suggest one has been enslaved by an employer who just forked over a whopping $21 million bucks less than six months ago.
Because Mr. Haynesworth is employed in a high profile work environment and gets paid a considerable amount of money to do his job, he is offered the opportunity to speak his mind by the media to have millions of people hear what’s going on inside his head.
Sadly, the answer is apparently not much.