This week, Joseph White, in an article for the Associated Press, reported that the hubris of an insolent, two-time All-Pro defensive lineman became too much for a two-time Super Bowl Champion coach to bear, forcing Mike Shanahan of the Washington Redskins to suspend his $100 million problem, Alfred Haynesworth, for the rest of the season.
Haynesworth skipped offseason workouts in protest of Shanahan’s 3-4 defense, which limited Hey-Hey’s playing time. Not one to be bullied, Shanahan told his fat-cat to look elsewhere for a more suitable team, only leave the spondulicks behind, particularly the $21 million contract bonus about to be dished. But instead of moving on, Haynesworth chose to play games, which resulted in a crisis of credibility and Haynesworth’s subsequent suspension.
As this feud grows, one has to wonder where it ranks in the realm of player-coach enmity. In the top three, maybe? Hardly. Right now it’s just a festering canker sore on the face of the Redskins. But which player-coach feuds deserve irreverent homage, and what do the outcomes of those notorious sideshows tell us about Hey-Hey’s future with the Skins and the NFL?
No. 3: Shawn Chacon and Houston Astros GM Ed Wade.
An article for Comcast.net highlights a feud that started as a request only to become a reckoning. Wade requested Chacon’s presence in his office to chat about moving Cheeky to the bullpen. But Cheeky Chacon chose impertinence instead and refused to report to Wade’s office. Wade decided to dish a little insolence himself, taking his feud with Chacon public. Not to be outdone, Chacon took occasion to grab the 52-year-old GM by the neck and slam him to the ground, resulting in Chacon’s release from the club a few days later.
No. 2: Latrell Sprewell and Warriors Head Coach P.J. Carlesimo.
Adam Lazarus, in an article for Bleacher Report, noted that, during a practice on Dec. 1, 1995, Carlesimo reproved an impudent Sprewell over feeble passing. Sprewell warned Carlesimo to back off, but Papa Bear refused. When Carlesimo approached, Sprewell attacked him, choking him down to the ground and dragging him by his throat until teammates wrestled Sprewell away. Minutes later, Sprewell returned to sock his ailing coach in the face. The incident left battle scars on Carlesimo and Sprewell with a 68-game suspension-the longest in NBA history.
No. 1: Reggie Jackson and Yankee Skipper Billy Martin.
Who can forget the battle below deck between Mr. October and Captain Catastrophe? In an article for ESPN.com, Nick Acocella said, “As a manager, Martin developed a reputation as a genius who could turn almost any kind of team into a winner. But he was also considered a long-term disaster” due to his volatile behavior.
Martin, never short on tongue, made his displeasure known in 1976, when Yankee brass brought on the overweening Jackson. Of course, “Jackson blathered about ‘the magnitude of me’ and celebrated himself as ‘the straw that stirs the drink,’ so it was only a matter of time before these giant egos clashed.”
In 1977, the rankling madness came to head in a Beantown dugout. Martin criticized Jackson for failing to hustle, and the two kings had to be restrained-in full view of national television cameras. Even so, the Yanks went on to beat the Dodgers that year in the World Series.
So what do these epic clashes tell us about Haynesworth’s future with his team and the NFL? If they tell us anything, it’s that, despite in-house feuds, teams can still win championships. The NFL is known for tolerating spoiled gunslingers, so no doubt Hey-Hey will find another home. But whether or not Haynesworth goes the way of Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, two bigmouth blingoneers forced to change teams like underwear, is yet to be seen. Let’s hope not. The last thing NFL fans need is another tantrum-throwing baby who needs to be spoon-fed his Cheerios.
Source: Joseph White, “Redskins Suspend Haynesworth 4 Games Without Pay,” Associated Press
Source: (No Author Listed, “Locker Feuds,” Comcast.net
Source: Adam Lazarus, “Brett Farve vs. Brad Childress: Top 25 Player-Coach Feuds,” Bleacher Report
Source: Nick Acocella, “Billy Battle Opponents, Himself,” ESPN.com