A nasty war of perception leaves Dan Snyder scrambling and Bruce Allen flailing
On Dec. 5, 2019 at 3:59 p.m. EST, the front office of the Washington Redskins broke from their usual routine of aimlessly bouncing between various manageable, self-inflicted crises and went into full-blown, Holy Shiite mode.
Alarm Bells Go Off
Ashburn, we have a problem.
Yes Ashburn, you did have a serious problem that day. Trent Williams didn’t just throw shade at the Redskins; he built an eclipse.
Shortly after Thanksgiving, the Washington Post’s Les Carpenter met with Redskins’ fading Left Tackle Trent Williams at his boxing gym in Houston. Williams unloaded on the Redskins, and in particular former GM Bruce Allen, with truly astonishing savagery.
“At the end of the day, I’m a human being. I ain’t like a dog and you can slap the shit out of me and I’m going to come back the next morning with my tail wagging. This was a conscious decision; they didn’t burn the bridge by accident. This was something they felt comfortable doing, so I got to feel comfortable with moving on, too.”
“It just goes to show you how behind the times [Bruce Allen] is, and he still tries to use that money to hold it over black athletes.”
“You aren’t dealing with rational people”
“In any business world, when the employer has someone who is under-performing, he finds another one. I don’t know in the last 10 years if there is a worse record, someone who has held their job for 10 years and performed the way [Allen] performed and still have a job.”
Talk about irreconcilable differences. If you suspect that this interview is as much a reason as any that Ron Rivera has total control of the Redskins football operations today, you are not alone. It sometimes feels as if Trent intentionally sacrificed a year of his career to fix the seemingly unfix-able.
For his part, Bruce Allen gave an ‘on to Cincinnati’ response when asked to comment on Carpenter’s piece. “I’m much more concerned about the Green Bay Packers”, Allen deadpanned unintentionally.
Now Bruce is much more concerned about finding another sycophantic job in which to slither. NFL owners who have a soft spot for baseless flattering should be careful not to leave their ego flank exposed, or Bruce might move in with that mellifluous southern charm of his and collect paychecks for a decade.
Did Trent Williams Really Just Want a New Contract?
The saying ‘money talks and bullshit walks’ is crude and trite, but it’s also damn true. It reminds us to ignore the distracting, shiny objects and follow the money when we want to know what really motivates most people.
This is not to accuse anyone of lying, but make no mistake: a war of public perception was fought and won by Trent Williams. With the Redskins track record, no one could blame him for waging it. It was about the principle of thing, if you’re asking Trent.
Yet the zeitgeist of Redskins fans is undoubtedly hovering over one very obvious question: might this whole drama really have been about money the whole time, and all the other stuff is just window dressing?
Sure. It might have been. Trent is on the wrong side of 30 and has an ever-increasing injury history. High value offers don’t come to aging players who live on the trainer’s table. Trent’s not stupid. He sees this.
Okay, fair enough, this drama was surely a little bit about money. But who acts like this and says these things about the team that currently employs them?
No one says things like that. They cannot have been easy things to say. Obviously there’s more than financial considerations here. Only when things get so bad do people put their career into WTF who even cares anymore mode.
A cancerous growth missed by an employer’s medical staff can understandably sour a man’s attitude in a hurry.
But in fairness to Allen and the Redskins, it’s worst mentioning that Williams’ protracted holdout hypothetically concluded in late October when he returned to Ashburn to receive a roster payment. In fact, it was mere minutes before the NFL Trade Deadline when Williams appeared at team headquarters. If he hadn’t shown, he would have lost more income than most people can only dream about even having.
So sure. It was about the money. It usually is, whatever it is.
But in this case, it was also about Williams being the only player anyone would trade for on the Redskins for about a decade (ask Joe Thomas about the mental fatigue of being a perennial pro bowler on mostly crap ass teams…for your entire career).
It was also about a missed cancer diagnosis.
It was also about an eye-rolling, painfully cliche, king-and-court power structure among the Redskins top brass.
But this was no court of King Louis VIII. It was a total clown show, the source of Loser River, that awful, meandering lahar with cesspools for eddys. The Redskins have been drifting down it for longer than anyone cares to even remember at this point, with Bruce at the helm and Snyder in the back trying not to make eye contact with anyone.
Through it all, no one could disrupt the jesters and the hangers-on. Billionaires don’t like to be told what to do, but they do like to be told how amazing they are. And as long as rich people fall into this trap, sniffers like Bruce Allen will always be there to make easy money.
With a decade under his belt as The New Cerrato, Allen compiled a ghastly 59-89-1 record with zero playoff wins in two appearances. This gruesome fact strips him of most of his credibility; his sycophantic relationship with Dan Snyder and his designation as the ‘least trusted NFL executive’ sandblasts what little remains.
Change at Redskins Park was Inevitable
Snyder was probably more horrified by the Williams article than any of the Redskins’ on-field carnage of the last two decades. It’s why Larry Hess, the 17-year team doc whose team allegedly missed Trent’s cancer diagnosis (the team and Hess’ staff disputes Williams’ account) was fired along with everybody else.
To his credit, Trent did confess that the procedural and financial aspects ultimately motivated his return, but really, he swears, he just wanted to play football again with his teammates. That might have actually been believable, if his return had occurred at some point prior to 11 nanoseconds before the deadline.
Baby Come Back
Now that Bruce Allen is gone, rumors are popping up everywhere that Trent Williams is coming back. Dwayne Haskins seems to think so anyway: he couldn’t wait to get on his Twitter machine and suggest it.
For those who are still struggling to figure out what ‘woke’ means, this tweet can be roughly translated as “Now that the situation has improved, perhaps you’ll come strutting back into Redskins Park?”
And maybe he will. It would certainly help not having to draft a left tackle this year, even though one of the best left tackle prospects to come out in years is available.
Have you seen what Nick Bosa is doing on the 49ers? Would anybody like the see Chase Young do the same thing with the Redskins? Sure you would. If Trent comes back, that solves a major personnel problem (at least for a year), and the Redskins can go after Young or do whatever they want.
The important question is, does Trent even want to come back? Would he under these circumstances? He has one year left on his contract. The Redskins are facing a similar scenario in 2020 as they did in ’19; trade Trent or let him squander the last years of his career in a senseless dispute that benefits no one.
It actually seems likely that Trent will come back because it’s the best scenario for him. Of course, if the team trades him then that’s that. Outside of a swap scenario, It’s in Trent Williams best interests to return to the Burgundy and Gold.