When a player is struggling, the last thing he or she needs is for a teammate to publicly and negatively discuss those struggles with the press. As a member of the media, I know some of the stories we cover are fueled by irresponsible rants from players, but throwing an embattled teammate under the bus is never cool.
I don’t know what to say. He has a chance to be a part of a great group on offense. ... You’re either on the ship or you’re off the ship. We’re not here to baby-sit, we’re here to try and get wins. ... You feel bad, because you want a guy like that, with so much talent, to last, and that’s not how you last in this league.
Just put your head down, go to work, do the right thing, and let your talent rule. If you could just make that point to some of these guys—you just can’t make it sometimes, and I think that’s where Jim stepped in and took over.
Titus Young just returned to Detroit Lions practice after being sent away for what head coach Jim Schwartz called "unacceptable behavior." While Raiola may have felt compelled to address the matter, he would have been wiser and more effective to speak to Young directly.
Getting on a soap box in front of cameras will serve to alienate a teammate, and reeks of an elitist attitude. In a Detroit News article, Raiola gave an even more stinging statement:
"We've moved on from him. He wants to be an a--hole, let him be an a--hole. It's not my problem."
This goes back to the old adage: If you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all—especially if your comments are about a teammate. Raiola showed a lack of wisdom, and more couth is expected from a veteran in his 12th season in the NFL.
Then again—Raiola is the same guy that has been fined on two separate occasions for making obscene gestures to the fans, per USA Today. This is hardly acceptable behavior. If those infractions had warranted a suspension, Raiola could have found himself in a position to let down his team—much like he's implying Young has done.
What positive purpose did Raiola serve with these comments?
None at all.
He's not the decision-maker in this scenario. He doesn't decide whether the Lions release or trade Young. Who is Raiola to say that the Lions have moved on? If anything, he's created an uncomfortable locker room environment in the event Young is retained.
No one is saying Raiola has to like Young's behavior, but talk to the man directly or keep it to yourself.
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