I am as critical of current athletes as anyone I know. I think they can be largely immature, selfish, and greedy. This, many times, leads to poor decisions and embarrassment for their families and organizations that has become far too common.
Today, I am encouraged to hear of some athletes who are making intelligent comments and are getting it right. I am discouraged to hear of some former players who should be more mature in the way they are handling themselves.
Anonymous Washington Redskins players were quoted saying that what would be best for the team is a vote of confidence for head coach Jim Zorn.
"I wish someone upstairs would just say he's going to be our coach for the season. That way, we don't have to answer any more questions about it and everybody knows we're in this boat together."
The players are absolutely right. Firing Zorn at this point would be pointless. The situation ends up being a huge distraction week to week. If the organization would simply say that he is the coach for the rest of the year, they could stop the nonsense every week and maybe the team starts to play better.
There is no downside to a vote of confidence for the coach. If they continue to play poorly, he is going to be gone anyhow. It is hard to imagine a scenario where Jon Gruden is not coaching that team next year.
Notice, too, that the players are NOT defending Zorn. They do not say that he is being treated unfairly, is misunderstood, or that he is a great coach. They are simply saying that the "will they fire him or won't they?" nonsense every week is hurting the team.
This is a very level-headed opinion from two athletes who obviously "get it." They know how important team focus week in and week out is.
As for the knucklehead old timers.
The Hall of Famers and Redskins legends, of all people, should understand that firing Zorn would be pointless now, that he is as good as gone anyhow, and that their comments are going to trickle down to the team and cause more distractions.
They have exacerbated the negativity around the club and increased the distractions by being cranky, out of touch blowhards.
Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgenson absurdly claimed that the Redskins, after week four, would have been undefeated with back up Todd Collins behind center. Not to say that starter Jason Campbell has played well, but that is obnoxiously hyperbolic and Collins is not Brett Favre or Troy Aikman coming in.
What was current 'Skin's quarterback Jason Campbell's response to such a ridiculous claim and, quite frankly, personal disrespect?
"You can't get mad. You can't agree or disagree. They're entitled to their opinion."
Even more pathetic than Jurgensen's comments are the comments of John Riggins (via YouTube and Twitter).
"You're out of your league, Jim," referring to coach Zorn. "You ... are not a head football coach in the NFL. High school? Definitely. You can coach in high school. You can coach my son in high school any time."
(An aside. Why is Riggins relegated to YouTube? He must not be able to find any legitimate media outfit to take his opinions seriously. Maybe, he needs to open a Bleacher Report membership.)
Why is it that our former heroes, men who's life and professional experiences should give them a depth of knowledge and understanding of the nature of professional football sound like obnoxious callers to local sports radio talk shows?
"Zorn can't even coach high school."
"We'd be 4-0 with Todd Collins!"
How sad. I understand that we are all fans at heart. It is hard to believe that current players, in the middle of an emotional season, have the professionalism and maturity you would expect of men twice their age.
The men twice their age sound immature and out of touch. No more "experts" on the subject matter than you or me. In Riggins case, sounding like a junior high girl, badmouthing her "bff" on her Twitter page.
Maybe Zorn will un-friend him on Facebook.