Controversy has a knack for following Donovan McNabb everywhere he goes. That’s partially because the quarterback has a striking talent for attracting it.
Not just on pro football fields.
Not just at pre and post-game press conferences.
No location is out of bounds.
In his most recent incident, the location was Evesham Township field in Burlington County, NJ.
This past Saturday afternoon, McNabb held his annual youth football clinic, aimed at increasing diabetes awareness and raising money for the McNabb neo-natal unit at nearby Virtua Hospital.
Philadelphia reporters asked Donovan about his relationship with some of his former club’s young players.
Could the press have been trying to rekindle whatever was left of the media manufactured "Donovan McNabb vs. DeSean Jackson controversy" from last month?
But here’s a portion of McNabb’s response, as reported by Philly.com.
"You win, everybody talks about you. You lose, everybody talks about you. Some young guys always want to get the credit, until they get in the shoes where they're the ones getting the criticism, then all of a sudden, people don't like to be criticized. I can handle that. Some people can't. Until they get hit with that type of buzz, then they really realize the shoes that I was in."
Hmmm, "some young guys always want to get the credit..."
Donovan, Donovan, Donovan. You took the bait—again.
These words from June 12th indicate once again that McNabb has always been great at giving the media exactly what it wants—a controversy.
Sometimes he plays right into it, in an annoyingly passive-aggressive style where he also seems desirous of the public’s sympathy.
Don’t blame the media for trying to stir things up. That’s simply what every media outlet tries to do. Right or wrong, it’s what they do to generate maximum interest.
Blame Donovan’s decision never to truly downplay anything.
McNabb’s words on Saturday seemed to indicate that there is still some animosity between him and a few of his former Eagle teammates, namely DeSean Jackson.
Remember last month?
Not The Bigger Man
In May, Jackson told The Sporting News he was "very happy with the decision" by the Eagles to trade McNabb and make Kevin Kolb the starter.
Here was part of how McNabb responded to Jackson’s comments, as reported by ESPN.com.
"So I guess people will go deeper into it than I will. I'm a Redskin, no longer an Eagle. I had 11 great years and I'm moving on with my life, so whoever may say things when I'm gone, more power to them, but it's not making you look like a bigger man."
Hmmm, "but it's not making you look like a bigger man." Donovan was doing great up until that point.
He would have totally downplayed the significance of the whole topic had he just left out those last 10 words—but Donovan just couldn’t let it be.
By this point, McNabb has to know that the media loves to take quotes out of context in order to stir things up. Hell, that’s happened enough times to Donovan himself over the years. But did he ever stop to think that Jackson’s words could be being taken out of context too?
Guess not. Again, he gave the media just what it wanted, in that familiar passive-aggressive style.
We Showed Our Youth
The problem wasn’t that the media might have taken McNabb’s words out of context following the Eagles’ 24-0 loss at Dallas in the January 3 season finale.
The problem was that McNabb said these words in the first place, as reported by Philly.com.
"We showed our youth in situations where everyone began to look around to see who was going to make the play instead of stepping up and making that play."
Allegedly, some of Donovan’s teammates took exception to those words, namely DeSean Jackson.
Donovan is the problem here.
As someone who has stood behind the microphone for the better part of the last 11 years, couldn’t he see how such words could be misinterpreted? Did he really think those words wouldn’t be dissected by the media?
It’s true that the Eagles’ young stars fell flat against the Cowboys. But it’s also true that the veteran McNabb, the so-called team leader who has played in more “big games” than any player in Eagles franchise history, certainly didn’t pick up the slack for his struggling teammates on that day.
Trying To Make Sense Of It
Donovan is a good man and easily the greatest quarterback in Eagles’ history. But he’s always talked way too much for his own benefit.
Remember those post-game comments in November 2008, as reported by ESPN.com?
"I’ve never been part of a tie. I didn’t even know that was in the rule book…I'd hate to see what happens in the Super Bowl. You'd have to settle with a tie."
Donovan has always had a way of stirring things up, even when he’s not trying to be even slightest bit passive aggressive. He’s just too damn honest sometimes.
And with each passing quote that seems slightly edgy or downright confusing, it is more and more clear that Donovan McNabb has always been more than happy to bring a portion of the controversy upon himself.