|Alex Smith (11) winces in pain after injuring his right shoulder September 30th. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)|
You are Alex Smith.
And you were just disrespected by Mike Nolan—your coach, your leader, your supposed mentor.
You were sitting in the locker room, just hanging out with your teammates.
Maybe you were playing a quick game of poker, or talking about the gorgeous model that was at that party the other night.
Or maybe you'd just finished your daily physical therapy, on the badly separated throwing shoulder which now needs surgery.
Then it happened.
Nolan decided that it was time to call you out, accusing you of using your injury as a crutch—and as an excuse for poor play.
Apparently he forgot that your injury was serious enough for you to miss four games.
Apparently he forgot that you attempted to play the three games after that, despite clearly being at less than full strength.
And apparently he forgot that, like Mike Gundy, he was a man—and that as a man he was supposed to have your back in the face of adversity.
|49ers head coach Mike Nolan hasn't been shying in criticizing his young QB (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)|
Instead, Nolan ranted to the media. He said you were taking advantage of your shoulder injury—he felt that you could've sucked it up.
And to drive his point home, Nolan had nothing but good words for your backup, Trent Dilfer—praising his toughness and his ability to play through pain.
What's worse, your teammates are beginning to turn on you too, following your coach's lead.
One, when asked about injuries of his own by the San Jose Mercury News said, "I don't want it to be like Alex's interview where I'm blaming my production on [my injury]."
Others have referred to you as the lion from the Wizard Of Oz, implying that you have no courage.
So, Alex Smith—I ask you, how does it feel?
And what do you do?
Do you sit there and take it?
Or do you battle back, and try to win the respect of your teammates and fans?
I like your answer, Mr. Smith, as you seem to have chosen option No. 2:
"(Nolan) came out and said some things to the team. It was like he was telling his side of it. I felt it was trying to undermine me with my teammates...
Nolan spins it as if I was making excuses for an injury. What I really felt like was, 'Yeah, I tried to play on it. And that was my decision and obviously I wasn't playing well enough.'
But at that point my arm wasn't getting any better. In fact, it was getting worse and I was going to go get a second opinion. (Nolan) can spin it however he wants to, but the first thing Dr. Andrews told me when he saw me was 'This is much worse than I thought.' "
—from Dennis Georgatos' and Daniel Brown's interview in the Mercury News.
So, congratulations Alex—I like that you stood up for yourself.
In fact, it shows a little courage—which is quite ironic under the circumstances.
You know what Alex—now that I think about it, you should meet Hope Solo. Although the US Women's National Team goalie admitted that her very public dispute with her coach might've crossed some lines, Greg Ryan was the one who ultimately got fired.
And Alex, there's good news:
Ryan was a very successful coach, unlike Nolan.
Things might not be so bad after all, kid. Keep your head up.