It’s the holiday season—a time for love, a time for cheer, a time for forgiveness.
It’s a time in which I desperately tried to resist writing this piece—but in the end several helpings of rum and eggnog made me FINALLY come to my senses.
So let me get this straight: Players like Terrell Owens and Randy Moss are poor sports, distractions, and disruptive when they're unhappy?
Okay, for the most part, I'd have to agree—especially when either player’s team is losing. But the eggnog in my gut and my visions of Monday night are enough to remind me that this piece isn’t about Moss or Owens.
On the contrary, this is about a player who's apparently been given a get-out-jail-free card when it comes to sportsmanship and chemistry. This is about a team that apparently can do no wrong.
More to the point, this is about the hypocrisy of the media and fans alike.
Imagine a team that's quick to whine and complain when it feels disrespected, but that makes no apologies for its own horrendous behavior. Imagine a player who has no problem questioning the integrity of other players and teams, but really needs to take a good hard look at himself in the mirror before opening his mouth.
Imagine a franchise that has proved absolutely nothing, but always seems to have a soundbite about how they "should have won."
If you can do all that, you can imagine my growing disdain for LaDainian Tomlinson and the San Diego Chargers.
Yes, you read that right.
Please take the time to gasp and prepare to call me every name in the book.
Got that out of your system?
Good, let’s move on to my proof...
Exhibit A: I take you back to last year's playoff loss to the New England Patriots, and to LT’s obnoxious aggression toward the Patriots role players who celebrated by mocking Shawn Merriman’s dance.
LT was simply being a sore loser—to say nothing of Philip River’s quote calling Ellis Hobbs the "sorriest corner in the league."
Rumor has it that Rivers originally wanted to tell Hobbs that he was a "big fat poopy face"...but teammates advised against it, so he went with the "sorriest corner" bit instead.
Exhibit B: If you would please direct your attention to this year's Titans-Chargers game. With the Chargers down 17-3, Tomlinson CLEARLY got up and walked away from Rivers after he sat down next to him on the bench.
Not exactly the sign of a true leader of men. Way to help pick your teammate up, LT—and way to be a role model for kids.
In the end, the Bolts came back for the win—and once again LT was all smiles.
Do you have two sets of teeth to brush in the morning, Mr. Two-Face?
Exhibit C: Apparently LT and Rivers have more in common than just wearing the same NFL uniform on Sundays.
Mr. Rivers, is your mouth tired from all that ridiculous jawing you were doing toward a fellow QB on Monday night?
Apparently beating a team on national television wasn’t enough for Rivers. What was the rest of that warm and cheerful quote about Ellis Hobbs last year? Wasn’t it something like, "Act like you’ve won a game before"?
So go ahead and call me a Grinch. Go ahead and defend these guys, because I know you will. I expect you to, because I’ve sat and watched it all year long.
I’m not doubting talent or performance. LT is a phenomenal player. Rivers is...umm...well...I’ll get back to you on that one.
I’m not questioning their humanitarian efforts or their compassion for the less fortunate either. I’m sure they’re both great guys. I know LT has done a ton for the community and for many charities.
All I’m saying is, in the end, both Tomlinson and Rivers need to stop and remember that they live in glass houses—and that the media and fans need to stop giving them free passes.
Maybe these guys will grow up and turn over new leaves. Maybe miracles can happen. Maybe if...I mean when...the Chargers lose this year (Oh come on! They have Norv Turner as their head coach!), they'll take it with some class.
Yeah—and maybe T.O. will one day win the Nobel Peace Prize for his promotion of harmony around the world.