Did Mike Singletary Revive the Integrity of the Game?

Tom AndoContributor IOctober 28, 2008

You often wonder how former players view today's athlete. What would happen if Chad Johnson would have donned the Hall of Fame jacket after catching a touchdown pass in the 1950s?

Well he probably would have been smacked around, either on or off the field, by not only opposition, but his fellow teammates as well. Let's face it, Johnny U wouldn't have appreciated such antics. What if one of these pretty-boy, pass-catching prima donnas came face-to-face with one of the most intimidating forces in the history of the sport? No more need to wonder, it finally happened.

Sunday, in the fourth quarter of the San Francisco 49ers 34-13 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, underachieving 49ers tight end Vernon Davis made a reception that was followed by trash-talking with Seahawks defensive back Brian Russell.

Instead of walking away and being the bigger man, Davis lightly smacked the facemask or Russell, resulting in a 15 yard, unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty.

When Davis returned to the 49ers sidelines, new Head Coach Mike Singeltary, one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history, approached the former Maryland standout, who reportedly oils himself up the day before games and looks at himself in the mirror.

When Davis acted as if he did nothing wrong, the new coach sent him to the locker room and even made sure that Davis come back and get his helmet and gloves that he left on the bench.

"I will not tolerate players that think it's about them,'' said Singletary. "We cannot make decisions that cost the team and then come off to the sideline and be nonchalant. I'd rather play with 10 people and just get penalized."

Singletary knows football and knows that this is not the way the game is played. If a receiver such as Davis came across the middle, which he wouldn't, against the feared Chicago Bears defense in 1985, you better believe the gritty linebacker would put him face first in the turf.

Unfortunately, he can't do that anymore, not without getting calls from the NFLPA that is, but what he can do is make sure that his team is free of these players.

So, instead of wondering what would ever happen if one of these babies ran into a legend, maybe now is the time to question if Singletary has set an example that coaches and general managers will soon follow.

Is it finally time that the league is going to rid itself of childish antics and me-first, team-second attitudes? Probably not, but damn it was sure nice to see, even if it was for just one Sunday.