Is Philadelphia Eagles CB Cary Williams selfish, not committed to the team or just “keepin’ it real?” Williams has come under scrutiny recently for missing some voluntary OTAs and felt he had to defend himself not once, but twice.
When he first spoke about it, he said things about being a family man and being there for his three year-old daughter. Nobody can argue with that reasoning for missing “voluntary” things.
However, he also offered the excuse of having to pick out sconces for the new house he is having built. That drew some “huh?” reactions from the fans and media and was mostly seen as an inadequate (or ridiculous) reason to miss time with the team.
Missing a voluntary camp is one of those borderline negative things for a pro football player,unless he has what is generally seen as a “good excuse.” Yes, technically they’re voluntary, but the purpose of them is to get better as a team.
That’s why most players on every team attend these activities. They’re dedicated to their profession and want to do what they can to get better. Either that or they just don’t want to be seen as a “selfish guy” and be portrayed in a bad light. Especially when you have guys like Danny Watkins, who postponed his honeymoon to go to OTAs.
Then there are a certain subset of players who do miss some voluntary activities for various reasons, but are likely reasons similar to the ones Williams talked about. However, they typically don’t tell the media their real reasons for not attending.
Williams likely would have been let off the hook after initially defending himself, even with the sconce excuse. Hell, this was good enough…
“Fans, I love you all, but please,” he said. “If I was a guy that had three different kids with three different women and I was a womanizer, you would be reporting that. Now I’m a guy that wanted to go see his daughter’s recital and I’m a bad guy. Like, come on man, I haven’t gotten in trouble in, like, years. I’ve learned my lessons, I’ve been through so much scrutiny in previous years. If I was doing something negative, then report it. I’m just trying to be a great dad. I’m just trying to be a great family man. I’m just trying to live my life outside football and not be confined to just the box, because life does happen.
To me, that was good enough. I get it. I understand. No big deal. Let’s just move on.
But, he made the odd decision to go on 97.5 the Fanatic with Mike Missanelli and proceeded to beat the proverbial dead horse about the subject. In doing so, he forfeited any pass the fans were going to give him and instead pretty much alienated himself from any Philly fan-base support.
I’m going to paraphrase and just give you the gist of what I heard in that interview, but basically he said things like…
- He doesn’t care what the fans think
- He doesn’t care what the organization thinks
- It’s nobody’s business what he does on his personal time
- He doesn’t get much time off
- He can’t call in sick or take a day off because “his head hurts” (relating himself to the average 9-5 worker)
- We’d handle the situation differently if we were in his shoes
- His job is to make plays on Sundays and not worry about the fans or critics
If you haven’t heard the interview yet, you can check it out for yourself to get an understanding of the context. To me, he was in a defensive mode but clearly thinks he didn’t do anything wrong and therefore should not be criticized.
I think he’s right…but also wrong.
He’s right because the OTAs were voluntary and by definition he did not have to be there. He’s within his rights to live his personal life as he sees fit and shouldn’t be criticized for doing so.
Who cares if he’s picking out sconces or just picking his nose? It’s his time to do with as he pleases.
However, he’s wrong because of he how he went about handling the situation. His honesty is refreshing, but he should have known that all of his reasons for missing OTAs (with the exception of his child’s recital) would be viewed as a negative.
He should have just kept his reasoning for missing OTAs as “personal reasons” and left it at that. The team nor himself would not have been obligated to tell anyone why he wasn’t there.
Furthermore, he certainly didn’t have to go on Mikey Miss’s show and further condemn himself by saying he doesn’t care what anyone thinks. And don’t go comparing yourself to the average working person, that just makes you sound like a jackass.
The truth is, he’s a professional athlete that gets paid a ton of money for doing what he does. Public scrutiny comes with the job and if you open yourself up for some, you better be prepared to handle it accordingly.
After all, he should care what the organization and fans think about him. For one, the organization is who he collects his paycheck from. For two, the fans are the reason why the organization can pay him his handsome salary.
No fans = no money = no jobby for Cary.
That doesn’t mean he has to kiss our ass, it just means he needs to learn how to play the off-field role of pro athlete better. Wise players either act appreciative of the fans or at least don’t say anything that may alienate them.
Williams has drawn a line in the sand now between he and the fans. We don’t like him now, or at least don’t feel that warm and fuzzy anymore, and he doesn’t care.
In all reality, the only thing that matters is whether or not he makes plays this season. If he plays hard, covers well, tackles well and makes some big plays, all of this will be forgotten.