Early Tuesday morning, DeSean Jackson appeared on ESPN Radio’s national morning program, the Mike and Mike Show. While there, Jackson was asked about the effect being booed by Philadelphia fans has on him and his Eagles teammates. This question was undoubtedly in response to the way Eagles fans lustily booed their team following a porous effort coming off their bye week against Atlanta, a 30-17 loss that left the Eagles 3-4.
In case you missed it, you can hear the whole interview here. The comment in question comes at about the 3:50 mark. Here’s what Jackson said:
During the game, me and one of my teammates, he actually said, ‘Man, they are sitting there and booing us.’ For that to be our support team — Philadelphia fans, they are definitely the type of people where if you’re doing good they love you but once you’re doing bad it’s like the world is going to end. To be out there and hear our home [crowd] booing us, it’s a crazy feeling at times. Once again, we only care about the 53-men on that team, our coaches and the organization. Back’s against the wall. Whoever else is against us, we realize that. Sometimes our own fans can be against us as well.
Jackson’s response was, shall we say, not well received by fans, and with good cause. He basically gave a verbal middle finger to the people of Philadelphia, saying the players only care about the people within the organization. It’s audacious, incendiary and it reeks of disrespect.
But are you really surprised by this type of comment from an Eagles player anymore? I know I’m not. This type of disdain for outsiders has been going on for two seasons now.
It first began when Evan Mathis and Jason Kelce threatened sign-man outside of the Novacare Complex last October for his sign demanding Andy Reid‘s ouster. In November of 2011, Jason Avant said he and his teammates expect to get booed at home games. This year–just last week, in fact–Danny Watkins got upset at the media for writing mean things about his play on the field.
It goes on and on. Players get offended by anyone who tries to hold them accountable. The fans boo? They’re bad fans. The media asks tough questions? They’re being unfair. They all must be locked out, their bad vibes too much of a burden when the players are struggling to play the game as it is. It’s hyper-isolationism.
But where does this attitude come from, this sense of entitlement instilled in the players, causing them to believe they’re above being criticized and should be treated as such? It’s a complete lack of accountability, and there’s one man who has been absolutely obstinate in his refusal to hold players publicly accountable for over a decade now: Andy Reid.
Ask yourself a question: When is the last time you remember Andy Reid ever holding anyone–coaching staff member or player–publicly accountable? I certainly can’t remember one. In fact, his method of avoiding blaming players is so predictable, so rehearsed, you know the lines before you even hear them at this point. Hey, that’s on me, I gotta do a better job. I need to put the players in a better position.
Words repeated so much, they’ve lost all meaning. They’re a constant slap in the face to the media, and, by extension, the fans.
It’s noble of Reid to want to protect his players the way he does. And for awhile, it worked pretty well for him. But it worked because there were guys in the locker room like Brian Dawkins, Ike Reese and Hugh Douglas–guys who would hold their teammates accountable in Reid’s wake because they knew it was necessary. Guys who knew the importance of connecting with each other and the fans, and making sure everyone in the locker room understood that they gave it their all for those fans.
Those guys are long gone. Someone needs to step up and fill the role. And if the players won’t, it’s on the coach to do so. Right now, the Eagles have a bunch of kids who have never known life in the NFL outside of Andy Reid, and according to him, all of the team’s woes are his fault.
Of course, that’s only what Reid says publicly. Privately, maybe he does hold players accountable. We’ll never know. But if he does, it obviously doesn’t seem to be working, and a team chock full of talent once again seems destined for a mediocre finish.
Maybe it’s time for Reid to change his tune. Maybe it’s time for him to start holding his players accountable, and asking them to hold themselves accountable. As far as I see it, the sour attitude in the locker room right now is on him. He’s got to do a better job.Tags: Andy Reid, Brian Dawkins, Comments, Danny Watkins, DeSean Jackson, Disrespect, Eagles, Evan Mathis, Football, Head coach, Hugh Douglas, Ike Reese, Jason Avant, Jason Kelce, NFL, Philadelphia Eagles