Albert Haynesworth Suggests Playing In 3-4 Defense Is Like ‘Slavery’


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Here’s a guess–Albert Haynesworth didn’t major in history at the University of Tennessee or else he’d know how stupid he sounds.  Specifically, we’re referring to his latest insights on the contractual relationship between himself and the Washington Redskins.  Haynesworth signed a $100 million deal before the 2009 season and, on April 1 of this year, banked a $21 million signing bonus.  He missed 4 games due to injury last season, and wasn’t quite as effective as he had been in 2008.  That happens.  He also didn’t like losing, and after a humilating 45-12 loss to the New York Giants on Monday Night Football called out then defensive coordinator Greg Blache and his system, observing that he couldn’t “survive another season in this system if it stays the way it is.”

Haynesworth got his wish–Blache retired, new head coach Mike Shanahan was hired and brought in a brand new coaching staff full of top flight professionals including former NFL head coach Jim Haslett as defensive coordinator.  Haslett scrapped Blache’s system and set to work implementing a brand new scheme based on the 3-4 defensive formation.

And that, of course, was more than any man could be expect to withstand for only $100 million.  Only a man with the backbone of Albert Haynesworth would stand up to the indignity of lining up in a 3-4 instead of a 4-3.  He obviously new that back in the dark days of slavery, plantation owners would keep slaves in line with the most horrifying of all threats–that they would be expected to attend off season conditioning programs and expected to play football in their non-preferred defensive formation.

Oh yeah, then there’s that part about slaves not getting paid nine figures to play football….

Since then, Haynesworth has acted like a spoiled child…actually, I can’t say that since spoiled children act with more rationality than Haynesworth.  Haynesworth decided he’d protest the change in defensive philosophy–which, let us remind you, he requested in his aforementioned tirade after the loss to the Giants–in the most professional way possible:  by skipping the team’s off-season conditioning program and a mandatory mini-camp.  He’s now making crazy talk claims about how he was “promised” that he’d play defensive tackle in a 4-3 system when he signed his contract and now that the team has gone and changed the defensive scheme–the one which he suggested he ‘couldn’t survive another season in’–he’s been subjected to the most dehumanizing of indignities, being expected to play football for $100 million in a defensive set with one fewer linebacker.  And he’s not going to take it any more because he has *backbone*.

Haynesworth went on the radio and went straight to the ‘nuclear option’ of put upon athletes–the slavery card.  You see, Redskins team owner Daniel Snyder is white and Haynesworth is African American.  Thus, he’s being treated like a slave…uh…except for the $100 million, countless benefits, posh working conditions, first class travel and accommodations, etc.  Here’s Haynesworth’s nuanced take on the similarities between playing football for nine figures and the barbaric institution of slavery:

“I guess in this world we don’t have a lot of people with, like, backbones. Just because somebody pay you money don’t mean they’ll make you do whatever they want or whatever. I mean, does that mean everything is for sale?

“I mean, I’m not for sale. Yeah, I signed the contract and got paid a lot of money, but … that don’t mean I’m for sale or a slave or whatever.”

At least Haynesworth is handling it like a pro.  Uh, no he isn’t.  It took him more chances to pass the Redskins conditioning test in preseason than it did for Jason ‘White Chocolate’ Williams to pass his SATs.  He also hasn’t played yet this season, being used as a backup in the ‘Skins opening game of the year (because he was out of shape) and missing their second game with a sprained ankle (I’m willing to guess that was suffered because he was out of shape).

What’s hard to figure out in all of this is what, exactly, Haynesworth wants.  It’s not money, since he’s making a truckload of money.  He claims he doesn’t have an issue with the coaching staff and, in any case, the team can’t be expected to fire their brand new coaching staff just to keep him happy.  His biggest gripe seems to be with the 3-4 defense and it’s obviously childish and petty to expect Haslett to scrap his entire defensive strategy just to placate Haynesworth.  It sure looks like Haynesworth just lacks the commitment and discipline to be a high level NFL player, and the Washington Redskins are unfortunatley finding this out after a lot of checks with a lot of zeros on them have already cleared.

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