For years, there seemed to be a substantial difference between the way athletes thought about LeBron James’s departure from Cleveland, and the way ordinary fans thought about it.
Many fans thought LeBron was turning his back on his hometown, on a team that nurtured him through his youth, on a fanbase that worshiped him. Many athletes thought James was making a sensible business decision.
LaVar Arrington seized upon this dynamic Tuesday afternoon, when Chris Cooley was released, and when at least some portion of the Redskins fan base seemed to revel in the news.
“Now, he may have handled it the wrong way, but [James] made a decision to go play somewhere else,” LaVar said on his 106.7 The Fan radio show. “HE did. People found that to be offensive, abrasive, amongst other things, and he has been paying the piper for it probably up until his championship run. And a guy [like Cooley] who has done it the right way from day one, and has been nothing but a consummate pro, ends up getting treated the way he did.
“Again, I don’t have a problem with them getting rid of him,” LaVar continued. “You’ve got to do what’s best for the team, and this is a business. But what I do have a problem with is you did it NOW? That’s what I have a problem with. And I find it interesting. Is this a case where it’s always ok when the franchise does it, but when a player flips the script because of things like this?”
He went on to talk about the times Cooley came onto his radio show to defend Redskins organizational decisions, and the way some franchises — the Steelers with Hines Ward, the Bucs with Derrick Brooks — have seemed to keep iconic players past their on-field primes.
“He should have been treated better than this,” LaVar concluded. “If you were gonna get rid of Chris Cooley, you should have gave him an offseason to try to find a gig....You just should have been man enough to let him go in the offseason so he could gauge his opportunities — if he wanted to retire, if he wanted to try to find a different team. You don’t do this. You don’t go into the last preseason game of the year and cut Chris Cooley. Not as a Washington Redskin. Maybe a different team you do this. But not as a Washington Redskin.”
Listen to the audio here.
BECAUSE YOU DON’T READ THE PAPER...
One last time, it’s Mike Wise writing about Chris Cooley.
Maske calls Cooley “one of the most productive and popular players in [Redskins] history.”
Boz on Rizzo vs. Johnson: “Now that the Nats are a good team, awful things will happen to them. Or at least they will feel awful. Good teams, and their fans, suffer more.”
The Nats have now lost five straight, their longest skid of the season.
TWEET OF THE NIGHT
Even Alex Ovechkin is saying goodbye.
Good luck to a new team— Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8) August 28, 2012
@thecooleyzone DC going to miss uman !!!!!
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
Cooley to Wise:
“I mean, come on, dude, I was an art major from Logan, Utah, and now I have everything I could ever want. I am very appreciative.”
HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT
Just Chris Cooley and Clinton Portis, hunting Rams.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
WHAT TO WATCH TODAY
The Nats visit the Marlins at 7 on MASN2. The Orioles host the White Sox at 7 on MASN. The Skins host the Bucs at 7 on WRC (standard) and CSN (HD. All TV/Radio listings are here.
A CUP OF TEA?
Harolyn Cardozo, Mike Rizzo’s assistant, talks to Harry Jaffe about the shouting match: “What that exchange represented was the opposite of a rift. It was a frustrated manager and a passionate GM, reacting to a four-game losing streak in uniform fashion. Neither are the type to address losing over a nice cup of tea.”
MASN’s Bob Carpenter promises to wear a different tie to help the Nats break out of it. F.P. Santangelo suggests a Rally Speedo. Carpenter coughs. Audio here.
MARYLAND SEASON TICKETS
From Patrick Stevens at the Wash Times: “Maryland’s football season ticket sales are down 18 percent from a year ago, one last lingering hit for the cash-strapped athletic department from a rough 2011 on the field....Since 2005, Maryland has lost more than 43 percent of its season ticket base.”
COOLEY AND THE CAPS