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Haynesworth rains on their parade

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The Washington Post's Jason Reid discusses 'The Albert Haynesworth Situation' with Comcast's Ivan Carter and Chick Hernandez.

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By Mike Wise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 19, 2010

I finally figured out why I'm angry with Albert.

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It's not his objection to lining up at nose tackle in the 3-4 defense. Many Americans have been compartmentalized by their bosses, have seen their glory stolen from them, have seen their careers short-circuited by superiors -- all of it because they didn't get to do the job that might best suit their talents.

Take the guy who drives the cart out to the field to pick up Haynesworth when he gets tired: He once dreamed of being the person on the sidelines giving Haynesworth his oxygen.

I'm not angry that Haynesworth is looking out for No. 1, either. He isn't the only athlete to find a "Me" in "Team," though he might be among the first to find "Eat" and "Ate," as well.

It's not even the failure to show up for work that has got my goat; I'm sure there are people who have $21 million electronically transferred to their account and then forget to show up for work. You can usually find them in Fiji. Or prison.

No, what makes me seethe about Haynesworth is this: He ruined everything at the exact moment things were beginning to feel hopeful again.

Right in the middle of so much youth, promise and prosperity -- in the middle of Stephen Strasburg reciting David Letterman's Top 10 list from Nationals Park, in the middle of the Wizards winning the right to draft Kentucky super frosh John Wall, in the middle of everyone buying into the new coach and new quarterback in Ashburn -- here comes Fat Cat Albert, counting the millions he stole from Snyder Commonwealth Bank, griping about nothing, making everyone miserable.

He's flattened out tales of the feel-good kids. He's made us forget about the crucial development of the relationship between Coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Donovan McNabb, both likely Hall of Famers. He's even made us overlook actual stories of import on the sports page: Did you know 25 of 60 kids from District high schools failed to meet NCAA requirements upon graduation the past five years after signing in football or basketball with Division I programs?

I didn't. Because I was too busy chronicling the strife and times of The Grimace.

Haynesworth is literally sitting on hope at this minute, pinning us down, taking Washington back to a darker, more desolate time in its sports annals.

Way, way back -- to 2009, when the Redskins were 12-loss putrid, the Nats and their 205 losses over two years smelled worse and the best player on the Wizards pulled a criminal stunt.

But then the sun came out, didn't it?


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