The Washington Football Team is a franchise that is currently in the process of trying to reshape its image. This week, they suffered what I would call a setback when quarterback Dwayne Haskins was seen partying without a mask after Sunday’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Let’s put this into perspective.
Washington can clinch a division title with a win over Carolina and a Giants loss to the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday and Haskins would be the starting quarterback if Alex Smith can’t go. Last week was Haskins’ first start since week 4. Even though the team lost, Haskins showed some signs that he is capable of helping the team win some games, if not this year, then in the future if he continues to grow.
I can be honest and say if Haskins had led Washington down the field for a game-winning touchdown against the Seahawks, and then this happened, the conversation would be a lot different. It would be more about him not being able to handle success. To the contrary, Haskins’ actions show he does not know how to handle defeat. It shows he is mentally fragile, selfish, and that he is not self-aware of how his actions affect others; or maybe he just doesn’t care. I’m not inside of Haskins’ head and I don’t know him personally, but however you try to slice this one, it’s not a good look considering his track record.
Now don’t get me wrong, everybody has a right to do what they want on their free time as long as it’s within the parameters of the league’s rules and regulations. But that’s the problem, Haskins was in complete violation and disregarded his teammates and family by not being compliant with COVID-19 protocol. This season, we have seen across the league, various teams and players miss games due to positive COVID-19 tests, or because they were simply exposed to someone with COVID-19. Knowing all these things, why would you jeopardize not only your health, but the health of your teammates? People can come up with all the excuses they want for him; there are no circumstances where any rational person is going to be like “oh ok, well since you put it that way, he was well within his rights” because he wasn’t. He was wrong…dead wrong…Bottom line.
As a result of his actions, he was stripped of his Captainship and fined 40,000 by the team. I believe all of the above were appropriate, and I would have even suspended him for a game if not cut him.
Why cut him you ask?
There was a receiver that played in the league years ago by the name of Chris Carter that had a Hall of Fame career with the Minnesota Vikings. Carter frequently tells the story of when Buddy Ryan cut him in Philadelphia. He labels it as the best thing that ever happened to him because it made him appreciate football and showed him that he wasn’t invincible. Haskins may need a similar derailment to make him understand that he worked his butt off to get to the NFL, but you have to work even harder to stay. Nobody is going to answer for his mistakes and his screw-ups but him. His age is not an excuse anymore. His inexperience is not an excuse anymore. Haskins has been an athletic elitist since his time at Bullis High School, but when you get to the NFL, everybody is an elitist.
Haskins’ teammates seem to love him and his coaches have not lost confidence in him. Rivera not cutting him is a sure sign that he has not given up on Haskins. Haskins did apologize for his actions and his teammates expressed they felt his apology was sincere. One thing is for sure, and that’s Haskins better get his mind where it needs to be because he is going to wake up one day and be out of the league if he doesn’t change his path quickly. That doesn’t have to be his story. He reserves the right to change it, but he has to change IMMEDIATELY because he controls the decisions he makes.
This Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, Haskins better be as sharp and as prepared as he has ever been if he is to be the starting quarterback. All eyes will be on him, and he needs to prove to his teammates that he is taking his job seriously. If he has a poor outing Sunday, things could get ugly for him. If he performs at a high level and elevates himself while leading his team to the playoffs, it will be a step in the right direction towards getting back on the path to being everything he should be. As you were…
Photo Credit: Elijah Walter Griffin Sr./Washington Football Team