Jim Leyland has always stated that a winning team yields a tight, peaceful clubhouse. During last year’s 0-16 debacle, this theory proved to also be correct on the football field as the Detroit Lions players frequently were outspoken about everything from the fans to the coaching staff.
For a competitor, losing is naturally a frustrating event, but when you become the focus of media for the wrong reasons, you better have the game and the work ethic to back things up. Lions C Dominic Raiola has only demonstrated to fans that he knows how to use a certain, specific finger and how to run his mouth with media.
Throughout last season, Raiola decided that the focus needed to be taken off a team that was rolling towards history and place things square on his shoulders. He became a target for local media in need of postgame sound bites, and when the offseason came, a hefty contract ended up in his lap.
Do I agree that a football team should place their support behind the starting quarterback? Yes. Do I believe that there are NFL players that are in it for more than a contract? Yes. However, I do not believe that one player should pull a T.O. or a Chad Johnson/Ocho Cinco and make themselves higher than the team.
The Denver Broncos have a policy that the offensive line does not speak to media during the season and has a designated spokesperson. This makes things easy on the team’s PR staff and keeps the focus on the team and not a single individual. Dominic Raiola has been part of one of the worst periods for any team in NFL history, while becoming a multi-millionaire in the process. There is no reason he should be complaining to the media about anything until he starts turning out results on the field.