Darius Slay spoke up and spoke out. And he was shipped out.
Safety Glover Quinn knew the Lions were headed in the wrong direction and said his piece to teammates. Instead of listening to the man, the Lions shipped him out of town.
The Lions did not like what Golden Tate had to say to teammates about the team also. He gone.
There is a pattern here. And it must stop.
They were cast as bad seeds and malcontents. Their objective was not to rock the boat, but to row the boat and make it run smoother.
Now that the Lions are starting over after the firing of coach Matt Patricia and General Manager Bob Quinn, they should also start over in player-management relationships. These are not just employees. These are partners.
Drew Brees is a partner with the New Orleans Saints and he has a Super Bowl ring.
Aaron Rodgers does not always get his way, but he is a partner with the ownership of the Green Bay Packers.
Does LeBron James have too much power? Yes. But do you know what else he has? Four NBA championship rings with three different franchises.
Did Isiah Thomas have too much power with the Detroit Pistons? Yeah probably. But his iron fist turned a franchise from one that wanted to win games into a franchise that demanded to win championships.
The Pistons often backed Ben Wallace when he did not like the way things were going.
Do the Fords have to listen to every player that walks through the doors in Allen Park? No. But don’t turn your back on key players who speak their minds. Listen. Evaluate. Sometimes players educate.
A player that speaks his mind is not necessarily a cancer that needs to be cut from the body.
Owner Sheila Ford Hamp was asked if it bothered her that players criticized Patricia during his stay.
“You know players are going to have different ideas. Some players are going to think one way, some are going to think another,” she said. “Not really, no. (We were) hoping that it was going to pull all together, and I think in many ways, we’ve got a really talented team, or a talented team. And I think we should have come together better than we have.”
Players have more power and knowledge than back in the day. Why break them down with an iron fist? Why not tap into that knowledge and power and use it to your advantage?
Slay and Quinn tipped us off on Patricia’s flaws. We ignored them. So what has been the result? Slay and Quinn are gone and the Lions finally realized that Patricia was a bad fit here.
“I was the problem tho,” Slay said.
Most players care. They are not in it just for a paycheck. When they see flaws are they supposed to shut up and just play? I guess that worked in the 1960s. If I were coach of a team I’d tap into every resource I could. That would include assistant coaches and key players.
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