Ok, this is usually a baseball blog, but I found about this listening to the "Mike & Mike" radio show on may to work in my car, and I was beyond pissed off.
The Minnesota Vikings have fined wide receiver Troy Williamson a game's pay (a little over $25,000) for missing last Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers to attend the Monday funeral of his maternal grandmother.
I love this excuse, as you have to read what head coach Brad Childress had to say about the situation (From ESPN):
Coach Brad Childress told Twin Cities-area media following Thursday's practice that the decision was on a "business principle" of the Vikings organization.
"He had a family obligation that he had to see to," Childress said. "We sat down and talked on it before he left. ... He had to do what he had to do. Everybody handles that differently. [Williamson] had to do what his family situation called for."
Childress cited the cases of two players, Minnesota defensive tackle Pat Williams and Indianapolis wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who appeared in games shortly after the deaths of family members.
...Williamson's maternal grandmother, who helped to raise him and with whom he was very close, died last week and he returned to South Carolina, where he played a large role in arranging her funeral. He also had to make travel arrangements for several of his siblings, some of whom are in the armed services. He returned to the team on Wednesday as the Vikings began practicing for this Sunday's game against Green Bay.
Huh? You are freaking kidding me, right? Where's the compassion and empathy? The understand? The humanity in all of this?
I know that athletes in sports, especially football need to adhere to the warrior mentality and loyalty to one's team on and off the field; however, have Brad Childress and the Minnesota Vikings organization forgot the football is just a game and the show will go on? You cannot exactly replace human beings who have left the earth, especially his grandmother, who by all accounts raised him.
Have the Vikings forgot everyone suffers differently and grieves in their own way?
Sports should be a means to a make living for athletes, and a game and a diversion from every day life for fans, but when does it cross the line? In this case, the Vikings have well gone over it.
If the people of Minnesota/Minneapolis have a heart, they should flood the lines of the team and let their feelings be known. Alas, if the Vikings don't have the wherewithal to change their mind and give Mr. Williamson his pay, they deserve all the bad publicity they are getting now.
The Vikings should be ashamed with the way they have handled this situation. Forget semantics, use common sense, damn it.