At some point, it had to happen.
Washington Commanders star Terry McLaurin recently remarked that the organizational drama, scandal and controversy that so often shadows this team is something that the players work to block out.
“None of us are dumb,” McLaurin said. “We know what’s going on. But at the same time, how are you going to let it affect what’s going on, on the field? I think as players, that’s what we can control.”
Sure. But not always. Not forever.
In the owner Dan Snyder-led response to a lawsuit from D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, the Commanders weaponized – in every sense of that word – the shooting of rookie running back Brian Robinson three months ago as an example of the “out-of-control violent crime in DC.”
It was tone-deaf and inappropriate … and now the Commanders locker room is “pissed.”
Writes JP Finlay of NBC Sports Washington: “Throughout the Dan Snyder drama, Commanders players have done a good job of trying to block it out, but I’ve heard it’s different now. Players are mad lawyers tried to use Brian Robinson, a rookie, in their rebuttal about business issues.
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“They might not say it publicly, but guys are pissed.”
And now – maybe in part because “none of us are dumb” – they are starting to actually say it publicly.
Said second-year cornerback Benjamin St-Juste: “Since I arrived here, it’s been a dark cloud over our organization.”
Said QB Taylor Heinicke: “It’s a little bit frustrating … It seems like every week something pops up.”
Said O-lineman Charles Leno as the team prepares to play undefeated Philadelphia in a role as huge underdogs: “Of course it’s upsetting. (Robinson) should’ve never been part of that situation … You gotta be really callous (thick-skinned to play) here.”
How Racine explains his action against Snyder, who is exploring the sale of the franchise: “The defendants clearly lied and clearly lied about what they were going to do about it. … Mr. Snyder was not only aware of the toxic culture in his organization, he encouraged it, and participated in it. …
“So far, the Commanders have gotten away with it. That stops today.”
The AG is of course talking about a legal conflict. But it seems something else “stops today” as well: The locker room’s silence on organizational drama, scandal and controversy.