Troy Williamson wasn’t with the team during Sunday’s win over (sigh) the San Diego Chargers. No, he wasn’t off doing anything involving the police, he was at his grandmother’s funeral. The two were obviously very close. Williamson will end up losing about $25, 000 dollars (one game check), but will appeal the fine. Okay, so he missed the game and didn’t get paid. Big deal. That’s what happens when you don’t show up to work. Sometimes things happen in life. Plus the Vikings kind of kicked ass on Sunday. That Adrian Peterson guy is so good, the World-Wide Leader is even running a piece about how the first round of the 2007 draft would be different had people known (!) that Adrian Peterson was this good. That’s a post for another time, however.
But then Minny head coach Brad Childress said that Williamson wasn’t paid based on a “business principle” of the Vikings organization. Wow, I can just feel the sympathy oozing out of the front office. That’s definitely how all organizations should show their players that they care. “Wow, that really sucks, man. I’m really sorry. Oh, and not only is the woman who helped raise you dead, but it’s going to cost you 25 grand for you to go to her funeral.” Well played, Minnesota. Especially now that it’s gotten out in the press that this is how you handled the situation.
I actually have nothing to say about Brad Childress (yet). Maybe he’s the guy who made the decision to fine Troy Williamson, but I would imagine he doesn’t have a whole lot to do with organizational “business principles.” This seems like it came straight from the front office where some bean counter figured out how they can save some money. Not that I’m cynical about this sort of thing.
I do have one small problem with Williamson’s handling of the situation. The game was last Sunday at 1pm Eastern time. The funeral wasn’t until Monday. That’s a whole different day. Not that Troy Williamson is wrong for leaving when he did, I’m just saying.
Anyway, the part that struck me the most about how badly botched this situation was is when Childress mentioned how Reggie Wayne and Pat Williams (also a Viking) played games shortly after the deaths of family members. At no point is it anyone’s job to say “well, look, this guy played after HIS family member died.” It’s totally up to the player to make that decision. This is why nearly every American company (and Major League Baseball) has bereavement leave. This way, no one screws up in the press like Childress and the Vikings did. Now the whole organization looks callous and uncaring about all of its players, not just their 2005 first-round draft pick. This sure is a good advertisement for free agents Minnesota may want to sign. Nice work, guys.