This Donovan McNabb benching story is reverberating through the league faster than the story about Brett Favre leaving voicemails and sending texts to a femme fatale. It really has struck a chord with former players. This morning on ESPN’s MikeandMike, Mark Schlereth approached it from the perspective that Mike Shanahan should be ashamed of himself. Early this afternoon on Fox Sports Radio, Keyshawn Johnson approached it from the perspective that Donovan McNabb is one of the best quarterbacks in the history of pro football and should never be benched. Both directly called Coach Shanahan’s integrity into question.
Keyshawn Johnson figures that if you listed 1000 quarterbacks who have played in the NFL, McNabb would be among the top 40. At the same time, however, he said it’s not fair to compare McNabb to the Tom Bradys, Brett Favres, and Peyton Mannings of the world, because they’re in a different situation than he is. That could be code for saying don’t compare black quarterbacks to white quarterbcks, but maybe not.
Clearly empathizing strongly with McNabb, Johnson said Shanahan told a bold faced lie both times when he presented reasons why McNabb was pulled from the Lions’ game last week. Any suggestion that Number 5 was either not smart enough or not in good enough condition to run the two-minute offense was bullocks, according to Johnson. He and Schlereth may be right, but maybe while they’re condemning Shanahan they should ask “If he did lie, why would he do so?”
I’m not suggesting that there are times when you should lie. This is a family site, after all. That’s the last thing we want to teach our children. But think about it, maybe McNabb’s hammies were hurting to the extent he shouldn’t have played. And maybe Mike Shanahan didn’t want to advertise that fact to the world. All I’m saying is that his motivation may not have been noferious, which is a fancy way of saying he meant well toward McNabb while not really caring what people outside the Redskins’ organization thought. He wouldn’t be the first coach to hold that view, right or wrong.
So, here we are wondering what the climate will be in the Redskins’ locker room next week, and also wondering how McNabb will react. I suspect the Skins’ locker room has enough solidarity that McNabb’s teammates will go about their jobs, and that Number 5 will continue to deflect questions about the incident and be his usual business-like self. What is it the Redskins said after their victory over the Beagles in Philly? Absolutely!