Maybe it’s apropos that Jimmy Johnson used to coach the Dallas Cowboys because America’s Team is still using the same sliding scale of discipline that helped define the former Super Bowl-winning mentor.
Johnson’s mentality was flashed when he once saw a special teamer sleeping during a meeting and promptly cut him. A reporter asked the flamboyant coach what he would have done if Troy Aikman was the one getting a few extra Zs, “That’s easy,” Johnson said, “I’d have gone over and said, ‘Troy, wake up.'”
That might not seem fair to those who don’t understand football, but it sure was pragmatic. The Hall of Famer is always going to get more rope than the 53rd guy on the roster.
Johnson was always big on treating all of his players fairly but not necessarily the same, a nod to the realization dealing with all players in a similar manner may sound great on paper but it’s also unrealistic. Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin types have always gotten the longer leash than the average Joe and that’s not changing anytime soon in any NFL city.
It’s been over two decades since Johnson last called North Texas home, but his mindset lives on.
In his six games as a Cowboy, Greg Hardy has used up all the slack on his rather lengthy rope by getting away with the stupid comments, fighting with coaches and teammates, and flashing a serial tardiness to team meetings all because he’s one of the best pass rushers on the planet. Meanwhile, cornerback Corey White and running back Christine Michael were recently cut for showing up to the team’s flight to Tampa without a suit.
White confirmed to TMZ Sports that his poor choice of clothing resulted in his pink slip, and current Cowboys coach Jason Garrett didn’t run from the rather obvious contradiction on the team’s disciplinary scale.
Rules for thee, but not for me? NFL's Corey White — Yes, Cowboys Cut Me Over Clothes https://t.co/airQSuoyZf via TMZ
— Charles Browning (@ChasBrowning) November 24, 2015
“We evaluate our players every minute of every day,” the coach claimed. “We evaluate our players in meetings, in walk throughs, on the practice field, the opportunity to get in games, how they interact with their teammates. The body of work of each of those guys. We evaluate all of it.
“At some point you say we feel like we like we should give someone else the opportunity to have this privilege to be a Dallas Cowboy. That is what we did in both of those cases. The decisions were made in the best interest of the Dallas Cowboys.”
To some that might seem like an embarrassing take considering the antics of Hardy, whose behavior coming off his high-profile domestic violence incident has been egregious.
But, two different sources in Dallas told FanRagSports.com there is a method to Garrett’s madness, in that the coach may be trying to out owner Jerry Jones as the one protecting Hardy from a similar fate afterthoughts like White and Michael just suffered.
When pressed on the suits and the rather obvious contradictions in discipline surrounding his team, Garrett deflected by repeating the same mantra, “We evaluate our players every minute of every day.”
By doing that, he kicked the can upstairs to the feet of Jones, the meddling owner who wields all the real power in this organization.
Sometimes Garrett, who probably has less stroke than any coach in this league, or Stephen Jones, Jerry’s son and the Cowboys COO, can talk some sense into Jerry — think convincing him to take Zack Martin instead of Johnny Manziel in the 2014 draft — but, to this point, no one has been able to convince the elder Jones that Hardy is staining his organization and damaging the sports’ biggest brand.
By cutting two players who weren’t producing for a run-of-the-mill infraction, Garrett accomplished two goals, sending a message to his locker room and one to his employer, who has been the tone deaf one on the Hardy issue to this point.
— John McMullen is a national football columnist for FanRagSports.com and TodaysPigskin.com. You can reach him at email@example.com or on Twitter @jfmcmullen — Also catch John this season on ESPN Southwest Florida every Monday at 3 PM ET; on ESPN Lexington every Thursday at 6:05 ET, and live every Tuesday from 2 to 6 PM ET at the Golden Nugget Casino in Atlantic City for the NFL Wraparound on ESPN South Jersey.
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