This story is awesome. Sorry Waters, I love ya, but we're doing things differently now. You're either with us or you're against us.
This article by Bob Gretz spells it out perfectly:
Waters Learns It’s A New Chiefs World
February 27, 2009 - Bob Gretz |
Brian Waters gets failing grades for his first two tests in what is the brave new world of the Kansas City Chiefs.
The veteran guard failed to understand the message that was sent to him by Scott Pioli and Todd Haley.
And then he failed again when he apparently blabbed about his frustration and emotions and the information landed in the hands of Jason Whitlock and the Kansas City Star.
We hate to link to the Star for anything because they absolutely refuse to admit this site even exists. But if you haven’t read the story of an unhappy Brian Waters, then click here. We’ll provide a better written short version.
Waters did not like what he heard at the Pro Bowl about his new head coach. Gossip around the hotel pool with guys from the Arizona Cardinals was that Haley could be aloof and difficult to deal with. Waters decided to come to Kansas City and hear straight from the guys in charge what their plans are for this team.
According to the story, Pioli would not give him a meeting and Haley only had time to chat as they walked down a hallway in the team’s offices. Reportedly Haley told Waters that he could have gone out and gotten 22 guys off the street and won two games.
This attitude or in Whitlock’s word “arrogance” angered Waters and he then tried to contact Clark Hunt, who apparently would not take his call. That’s when Waters on Thursday called Haley and asked that the team to trade him.
Now Whitlock’s story does not quote Waters by name, and says the information came from someone with “knowledge of the situation.” Generally, that’s a player’s agent in that role. But Waters does not have an agent; he handles his contract stuff himself. So it’s pretty plain thanks to the detail in the narrative that the source of the information in the story is Waters himself, or someone Waters had spoken to in great detail. It’s either him or Haley and I think we are on very safe ground knowing it was not the head coach.
So, let’s say that everything in the story is accurate, at least to how Waters viewed what went down in the Chiefs offices. What should the average fan take from this?
I think the average fan already knows what Waters found out: that the whole world at Arrowhead has been turned upside down. The old way of doing things is out the door, and that goes for all facets of the operation.
Waters believed that as a nine-year veteran, team captain, Pro Bowler, team player rep and all-around locker room lawyer, he had the cache to walk in and get answers from those new guys in charge.
What he found out was that at Pioli and Haley’s poker table, he had no chips, he had no stake, he had no pull.
And from the view of Pioli/Haley, why should they spend even a minute talking with Waters right now? There are more important things to worry about like free agency, deciding on an offense, deciding on a defense, and preparing for the draft.
Plus, all they know is Brian Waters has been a starter on a team that has gone 6-26 in the last two seasons. What kind of answers does he have? What can they learn from him? Pioli can pull out three Super Bowl rings from his desk. How many winning post-season games has Waters played in? The answer would be none.
Whether this is the best way to handle players and people will be shown over the coming months and years. Pioli and Haley could have been more polite and handled Waters as if he was an asset that they still have available to them. But they are creating a new culture around the Chiefs and the way Waters was handled was likely done for a reason.
You can bet that Pioli/Haley have been told that Waters is a team leader. So they wanted to make sure the team leader got the message that things were going to be very different around the Chiefs. Whether it was done consciously or not, you can bet those two wanted to see how Waters handled the situation. They wanted to see if he could be their kind of leader.
And there were two ways Waters could have gone. He could have gone home, picked up the phone, called his teammates and told them “Boys, this is a brave new world and you had better buckle up and get to work because things have changed completely.”
Or he could have gone home, tried to go over the head of the new guys and then decided he didn’t want any part of the situation. To make sure the message was driven home, the whole thing was leaked so it could be made public.
For Pioli and Haley, their message still got out. Other players will hear of Waters’ story and quickly realize that things are very different around the Chiefs. Less established players will note how their buddy B-Dub was handled.
Brian Waters has always come across as a pretty sharp guy, and there’s no debating he’s been an asset to the team both on and off the field. But he missed the mark on this situation completely.
What he is soon to learn, just as Tony Gonzalez learned last year and just as Larry Johnson will learn as well, is that a player can’t fire a team. One of the things a player gives up when they receive those millions of dollars from management is the right to decide where and for whom they play. Waters can change that by staying home and forfeiting the millions. He has that right.
But his football future will be decided by the guy who wouldn’t have a meeting with him and the guy that apparently offended him.
It will be decided by two guys that gave him a test that he failed.