Portis discusses relationship with "Mr. Snyder"
After Abe Pollin died, both Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler discussed how frequently they'd talk to Pollin on the phone or visit with him in his office, talking about their families and about life. This was seen as a charming thing, showing how much Pollin cared for his players, and vice versa. And even though Jamison and Butler consistently referred to Pollin as "Mr. Pollin," and for years talked publicly about what a wonderful man he was, no one saw this as some sort of inappropriate flattery that undermined the structure of the team.
But it goes without saying that when there's chatter about Clinton Portis visiting with Daniel Snyder in his office or in social settings, fans and media members don't take as kindly a view. I'm not sure exactly why that is -- maybe because of Snyder's age, or because of Portis's history, or because of the larger roster and greater discipline needed on a football team. But regardless, I know for certain that Portis didn't help matters Tuesday, when he went on ESPN 980's "John Thompson Show" and discussed his relationship with Snyder at great length.
Thompson -- who has grown expert at pushing Portis's buttons -- asked Portis to describe his relationship with the owner, and whether it has been portrayed accurately. In response, the running back issued a passionate, rambling explanation filled with potential land mines about Snyder and his teammates.
"Man, it's actually not being portrayed accurately," Portis began. "I think anybody on our team could call Mr. Snyder or talk to Mr. Snyder or sit around and crack jokes with Mr. Snyder. For myself, my personality is the same with Mr. Snyder as it is with [equipment manager] Brad Berlin in the locker room. You know, I talk to them the same way, have fun with them, laugh at jokes and keep it moving. You know, I don't go to Mr. Snyder and ask to get out of something or for special treatment or anything else. I think it's just a function of everybody around.
"You know, I never called on him to [overrule] anything that I heard. If Coach Gibbs or Coach Zorn told me I couldn't do something, I'm [not] gonna go behind their back and ask Mr. Snyder. I think my relationship with him was just that of a respect thing, knowing how hard he was trying, and conversating about the team, and trying to give my input and help get the team going in the right direction. And then all of a sudden it came out as if, Oh, I'm the owner's pet, and don't nothing happen to me, and I won't get disciplined and I can do whatever I want to do.
"It's not like that," Portis continued, "because I can name other players who have that same relationship with Mr. Snyder. And as far as us going to dinner and all that, I don't think me and him get in the car and go to dinner together. Have we ended up at the same restaurant? Numerous times. I mean, he likes good food, and so do I, so if we're in the same restaurant, why wouldn't I go speak or exchange a glass of wine or a bottle of wine? I mean, I think that's a respect thing, and he gave me the money and allowed me to do it, so why not show my appreciations if I see him out in public?
"So I think everybody's just got it confused. And you look around and it's like you want there to be a fall-guy, and people in the locker room really not being stand up. You know, if you've got a problem, man, you go and talk to [Snyder] and see how he react to you. Don't sit there and think, oh, because I talk to him, he treat me someway, and if you say something, he won't acknowledge you. He'll acknowledge you.
"Hey, you know Mr. Snyder, after the game, if you win, he'll address everybody in the locker room. You lose, hey, he ain't gonna address nobody. He ain't gonna say nothing to you. You know that. Everybody knows that. It ain't no different with me, he don't speak to me after we lose, he speak to me after we win, just like he do everybody else.
(Yes, this is still the same answer, even though he now veers in an entirely new, and even more dangerous direction.)
"So I mean, I just think as people, man, you've got to get more stand-up guys, more guys that's gonna own up to the things they do," Portis continued. "You know, I own up to everything I do. When I got in trouble, whatever my consequences was or my fine was, I paid that and I left that alone. You know, when I did right, I deserved the recognition I got for it. But at the same time I never made it about me me me me me, I was always a team guy, will always be a team guy, jumped on more grenades for teammates than anybody else ever has.
"And maybe it don't come out, and maybe they won't say it, but there ain't a person in that locker room who I haven't went to bat for, or haven't stood up for, or haven't helped out, or haven't tried to guide. Anybody in that locker room know if they called on me, if they needed me, if they wanted something from me, I was the easiest person to talk to. I never had that reaction when somebody tried to tell me something and I explode -- no man, you've got it wrong! You know, if you critique me or have something to say to me and you came, I took that into consideration.
"Now, do I do what you told me to do? No, but I'll take it into consideration. If London Fletcher or James Thrash or one of those guys pulled me to the side, I took it into higher consideration than I would anybody else, because I don't look up to everybody on that team. But when you've got guys such as London Fletcher or James Thrash or even a Rock Cartwright that come and talk to you, then you know, all right, let me take this into consideration. These guys gonna give it all they've got. But as far as everybody else, I mean, some of them stand up, some of them not. Outside of Santana, from my regular conversations, and who I sit next to in the locker room, I don't go around talking to people."
Finally, Thompson got a word in, allowing Portis to breathe. The coach asked how Portis would respond if Thompson, as his coach, told him he didn't want him communicating with the owner.
"I mean, if that was definitely an issue to you, then I would respect that," Portis said. "I mean, I wouldn't stop talking to him as far as speaking. But if you didn't want me going to sit beside him during practice when I don't have anything to do because I ain't on special teams and I'm just sitting over there kicking a football, or I'm done, jogging around and I'm over there talking to the owner, if you didn't want that, then ok, cool, you say that, and I've got to abide by that."
See, he wouldn't stop talking to him as far as speaking, but he would abide by that. Thompson kept it up, asking Portis to presume that as his coach, he asked him just to stop talking to the owner entirely, even at the restaurant. And somehow this became the jumping off point for another long one.
"So, would it be a disrespect thing if I saw you and your wife sitting there in the restaurant and I walked in and didn't acknowledge you all?" Portis asked. "Now I'm sitting here thinking the owner's looking at me like Who does he think he is, and everybody that's there in the restaurant is like 'Oh, they're on bad terms,' so I would never do that either.
"But I think everybody would assume there was brown-nosing, like I walk up to the owner today and say, 'Hey, Mr. Snyder, hey, what's up buddy,' you know? It never was that. And I think people just got to the point of being uncomfortable, and once people worried about themselves and their jobs, and all of that even becomes exposed.
"I think everything that ever went on our locker room became exposed, and I don't think that's supposed to happen," Portis said, again taking the conversation in an even more controversial direction. "I know I never went to the media with anything but my issues, I never came to anybody and said 'Well, this is going on or that's going on, or this is going on.' But somehow, someway, everything over there is leaked into the media. It's the topic of conversation.
"You guys told me anonymous guys talking about 'Oh, this ain't right,' but they don't put their names behind it. Stand up, take credit for what you say. If I say something, I'm saying it on Coach Thompson's Show. I don't go on no other radio shows, I don't talk to the media, when I come out and say it, it's on Coach Thompson. Clinton Portis has said it. It ain't no if, and or buts about it. And I don't retract from my conversation or turn my back....I said it, now what we gonna do. If I'm gonna get in trouble, I'll take criticism."
Soon after, Portis began explaining why Jason Campbell was a weak offensive captain, but we'll leave that for another blog post.
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