Plenty of fans complain that former NFL players won’t criticize current NFL players out of deference to their former brethren. But then when one of the former players is willing to criticize current players, the former player gets criticized for it.
Donovan McNabb, who now works for NFL Network and NBC Sports Radio, is paid for his opinions. And yet when McNabb gives his opinions, he gets ripped for it.
So why is it happening? For starters, McNabb was heavily criticized throughout his career, by the media and at times other players. The sense that McNabb underachieved as a player seems to still hover over him, causing folks who already don’t like him to look for any reason to criticize him again, even when he’s doing the very thing that so many fans crave — criticizing current players.
Also, McNabb has developed a reputation, right or wrong, for whining. To plenty of fans, his opinions don’t come off as the analysis of a former player now paid to share his views but as an extension of the perceived whining that happened during his career.
In recent months, McNabb has criticized Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo’s new contract, Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III’s handling of his knee injury, and most recently Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford’s new contract. As to Romo, McNabb had a point. As to Griffin, McNabb had a point. As to Stafford, McNabb has a point, even though his point overlooks the leverage Stafford had via an exorbitant contract signed two years before the adoption of the rookie wage scale.
Regardless, McNabb’s job is to give opinions. And he’s doing so in a way that too few former players do. Those who have a knee-jerk reaction to complain about anything McNabb says or does should consider that before criticizing him the next time he criticizes someone.