With his mouth, Eric Dickerson says he’s not out to get Jeff Fisher fired. With his fingers, Dickerson is sending a much different message.
“I don’t hold a grudge against him,” the Rams Hall of Famer told Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times regarding the Rams coach. “I don’t have a vendetta against Jeff at all. My thing is, when he said to me that I make his players uncomfortable and his coaches uncomfortable, I don’t want to make anybody uncomfortable. That’s not my job. I want my team to play football.”
It’s hard to reconcile Dickerson’s words with his actions. Specifically, with his “retweets” and “likes” at his Twitter page. For most of the time since the story first emerged, Dickerson has been implicitly approving of tweets that take his side in the squabble over Dickerson’s access to the team — including multiple tweets that openly call for Fisher’s ouster and/or Dickerson’s hiring as the team’s next coach.
So, basically, if this is how Dickerson goes about not trying to get Fisher fired, what would he do if Dickerson actually were trying to get Fisher fired?
As noted by Farmer, Dickerson took aim elsewhere in the organization when discussing the situation on ESPN.
“Very disappointed in [Rams executive] Kevin Demoff,” Dickerson said on SportsCenter. “I told Jeff Fisher this at the beginning, I said, ‘This didn’t come from you, this came from Kevin Demoff.’ And he started laughing. So I said that’s how I feel about this whole situation.”
That’s fine, but Dickerson hasn’t declared that he won’t attend Rams games as long as Demoff is still running the team. Dickerson has said he won’t attend Rams games as long as Fisher is coaching it.
And so while on the surface this story is about the not-so-interesting question of whether Dickerson will or won’t be at games played by the Rams, the real story here is that Dickerson has decided to try to get Fisher fired, regardless of whether Dickerson is willing to admit that he’s trying to get Fisher fired.
Which highlights one of the dangers of a team getting too cozy with former players. Opening the door and welcoming them with open arms means welcoming their opinions. But those opinions can carry significance with the fan base, especially if those opinions are given credence by the team.
The Rams thought sidelines passes and other gratuities would help them curry favor with former players, simultaneously allowing the franchise to use the former players as marketing props and ensuring that they won’t lash out if/when the team underperforms. As to Dickerson, the Rams have badly miscalculated, resulting in a P.R. mess that has endured multiple spins of the 24-hour news cycle — and that could make it harder when the season ends for owner Stan Kroenke to give Fisher a new contract.