Highly dysfunctional teams continue to do highly dysfunctional things.
In a statement issued Sunday morning regarding the Trent Williams situation, the NFL Players Association cites “misinformation” from NFL Network regarding the health issues of Washington’s left tackle.
“In our multiple conversations with Trent and his agent, we have considered various options based on the facts, but we also understand that Trent wants to put this all behind him, not relive a painful experience when his life was in danger and move on with his career,” the NFLPA said in its statement. “We are also aware of misinformation being repeated on the NFL’s own network that is not sourced and is only designed to tarnish Trent’s reputation. Our union supports Trent, is protecting his rights and continues to consider potential action if a campaign against him continues.”
The NFLPA is referring to comments made Friday by former Washington G.M. Charley Casserly on NFL Network. Casserly said that Williams was told three years ago that the growth on his head should be biopsied, but that Williams never scheduled the procedure. Casserly also suggested that Williams’ complaints are “about money,” and Casserly then dusted off the get-off-my-lawn “he signed a contract” take from old-school football types regarding Williams’ position that his current contract lacks guaranteed money.
“The bottom line is he was advised to go have this thing surgically removed to analyze it three years ago and he never made the appointment,” Casserly said.
Apart from the fact that someone from the Washington organization has fed private medical information (and possibly medical misinformation) to Casserly, who published it without hesitation on the network owned by the NFL, Casserly’s comments hardly absolve the team of responsibility for the fact that the growth on Williams’ head went unchecked for years. If Casserly is correct that Williams was told to have the growth surgically examined three years ago, why didn’t team doctors follow up with him, repeatedly? If someone decided that a biopsy was needed, the passage of time makes it more important, not less important, especially if (as Williams contends) the growth on his head continued to grow.
Williams isn’t the normal patient who receives a medical recommendation and then goes home, ignores it, and never goes back. He’s constantly around doctors and other medical professionals. Absent clear documentation that Williams was acting against clear and unmistakable medical advice, the mere fact that someone flagged the growth for further examination three years ago but that it was not biopsied for an extended period of time points to clear negligence — and in turn more of the dysfunction that seems to touch every aspect of the Washington operation.