So far Haynesworth has been skipping "voluntary" minicamps. These are sessions that players are strongly urged to attend, but they cannot be fined for missing them under the NFL-NFLPA collective bargaining agreement. Those rules are still in place despite the fact that the CBA has expired. However, by skipping the coming 2-day minicamp, Haynesworth will finally be violating an enforceable team rule and the Redskins can -- and almost certainly will -- fine him for not attending.
So that's that. But what about the now explicit demand for a trade? Simply, it's outrageous.
Let me lay my cards on the table. I'm almost always on the side of the players. Their careers are short and their contracts, unlike the contracts of coaches or front office personnel, are not guaranteed. They play a brutal game that often leaves them with permanent pain and/or disability. I'm in favor of them getting all the money they can.
Furthermore, nose tackle is a particularly tough position to play. Nose tackles face constant double teams and the position is notorious for the amount of wear and tear it inflicts upon the huge men who play it. I can understand why Haynesworth doesn't want to play the position. I can understand why anyone would not want to play the position. I would not want to play the position. In addition to avoiding the pounding, Haynesworth is also concerned that nose tackles don't run up big sack statistics, thereby hurting his chances for another huge contract after this one.
Nevertheless, Haynesworth has taken about $32 million of Dan Snyder's money in about one calendar year. There is nothing in the contract prohibiting the Redskins from playing Haynesworth at nose tackle or wide receiver, for that matter. Haynesworth is being compensated amply for whatever reasonable demands the Redskins make of him and playing him some of the time at nose tackle is not unreasonable, even if it can be unpleasant.
These demands for a trade are nauseating. Haynesworth is telling the Redskins that he's glad to take their $32 million for one year of work and now he wants out and they better do as he says or he won't show up for work. To hell with that. These trade demands have put the Redskins in a terrible position. No team is going to come even close to giving Washington what Haynesworth is worth and he's worth a lot -- particularly since his contract is very affordable now with the huge initial payouts already made. Teams have often treated players with this sort of shabby contempt, but rarely has a player done so to a team. Haynesworth now has and it smells just as bad when a player does it as when a team does.
Warning the Redskins that "the situation will be a distraction" is Haynesworth's way of telling the team that he'll do whatever he can to make things even worse. Again, it's outrageous. He's telling the Redskins that they have to bend over and allow some team to violate them in a trade because what he will do is even worse.
My advice: Let him try. The Redskins almost surely cannot get anything like fair value for Haynesworth now so why bother? If some team does unexpectedly make a good offer, of course the Redskins should take it. Otherwise, they should shove these threats right down Fat Albert's food-clogged throat. Fine him the maximum for both minicamp days missed and then start fining him for every day of training camp missed. Don't trade him [unless a fair offer comes in], just sit him and take his money. It's clear the money is about all Haynesworth cares about so take it from him. Sit him, fine him, take his cash.
I'd love to see the Redskins stick to their guns and make an example of Haynesworth. His conduct is deplorable, inexcusable. He should not be allowed to take over $30 million in 12 months and then just force his way to another team. It's unjust.
Finally, I hope this serves as a lesson to Dan Snyder. It was always clear Haynesworth was more of a mercenary than the average player and that he cared about the Redskins only so long as their checks were bigger than the checks anyone else was willing to sign over to him. Having gotten the big money, Haynesworth does not even bother to conceal his lack of regard for the interest of his employer or his teammates. This is not the sort of player you want on your team, Dan Snyder. If a public humiliation and a loss of over $30 million is what it takes to teach Dan Snyder a lesson, I guess that's the way it will have to be.