Peter Steele, singer and bassist for the band Type O Negative and onetime Playgirl centerfold model, died last month of heart failure. Afterward, I made my customary dead celebrity jokes, none of which were in good taste. I did the same when Michael Jackson died a year ago. This deeply offended a few of my acquaintances. I was unfriended on Facebook by two people over a remark about Jackson looking at the man in the mirror and seeing dead people. This time around, there was no outrage (or faux-outrage, as I’m positive the majority of the offended hadn’t listened to the King of Pop at any point in the decade prior). Reactions ranged from indifference to amusement.
So what’s the moral of the story? If you want complete strangers to feign sorrow of your passing, don’t write borderline unlistenable goth metal.
What does any of this have to do with Kansas City football? Nothing, aside from the fact that the title of one of Steele’s better known songs made a good title for an article about Dwayne Bowe. Unsuccessfully Coping With The Natural Beauty Of Infidelity was written from the perspective of an individual whose significant other is unable to control his/her hormonal inclinations. Perhaps, then, I should have gone with Ludacris’s Hoes In Different Area Codes instead.
In case any of you missed yesterday’s news, Dwayne Bowe suffered a minor case of diarrhea of the mouth and told an ESPN reporter that some of his teammates aren’t completely faithful to their wives or girlfriends. Apparently some of them like to have hotel parties on traveling weeks. Some of them fly in specific girls. Others pick dance partners from the abundance of loose trim congregating in the players’ rooms. Sometimes the girls bring cameras and try to take pictures with the players for their Facebook pages. Wives and girlfriends aren’t fond of this practice, and thus the players themselves don’t care for it much either.
I’ll give you a moment to absorb that, as I’m sure none of you could have pictured such a thing happening. No Kansas City player has ever, for instance, fathered seven children by five women. The fact that some young women are gold diggers and starf**ckers is probably equally shocking, so I’ll give you yet another moment.
That an athlete is cheating on his spouse isn’t news. That a teammate alluded to said infidelity in an interview isn’t news either, nor is the fact that said teammate categorically absolved himself from any wrongdoing. Bowe doesn’t need to don sunglasses and weep-speak the words “that’s my quarterback” to make amends to his teammates. He didn’t name names; ergo, no harm, no foul.
It was, however, a boneheaded move. As a first round draft pick entering his fourth year of service, he should be aiming to assert himself as a leader of his team. This maneuver won’t endear him to teammates, coaches, front office personnel, or anyone else who wields the ability to influence his future. Say, for instance, that you’re Brodie Croyle. Say, for instance, that you replaced Matt Cassel as the starter after the bye week. Say, for instance, that it’s week 14, and you’re headed off to California to play the Chargers. Shortly before leaving your house to board the plane, Kelli gives you an early Christmas present: a long, drawn out inquiry as to whether or not you have any potential guests awaiting your arrival.
Now say, for instance, that you’re in the red zone. Casey Wiegmann snaps you the ball. The protection is solid. You’re comfortable in the pocket. You scan through your reads. Dwayne Bowe is open in the end zone. So is Chris Chambers. As you cock your arm back to throw, you hear Kelli’s voice in your head. Who gets the ball?
I have no serious concern of the aforementioned events taking place for a bevy of reasons, the most significant of which is that Todd Haley won’t let Dwayne Bowe anywhere near the endzone if he continues to drop passes. I am concerned, however, that this may be a ploy. Kevin Kietzman – a bastion of reliable information – speculated today that this, combined with Bowe’s penchant for putting the ball on the ground, might be grounds to consider a trade. Maybe he’s right. Maybe it’s best for the Chiefs and Bowe to part ways. But if that’s the decision made by Haley and Scott Pioli, I’m concerned that it sets a dangerous precedent.
I don’t know very many Chiefs fans that were sorry to see Larry Johnson go away. Larry played well below his pay grade and generally made an ass out of himself whenever possible, be it at home, online, or in the club. I was a major proponent of that transaction. With Bowe, however, regardless of what he does or how badly he plays, I don’t think the Chiefs can afford to lose him. If he is traded or allowed to walk, it sends a clear message to the rest of the team: if you want out, screw up on the field, then go home and screw up some more.
Love him or hate him, the organization has in its recent past an excellent role model for how to handle these situations: Carl Peterson. Carl didn’t bargain with or cave to the demands of disgruntled employees. Haley’s and Pioli’s approach, as demonstrated thus far, is a stolid declaration of My Way Or The Highway. With Peterson, there was no highway. That’s exactly the attitude that needs to be in place in the front office right now. Park Bowe on the bench. Send him out to make tackles on special teams. If necessary, don’t even suit him up. Petition Roger Goodell to instate a new roster status: Psychologically Unable to Perform. Just keep him on the roster. Let the players know that the only way out of a contract early is to genuinely suck at your job.
Some would contend, of course, that Bowe has already accomplished exactly that. He hasn’t. Even in a down year, he’s a 600 yard receiver. Terrance Copper has barely more than that for his entire career, and he’s headed into his eighth season. Bowe is a phenomenally gifted athlete, and thus he accomplishes more on autopilot than most players are capable of under any circumstance. Copper could put in the kind of study time Priest Holmes did, and he still wouldn’t be close to Bowe’s level. In other words, Bowe is everything you’d expect from an LSU alum. Still, sans a backup plan and compensation commensurate with his talent, there can be no highway. For nothing else than the sake of preserving order, for the remainder of his contract, Bowe must remain a Chief.
Unless he starts writing borderline unlistenable goth metal. If I hear him singing any Seals & Crofts song… ANY Seals & Crofts song… all bets are off.