As he's known to do, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith ranted about the Redskins, calling the team losers. Players and coaches took exception to that, personally.
The fuss started in the immediate moments after the Redskins beat the Eagles last Sunday. Chris Baker and Ricky Jean François celebrated the win in the tunnel with cameras rolling, and Smith eventually watched the video. From there, Smith made some tremendous leaps, determining that celebrating a big division win equated to a loser mentality and showed why the Washington franchise has struggled for the better part of two decades.
On Wednesday, the Redskins fired back, though prudently. Jay Gruden made clear that there is no upside for his players to get in public quarrels with members of the media, but that Smith's also comments went too far. The coach's best quotes:
- I like our guys being confident. I like them being upbeat and excited about winning football games. As far as being NFC East champs, defending champs, we are. You know, I’m proud of that and our guys are proud of that. It’s something that we have to defend. And it is an honor to be an NFC East Champion. We have a longer way to go. We want more from our football team than that. But, I really don’t want people to get in bickering matches with the media. You can’t win. Just can’t win. But, I know Stephen does a good job with what he does, but he doesn’t know our team. He doesn’t know our coaches. He doesn’t know our fan base. And for him to call us all losers is out of line by him because he doesn’t know Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed, Morgan Moses, Brandon Scherff and Will Blackmon and Ryan Kerrigan. He doesn’t know the type of work these guys put in, the type of players they are, the type of people they are, the coaching staff that we have.
- We do take it personally – you have to if people call you out like that. But you also have to understand that when someone calls you out like that and they don’t know anything about what we’ve done and what we’ve been through together and the work that they’ve put in, you don’t really take too much account in it. It bothers me because he’s calling my guys that. If he wants to call me that, that’s fine. But when he starts talking about the players and the staff and the ownership, all the people who work so hard in this building, it bothers you
Chris Baker - who got into it with the ESPN personality on Twitter - also talked about Smith's comments.
I think it's very disrespectful, we are the defending NFC East champions...We work our butts off to continue to get better each week.
People are going to talk trash every day, you kinda got to tune it out...I probably should have ignored it...I still don’t want anybody disrespecting me or my teammates.
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