In case you missed the news, earlier this morning the Washington
Redskins Football Team released Dwayne Haskins, it’s second-year quarterback and the No. 15 overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Haskins has been a mess from Day 1. He never grasped the offense as a rookie, he didn’t seem to work particularly hard, he played like dog shit, he ignored team rules and, just recently, he was photographed partying without a mask. I’m not saying the Football Team had to release him, but Coach Ron Rivera was certainly justified.
But here’s a thought …
Back when I was Dwayne Haskins’ age, I was a newbie reporter at The Tennessean in Nashville—and I was fucking unbearable. I arrived believing I was God’s gift to writing, then proceeded to make one stupid mistake after another. Misspellings. Misidentifications. Butchered details. Once, I quoted my dad for a story, but used a phony name so nobody would know. Another time, I was assigned two veteran reporters to serve as my mentor … and turned the opportunity down.
I pissed off co-workers with my arrogance. I pissed off advertisers with my copy. The local alt-weekly, The Nashville Scene, labeled me the Tennessean’s “enfant terrible,” adding, “If there’s one cow-pie in the field, The Tennessean’s Jeff Pearlman will manage to step in it.”
In perhaps my greatest moment of stupidity, one night I was working late and a colleague/friend named Sheila had left her computer on. I went on Sheila’s monitor and typed FUCK OFF! (or something along those lines) as a DM, and had her send it to herself. The next morning I arrived at work to find everyone in a panic. Turns out Sheila was worried someone was stalking her—especially after she had received a threatening message. Security was called, etc.
I was nearly fired.
I should have been fired.
I wasn’t fired.
Why? My boss, a lovely woman named Catherine Mayhew, still believed in me. She said I couldn’t continue down this path; that I was sabotaging myself and my future; that I needed to reassess and reevaluate and think about the person I wanted to be.
I was then banished from the features department, and placed on the late-night police beat. It changed my life.
Dwayne Haskins still has a chance.
He just needs to start growing up.