The only nagging question in the deal that brought Denver QB Jay Cutler to my Chicago Bears this week was Cutler himself: Was his refusal to "take one for the team" in his dealings with new head coach Josh McDaniels a sign that Cuter is a whiny, selfish crybaby?
Sound familiar? Sound like what you've been hearing at your job for years?
Does to me. In fact it sounds EXACTLY like the kind of crap American workers are used to taking from their idiot managers. That's because we've accepted the idea that in America, loyalty runs only one way. Workers are expected to sacrifice for the "team," but "the team" doesn't return that loyalty when profits drop below projections. Hello, layoffs.
So here's what happened in Denver: First-time head-coach McDaniels came in and started putting "his people" in place. Like most good little scared workers, Broncos players kept their mouths shut.
But when Cutler lost his respected position coach in the shuffle, he didn't like the move and didn't pretend otherwise. And McDaniels pretty clearly didn't like being challenged. Young leaders are often like that.
McDaniels engaged in trying to replace Cutler with "his" quarterback from New England, Matt Cassell. He lied about it, then lied about it again, got caught and got corrected. Most of us, concerned about our jobs, look the other way, but Cutler wasn't just rolling over. He was a swaggering, 25-year-old Pro Bowl QB with leverage
The two held a meeting, and Cutler gave McDaniels a chance to correct his mistakes. Instead, McDaniels compounded them. He tried to send Cutler a message about who was in charge, about how he was going to do "whatever was best for the team." And Jay Cutler -- a Vandy grad, by the way -- looked across the table at this wannabe-Belichick and said, in essence, "No sale." McDaniel's claim to understanding what was best for the team assumed facts not in evidence.
In the real world, when you realize that your boss is a lying, self-deluded jerk, you either sell out or take a hike. But in pro sports, your rights are held by the lying, self-deluded jerk.
McDaniels acted like a fool, then looked Cutler in the eye and said "if you can't get on board, let me know right now." And Cutler did. He hoisted McDaniels on his own petard.
Jay Cutler stuck it to The Man. He refused. He took his criticism, his sports-page pillorying, and won.
If you like authority, back the Broncos. If you're sick of being bullied by the Gordon Gekkos and Bill Lumbergs of the world, buy a Cutler jersey.