Tuesday, November 4, 2003 Updated: November 6, 5:36 PM ET
Woodson just might be right
By Tim Keown Page 2 columnist
The coach is always right, right? That seems to be the message you get most often from the people who are paid to analyze professional football. But what if an allegedly divisive influence -- oh, let's call him Charles Woodson -- is the one who's right?
Woodson has engaged in a nearly weeklong harangue against Raiders coach Bill Callahan, and you don't have to be the king of insight to realize he's not just speaking for himself. In fact, it's a pretty good bet Woodson is speaking for more than half of the locker room, given both his persistence and insistence in the matter of Callahan's shortcomings.
Raiders coach Bill Callahan is taking heat from his star cornerback, Charles Woodson.
So why are so many members of the media -- granted, they're usually former players -- so quick to chastise a player for not keeping his opinions "in-house"? Woodson has repeatedly given the traditional middle finger to the locker-room motto: What's said here stays here.
Not that this was Woodson's intention, but players who express their concerns in public about how their team is being run are doing the fans a service. The people who pay their money to support a professional team are entitled to know what's going on behind the curtain. If Woodson and Rice and Brown and whoever else believe the Raiders are having directional difficulties, the guy shelling out too much money to sit too far away from the field on Sunday needs to know.
So if you're in the media business, if you're one of us -- whether you admit it or not -- then you know the players who keep things "in-house" don't make for the best TV. If you have a rooting interest, it should be for "out-house" every time. Kobe and Shaq? Come out and stay out. Charles Woodson? He's out, way out, and he seems to be enjoying it. Don't discourage him. Who knows, he might even be right.
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Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.