I gave this a day to simmer to see what would come of it from the local media. As expected, total media blackout. Canepa, silent. Acee, silent. NOTHING. Some excerpts from the interview can be found at this fansite which is always an "interesting" read in and of itself.
I had a few thoughts on this interview as I was so unlucky as to hear it live. I have now set a permanent reminder on my phone daily so that I never forget my ipod ever, ever, evereverever again. Sports radio is a bigger debacle than most other media outlets. Good god damn I'd rather go to jail for raping children with lawn rakes than to subject myself to that audio equivalent of waterboarding.
The one and only thing I can really say about this, aside from the fact that it was an unplanned act initiated by the Godfather in order to extend himself to the media, while keeping them completely unprepared to pepper him with the questions we all want answered. He says the Marti in the P.R. department called and made him do it. Marti was a neighbor of mine for a time. She's a tiny five foot nothing woman. She can make him go on the radio with a mere phone call? Perhaps she can influence him to sign and fire the proper people. She ought to accost him with a mirror with the word "FIRED" painted across the bottom of it. Maybe that would work.
Many have gotten on Darren Smith's case for not putting Lord Corleone on blast, however, make no mistake about it he was ambushed. He did his best ad lib and did what he could to extract some explanations from the G.M. and the G.M. did his best bob and weave to avoid admitting any responsibility for the current incarnation of the Chargers. He was also very clear about it being on the players, not the coaches. His coach was quoted in the UT today by Tim Sullivan as saying, "A week ago, New England was playing the best,” Turner said. “A month ago, Atlanta was playing the best and they got beat bad by New Orleans. So I’m not sure there’s a pure dominant team right now." Yeah, Atlanta won that game. Won. Not beat bad. Won. Glad you're the captain of the Valdez to Los Angeles fine sir.
There was the one contradiction in the dialogue that stuck with me. A.J. continued to insist that everyone was aware that with the current labor unrest, no Charger would be getting long term deals until such time that the union and the league reached some predictable stage of a settlement. He repeatedly reiterated that sentiment to the radio audience, and out of his own mouth, to the agents of the three disgruntled Chargers you may have heard mentioned here at this site and elsewhere. No Charger would receive long term contracts. None. Except Philip Rivers. Just him. No other Charger. Except Antonio Gates. But no one else. Nobody. Sign your more than fair, generous tenders and come to work. That is the message. And that message is crystal clear. The players, by turning down those initial tenders and threatening to hold out, essentially spit in the face of the Godfather, and in doing so, completely shut down the negotiations as he, "had to take them at their word." He called that the end of the negotiation process. He, "Could have given all three what they wanted and they'd have been there the first day of camp." But that's not his philosophy or the way things "get done." It "doesn't hit him real well." It's entirely possible that you could have found a middle ground for everyone involved, and everyone could have been happy. But that wouldn't have made A.J. happy. End of story.
Now, needless to say that all three of these players situations could have been handled individually. Merriman certainly had to prove he was at least a shadow of his former beastly self, and assuredly, Vinny Jackdaniels needed to prove that there was in fact a breathalyzer that he couldn't set afire with his wind. Listen to how proud he is that Merriman is in Buffalo. Deserved or undeserved listen to the satisfaction in his voice. But lumping Marcus into that duo was silly, petty and spiteful. Ego aside, he could have negotiated with each player on the merits of their play and off field presence and pay them market value for a year based on their individual situations. He chose not to. He also chose to suspend them. Another ego play that did not need to occur. This was never a negotiation, it was A.J. demonstrating his power and prematurely attempting to cement a legacy, a legacy that to date has been plagued with inefficiency, incompetence, irresponsibility and quite frankly failure at every level. Players, coaching and managing. All earn F grades. F. To quote Animal House and Canepa, "Zero. Zero points. Zero." Listen to the interview. I beg of you. The last five or so minutes are just nothing short of incredible.
It is truly all ego. Through to the bone. All ego.