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Thursday, December 10, 2009
 
Bill Belichick and Punishing Players Who Are Late for Meetings during Snow Storms

Yesterday morning four Patriots players -- including Randy Moss and Adalius Thomas -- were between 10 and 20 minutes late for an 8 a.m. meeting. It was snowing that morning in Massachusetts (which weather forecasts had predicted, so the snow was foreseeable to anyone with access to a forecast). Thomas had called the team to let them know that he would be late due to the weather; it's unclear whether the other players did as well.

In response to the players' tardiness, coach Bill Belichick sent them home. While the players were not fined, they felt embarrassed by the punishment. As a contextual point, the 7-5 Patriots, though in first place in the middling AFC East, have lost two in a row and many commentators have opined that the team has not played up to its potential. Thomas, in particular, has been cited as an under-performing player.

Thomas is now speaking out against Belichick's decision. Here are excerpts to what Thomas had to say to ESPN's Mike Reiss:
Reiss: What can you tell us about yesterday?

Thomas: “I got sent home. That’s pretty much it, for being late.”
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Reiss: Can you add more context to that; maybe a reason behind it?

Thomas: “I think everyone woke up to the snow yesterday. I didn’t know it was going to snow. There was traffic. I can’t run people over getting to work. I don’t do that. I actually almost had a car accident. It is what it is. He did what he thought was best for him. That’s what he did.”
-----
Reiss: Do you feel compelled to say something to them – an apology or what have you?

Thomas: “I don’t know. That’s one thing about Mother Nature. You can’t control that. You can’t run people over getting to work. There is nothing to really apologize about. I didn’t try to be late. That’s basically it, though. I don’t know what else to say. You leave home, you have people there, cars sitting in the road, you’re sitting there, what do you do? It’s not the Jetsons, I can’t jump up and just fly. What the heck am I supposed to do?”
-----
Reiss: Can what happened yesterday serve as motivation?

Thomas: : “Motivation is for Kindergarteners. I’m not a Kindergartner. Sending somebody home, that’s like ‘He’s expelled, come back and make good grades.’ Get that [expletive] out of here. That’s ridiculous. Motivation?”
Should players be punished -- and I think being sent home is a punishment, even if it does not financially harm a player -- for showing up late when it's snowing or there is some other dangerous weather condition? Are they supposed to leave earlier for work? Who's right here?





13 Comments:

Yes I believe they should be punished and Coach is right for sending them home. After all, the rest of the team made it to work on time, showing that the late players were either (a) very unlucky, or, more likely, (b) irresponsible for not checking the weather reports and planning accordingly. Obviously, if there is extreme weather which causes significant delays, players should be excused for their tardiness. Even though Thomas notified the team that he would be late (in accordance with team policy), this does not excuse him from punishment. This notification simply lets the team know that he will be at the meeting and that he is not in any danger. If the same situation were to occur in a more "normal" work environment, and 49 out of 53 workers arrived on time despite a forseeable storm,those 4 who were late would have a tough time avoiding punishment. Thomas needs to be more responsible and plan ahead, and maybe he should try weather.com, I hear it is a very good site.

Anonymous Jake J -- 12/10/2009 8:24 PM  


What sort of "normal" job do you have where you would get punished for being half an hour late because of weather?

Blogger kellemonster -- 12/10/2009 8:35 PM  


The fact is that this punishment does not happen if the Patriots are not reeling. For this first time in a long time, people are questioning Belichick. He's just trying to make a statement to reassert his authority. Although I think he's wrong, this definitely does not happen if the Pats are 9-3.

Blogger Dylan Murphy -- 12/10/2009 11:01 PM  


Absolutely an okay move. It's about being professional and responsible. What if you are late to the courthouse and your case gets tossed out? Same concept here. You're not always going to get a free pass. Early is the new "on time," or at least it should be.

Blogger Pbenn001 -- 12/10/2009 11:31 PM  


If a case gets tossed because a lawyer is 20 minutes late in a snowstorm, then the judge needs to be impeached. We need to keep things in context and not look to punish athletes just because they're rich and famous. I could go either way on this one. On one hand, everyone else made it on time and adults have a responsibility to check the weather and plan ahead. On the other hand, as the saying goes, "the best laid plans . . ." If he gave himself extra time, then called when he realized he wasn't going to make it, I can understand why Thomas was upset about being sent home. This would not happen in "normal" jobs, except in a few very unique circumstances.

Anonymous Jerry -- 12/11/2009 10:39 AM  


There's nothing wrong with the move from a professional standpoint, people have been disciplined in my office for arriving late in a minor snowstorm (though it may only be that they had to work to make up their time during lunch) the larger question is why with their season teetering on the brink would you suspend four players from a day of practice that the entire team needs. my two cents (worth not even that) is that he should have done what a high school coach would have done, make them run wind sprints at the end of practice until he was satisfied or they collapsed (whichever comes first). Making them leave practice only makes sense if they are a distraction while they are at practice too (which with moss's character coming to the team and adalius's attitude after the suspension may have been the case). Make the punishment help your team not hinder them.

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