Leaving Cincinnati with a defensive backfield in horrible disorder was not enough for ex-Bengal Johnathan Joseph. Neither was the thrashing he issued Cincinnati on the field in the Wild Card Playoff match-up with his current team, the Houston Texans. No, he must persistently poke and prod at the organization who evidently did him so wrong. Provoked, unprovoked--no matter as long as he gets his fill of backhanded remarks. The most recent one, in short, dealt with JJo's frustration at not receiving enough free Gatorades or toiletries from the incompetently led franchise. The exact quote is this:
In Cincy, we're told how much Gatorade we could take home. In Houston we get what we request. You get soap and deodorant at your request. You don't have a roommate on road trips.
Is the disrespect on the Bengals necessary to get across his point that Houston is a well run, player friendly organization? It would have been so simple for Joseph to praise the Texans and be on his way, but perhaps the difference between Houston and Cincinnati stand out more to JJo than the merits of Houston alone. Perhaps he truly feels that he was wronged, and the supressed memories of sport drink oppression occassionally seep out to backhandedly slap Mike Brown and Marvin Lewis right on the nose. Perhaps.
But Marvin Lewis is a tough guy. He preaches toughness and surrounds himself with hard nose characters of the same mantra. It wouldn't be in his nature to let this one slide past without a rebuttal. And right on cue, Marvin delivered a nice little comeback, subtly hitting Joseph just as Joseph subtly attacked his organization. He said,
I was told this morning about Johnathan's comments that were printed," Lewis said Wednesay in an online chat with the Cincinnati Enquirer. "It's my fault that I feel that a player doesn't need to take a dozen Gatorades home in his backpack each night and that we are paying him a salary. I'm sure that Johnathan would not have been one of the abusive players, but it is my policy."
Marvin managed to do so much with such a small response. First, he takes the blame off the organization and puts it on himself. He makes it clear that it is not Mike Brown's fault or the fault of the organization as a whole, but it is "my fault". The minor stain on the organization and the battle between player relations of Cincinnati and Houston is over, and in its place is the at-fault head coach. He would come across as a selfless leader to take that blame, if only there was anyone to still be on Joseph's side. Marvin's sarcastic tone turns JJo into a fool. We didn't know players--SURELY not Johnathan (wink wink)--were compiling a personal inventory of Gatorade by the dozen from the team's supply, but now we do. The millionaire athlete didn't want to pay for his Gatorade. The injustice!
Also, the tone Lewis yields manages to remind us all that this is about effing Gatorade, so who really cares anyway. All in all, well played, Marvin.