The reactions from the New York Giants locker room Wednesday and Thursday following the breaking news of cornerback Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie’s suspension by head coach Ben McAdoo ranged from surprise to confusion to tentativeness.
That broad range is largely due in part to the decision made by the head coach to wait to address the matter with his team.
The question is why he chose to wait before saying something about the very noticeable absence of a player who is widely respected in the locker room.
Friday, McAdoo, who has otherwise been tight-lipped about the affair, shed a little light into his thinking.
“When we report to work on Wednesday, our sole focus is getting ready for the next opponent,” he said. “Because the timing was an issue in this situation, the players will be addressed and they will be kept in the loop at the appropriate time.”
To recap the timing, Rodgers-Cromartie first met with McAdoo Tuesday to presumably discuss his frustrations and actions which involved leaving the team’s bench during Sunday’s loss to the Chargers in the second half
That meeting, in which Rodgers-Cromartie was reportedly informed by McAdoo that he would be inactive for Sunday’s game against the Broncos but that he was still expected to prepare as though he were playing, apparently didn’t go too well with Rodgers-Cromartie.
Wednesday, after Rodgers-Cromartie reported for work, something occurred that prompted him to leave the facility. Rodgers-Cromartie was not on the practice field nor was he listed on the team’s pre-practice injury report. McAdoo later announced during his post practice press conference that the veteran cornerback would be suspended.
Meanwhile the players, who had gone about their business sin getting ready for the new week, were suddenly hit with numerous questions from reporters about the incident and the coach’s decision.
While safety Landon Collins held court on the topic, many of his teammates either declined to comment or were caught off guard when informed of what happened.
On Friday, McAdoo, who said he’ll revisit the situation with Rodgers-Cromartie early next week, said that the team prefers to handle its disciplinary issues internally.
“We don’t like to put people’s business out, and how we handle our disciplinary issues, out in the public. We don’t feel like that helps us as a football team. Holding guys accountable is important, but we need to handle that in-house as much as you possibly can. In this case, we didn’t feel that was an option,” McAdoo said when asked why Rodgers-Cromartie’s discipline was made public.
As to why McAdoo didn’t address the team about why the decision was made to suspend Rodgers-Cromartie, the head coach said he planned to tell them “at the appropriate time,” adding that the reason he didn’t do so yet was because of the timing of events which again began Tuesday and came to a head Thursday morning.
“If you’re going to speak and address an issue, you want to make sure that you have all the details,” he said.
While McAdoo’s point about lining up all the ducks in a row before speaking is well taken, the fact remains that the incident created a distraction for a winless team that is still reeling after losing three receivers last week, including Odell Beckham Jr., the heart and soul of the offense.
At the very least, the coach should have given his team a heads up about Rodgers-Cromartie being absent from the facility with a promise to share additional detail later in the week once things fell into place so that this way the players, many whom admitted had no inkling about what was brewing to stave off a potential distraction.