Cowboys coach Jason Garrett told David Irving he had follow the rules if he wanted to play in the NFL
David Irving is not just wrong.
He is bordering on Jussie Smollett wrong.
When the former Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle continued his media assault on coach Jason Garrett by trying to paint him as a racist, he simply went too far.
This is the same Irving who has been indefinitely suspended by the NFL for repeated violations of the NFL substance abuse policy.
The same Irving who infamously announced his retirement from football on a video on Instagram live while smoking marijuana.
The same Irving who claims Garrett told him to quit football and smoke weed, which can be characterized best as, “if you want to play in the NFL you need to follow the rules, if you don’t want to follow the rules, quit wasting our time.”
Now he goes on CBS radio and says Garrett has a problem with black people and then tries to walk it back?
“Jason Garrett and I have never really gotten along,” Irving said. “To be honest with you, not many people get along with this man. I wish I could put a finger on [why]. I really do. I don’t think it’s just one reason. It’s not just one person that can’t get along with him. It’s a lot of people. If I can say anything, I feel like he needs to be more comfortable with people of color, to be honest with you.
“This is a league where there’s a lot of people of color around, and you’re going to have to deal with us. If you don’t know how to talk to us or relate to us, I don’t know. It’s a tough position... I think it’s a little uncomfortable for him. Not to say the man’s racist. He’s definitely not racist. Do not get me wrong. It’s just maybe he’s socially awkward.’‘
Garrett will never be considered “woke” but he is a football lifer as the son of a coach and longtime NFL scout. And he is a former NFL player who knows the culture of locker rooms.
Garrett is rigid, detailed and regimented. He likes order and is about the process.
As a teammate, Garrett navigated the 1990s Super Bowl champion Cowboys with the larger-than-life personalities of Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders, Charles Haley and Nate Newton.
As a coach, it was Garrett who promoted quarterback Dak Prescott over Tony Romo in 2016. Garrett deploys 10 black starters.
He also stood behind former receiver Dez Bryant until he couldn’t anymore.
In all cases, Garrett stood up for talent, commitment and work ethic.
And therein lies the problem he had with Irving.
Garrett doesn’t have a problem with black players. He has a problem with Irving, whose work ethic and commitment has long been questioned by Cowboys players, coaches and scouts alike.
“I know he has a problem with me because I don’t necessarily work as hard as he thinks I should work to be as good as I am at football,’‘ Irving said on the radio. “I feel like Jason is one of those guys where, growing up in football, he was always the second-hand man or the third-string guy, and I feel like he had to work his a-s-s off to even be able to step on the field with some of these guys. Me, I could roll out of bed with a hangover and go outperform anybody. I don’t think he liked that.”
What Garrett didn’t like was no different than most coaches:
* Irving missing the entire off-season program dealing with personal issues
* Irving showing up out of shape for mini-camp
* Irving, who was suspended for the first four games in 2017, was suspended for the first four games in 2018 for violating the NFL’s drug policy
* Irving missing training camp to go to rehab and deal with personal issues
* Upon being reinstated to the team, Irving missing practices and the first game because of more personal issues
* After suffering an ankle injury in the second game back, Irving didn’t aggressively commit to his rehab, at times not showing up at all, and subsequently missing more drugs tests that led to the latest indefinite suspension.
That Garrett had simply had enough is not racist or about being uncomfortable with black people, it was about being fed up with a uncommitted player who wouldn’t put the team over himself.
In the immortal words of former 49ers coach Mike Singletary: “Cannot play with them, cannot win with them, cannot coach with them. Can’t do it.”