Five years ago, USA Today asked several NFL rookies to reveal their secret ambition.
This was Anquan Boldin’s answer:
“To turn our organization around and make people believe we’re winners.”
Now we know what Boldin really meant:
To make as much money as I can, and if I don’t get what I want I’m going to stomp my feet and be mean to everybody.
Did you catch Boldin’s latest rant? He told the NFL Network that he no longer has a relationship with Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt because Whisenhunt allegedly stuck his nose where Boldin didn’t think it belonged, in his contentious contract negotiations with the team.
“At this point we have no relationship, and I don’t see that changing,” Boldin said. ... “If you ask me, coaches should be coaches, management should be management, and I don’t think those lines should be crossed. But when you cross those lines, you put yourself in position for things like this to happen.”
According to Boldin, Whisenhunt sat in on a meeting in which ownership promised he’d have a new deal before this season. Evidently, that makes Whisenhunt a co-conspirator.
“Well, here we are a year later and still no new deal,” Boldin said.
Let’s be clear: The Cardinals are not innocent victims here. General manager Rod Graves led Boldin to believe his contract would be renegotiated. That was his first mistake. The second was not following through on his declaration.
But the incendiary comments from Boldin at the start of training camp and then to the NFL Network on Monday? Those are the words of a diva, not a player who seemed to embody all the right values his first few years with the team.
Boldin’s latest blast is clearly a Drew Rosenhaus production. Rosenhaus’ clients often start foaming at the mouth when they’re unhappy. Chicago linebacker Lance Briggs ripped coach Lovie Smith, Cincinnati wide receiver Chad Johnson took on the entire organization, and now Boldin is trying to force his way out.
It’s blackmail, pure and simple.
We’re going to make your life so miserable you’ll be happy to get rid of us.
Except the Cardinals aren’t going to buckle. If they trade Boldin just because he’s mouthing off, there will be a long line of malcontents lining up outside Graves’ office.
What we have here, then, is a stalemate. And a very messy public spat.
Would this all go away if Arizona gave Boldin what he wants? Of course. The Bears haven’t heard a peep out of Briggs since he signed a six-year, $36 million deal.
But until that day comes — if it comes at all — both sides will lose.
The Cardinals, who don’t have the greatest reputation to begin with, will suffer a hit inside their locker room. Boldin is immensely popular with teammates; his unhappiness is sure to color how they view the franchise.
Boldin, meanwhile, will forfeit all the goodwill he built up over the years. He once was the golden child of the organization, so respected that former coach Dave McGinnis said this about him:
“There ought to be thousands of (No.) 81 jerseys sold pretty soon. This is a guy you want your children to emulate. This is a guy you’d like to cheer for. This is a guy you’d like to have represent your company.
“He is real. To me, that’s what is so special about him, especially at this young age. He gets it and he is not affected by it.”
That was in 2003.
Today, Boldin sounds like so many athletes who have let the almighty dollar cloud their perspective. He’s making millions playing the game he loves. He should be thanking God every day for his blessings rather than complaining about what he doesn’t have.
Perhaps Boldin needs to be reminded of another quote.
“I always told him, ‘You can’t dictate everything. Someone could be smarter than you or more talented than you.’ But you can dictate how hard you work.”
Apparently, Anquan has forgotten his father’s advice.