Is ESPN pouring haterade on Darnell Dockett?

Of course they are.  If they weren’t, I’d have another title. 

The henchman for this particularly banal act is Mike Sando. 

Sando has been working with what D.K. Wilson refers to as “the Big Subliminal” for a few years now.  He writes a blog of the NFC West.  Here’s what he scratched together this week.

Franchise player rules will force Dansby to wait, and he should be content “settling” for a one-year franchise deal worth nearly $9.7 million. The volatile Dockett (my emphasis) has also committed to letting his play do the talking, a good sign for the team.

When did Darnell Dockett become “volatile”?   Perhaps after he sent a message on Twitter about the double standards employed by ESPN in covering the civil lawsuit filed against Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.  Could it be that Mike Sando is engaged in an early attempt to poison the well by simply creating inflammatory and prejudicial statements in the absence of information?  Is Mike Sando writing hit pieces to run cover for his boss? 

Surely it wasn’t when Dockett’s mother was executed in his home.  He was only 13.  Surely it wasn’t after his father died of cancer four months later.  Perhaps it was during the Super Bowl when he was inches away from being the games most outstanding defensive player. 

Maybe it was when he earned a new contract based on his superlative play a few years ago.  Did Dockett go berserk in camp and threaten to kill the GM?  Probably not.  The last time Dockett went down this road of seeking fair compensation for his considerable talent, he said:

“I’m here. This is what I’ve been looking forward to: continuing my career where I left off last year,” Dockett said.

“Right now, I’m here. I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help this team win.

“I’m excited to be here. I know my teammates are excited for me to be here.

“All my other issues are put to the side right now.

“It ain’t just about me. There are 60 other guys that depend on me to do a job to make them better.

“I’m even looking forward to making (offensive tackle) Levi Brown better in training camp. I’m going to get after him like no other.”

That was in July 2008.  The Cardinals went to the Super Bowl and Dockett was dominant. 

Mike Sando should either find a new employer or pick a new target.  This sort of vendetta journalism on behalf of his masters is flatly pathetic.  Perhaps Sando’s wife and kids will want to renegotiate — just like Dockett did after realizing he was receiving the short end of the stick.  He is a year late to a Super Bowl party that began with Darnell Dockett’s dedication in 2008.  And Dockett has been a star since he was drafted.  Mike Sando is off base and behind the times.


  1. Yes, this is exactly how it happens. Dockett made plenty of espnemies…

    And remember, after Greg Ellis defended TO, he was predictably cut soon after…

    If you say the truth, you better be real good…

  2. Hey, appreciate the readership and the chance for dialogue. My “volatile” reference on Dockett stems solely from the on-field issues the coaching staff has been working with him on — picking up personal fouls. Mostly they have asked him to do a better job of controlling/channeling his emotions on the field. He has done that pretty well on that front and deserves credit for it, to the extent that the “volatile” label doesn’t apply to the extent it once did. You’re right in that it’s not something that should be thrown around.

  3. Well, Sando gets points for responding.

    But, since he provided no context for the volatile comment I can’t give him pass. Particularly since he works for an organization with a horrible, horrible track record.

    Volatile is not a word to toss around. Receiving personal fouls is a problem, but doesn’t John Lynch received personal fouls and fines, and he was never labeled “volatile.”

    When you call somebody volatile you imply they are always ready to explode in some manner. If that doesn’t describe Dockett, then there is a problem.

  4. All personal fouls are not the same. Adrian Wilson led the NFL with 17 of them from 2000 through the 2007 season, but I would not consider him to be as volatile as Dockett has sometimes been. Dockett walks that line. As Ken Whisenhunt said of Dockett during Super Bowl week: “What he had done in the past was gotten out of control at times, and that led to some penalties that were hurtful to us. This year, he’s really got that down. That’s part of becoming a team for him as well as for our football team.” Still, Dockett did incur two personal-foul penalties in December. He plays with such emotion — a good thing most of the time — that it’s more a matter of channeling it than anything. It’s a discussion worth having because the language we use matters. Again, I appreciate the discussion.

  5. Mike — if it’s an honest “mistake” that’s what it is. It is my sincere hope, however, that you see how I might have come to that interpretation. Thanks for stopping by.

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