Now that the Matt Leinart controversy has died down, I will re-ignite it – to a degree.
It was rather absurd that the playboy quarterback was being vilified for hot tubbing and drinking with four college girls. I mean, of all the things to worry about in this world, this country, even the National Football League, Leinart’s partying ways would seem to be about as important as that terrible Subway turkey and ham sub I had yesterday.
Of course, the Arizona Cardinals are paying Leinart a large sum of money ($14 million guaranteed in a potential $50 million contract) to become a team leader, develop into a great quarterback and lead the team to relevance.
Even though Leinart hasn’t been named the unequivocal starter for the upcoming season, the Cardinals are hoping he displays the proper work ethic, playbook knowledge and production in practice and games to make incumbent starter Kurt Warner permanently cemented on the bench. – or at least with a clipboard glued to his hands.
Critics of Leinart’s recent soiree would lead you to believe that the ex-USC Heisman Trophy winner should be locked in a windowless room while relentlessly absorbing some sort of tape enhancing his knowledge of coach Ken Wisenhunt’s offensive schemes or finding a hitch in his throwing mechanics. As several astute journalists noted after the pictures initially surfaced on the Internet last week, Leinart could very well have put in a 10- or 12-hour day at the Cardinals training facility and was just enjoying a night of R&R.
Was Leinart doing anything out of the ordinary for a young, single man who attracts lots of beautiful women due to his fame and fortune? Perhaps he can be chastised for allowing underage college girls to drink at his party, but we don’t know if all the girls took part in illegal behavior.
Could the girls have driven their cars after the party? Maybe, but not all of the girls were shown drinking in the photos; maybe one of them was a designated driver. There are more details assumed about what happened then actually known, which is a major problem. When finding a person guilty of a situation, it is best to know all the necessary facts.
People are so quick to judge and in this age of camera phones, digital cameras, laptops and Internet-accessible cell phones, pictures and videos can be spread instantaneously. No moment is sacred. When a celebrity like Matt Leinart throws a party with people he knows – and may not know – photos will get shared.
What can Leinart do? Well, he can go on living his life. He shouldn’t feel the pressure to change the way he lives just because other people want to throw their book of morals and ethics at him. The fans and sports journalists who want to criticize Leinart can probably just find something else about which to moan. Most of them don’t have the faintest idea what kind of work Leinart does for the Cardinals.
It’s healthy for people to let loose and have some fun in post-work hours. Leinart shouldn’t force himself to put his nose to the grindstone just because other people – people he doesn’t know – want him to justify his contract to them. For all we know, Leinart is doing the work necessary to make him primed for a breakthrough season. And that’s what really matters.