Whatever it was that Rolando McClain did to warrant a two game suspension from the Oakland Raiders is irrelevant. This should have happened exactly one year ago when he was arrested in Alabama on charges that were recently dropped.
Back when McClain’s arrest first occurred I was calling for the team to shut him down effectively immediately for the rest of the season. My stance was unpopular because many thought the legal process needed to play out first.
One year later my opinion of McClain hasn’t changed at all even though he’ll suffer no legal fallout from the ordeal.
Fact of the matter is McClain was drafted to play middle linebacker for the Oakland Raiders. As we all know the middle linebacker is pretty much the quarterback of the defense. Thus McClain was in a position of leadership.
A leader cannot, under any circumstances, be selfish. The actions of a leader, both on and off the field, reflect on the entire team.
McClain was excused from the team last season to attend a family funeral. He was not sent home to help settle a neighborhood beef. All he had to do was keep his head down, support his family and return to his team which was (hard to believe now) actually in playoff contention.
Instead McClain was arrested, smiled for the camera in a now infamous arrest photo yet was unpunished by Hue Jackson and the organization.
Jackson selfishly needed all hands on deck for the playoff push which, as we know, was a failure. McClain’s presence didn’t help the Raiders but it certainly did hurt the team.
By putting a young man in a position of leadership, yet not holding him accountable as a leader, only helped to enable McClain and his immature tendencies.
So here we are, one year after the fact and Dennis Allen has seen enough. McClain will sit for two games without pay. He’ll learn nothing as he’s already checked out on the team. Eventually the Raiders will release McClain and some other team will take the chance.
No matter what becomes of McClain’s career he’ll never reach his potential if he’s constantly being enabled. Like other that have come before him in Oakland, McClain was on scholarship. Al Davis never hid the affinity he had for his players often passing off their shortcomings on the coaches. Davis wasn’t around when McClain was arrested so really Hue Jackson is ultimately at fault for allowing a teaching moment in a young man’s life to go wanting.
Give Reggie McKenzie credit for taking a flamethrower to the Al Davis Scholarship fund. However McKenzie deserves some ridicule for not ridding the franchise of this problem ASAP.
Now all the Raiders and McClain want is to move on. But once again selfish desires have intervened.
Is there any doubt that McClain is done playing in Oakland after this season? Even though the team won’t say it McClain himself has.
So why not sever ties with McClain now?
One theory is that the Raiders want to get out of paying as much of McClain’s salary as possible. Another is that they don’t want him rewarded with a new job after being such an inexcusable failure in Oakland.
Whatever the reason for keeping McClain on the roster it’s ultimately selfish on the Raiders part.
Cut him lose. End this chapter and move on. Its games like this that have only hurt and not helped either McClain or the Raiders themselves during this unrewarding tenure of yet another underachieving draft pick.