NFL

NFL: Former Redskins Player LaVar Arrington Throws Owner Dan Snyder Under the Bus

Although the season is still young, it is safe to say that the Washington Redskins are having a dysfunctional season so far. The Raiders may have gone through the entire Antonio Brown debacle, and the Cleveland Browns may have failed to live up to the expectations that came with their offseason, but the Redskins are 1-5, already fired a coach, and now they have former players calling the team out. 

LaVar Arrington spent six years with the Washington Redskins during his short NFL career, and he pulled no punches when saying who was to blame for the Redskins woes. Before we analyze his opinion, let’s look at his career, of which six seasons came in Washington.

LaVar Arrington’s career 

Before joining the NFL, LaVar Arrington spent two years at Penn State in 1998 and 1999. As Penn State’s linebacker, he became one of the most entertaining players in the county on the defensive side of the field. Arrington amassed 19 sacks in his two seasons at Penn State. That was enough to propel him to the second pick of the 2000 NFL draft.

Arrington proved to be worth the hype during his first four years. His ability to hunt down the ball and tackle anyone unlucky enough to find themself within his vicinity made him a star almost immediately. His sophomore season proved especially productive, with Arrington achieving 84 tackles. 

Unfortunately, his career was also short-lived. A series of knee injuries limited his production during his last three seasons, and after an injury to his Achilles tendon, Arrington retired after only seven years in the NFL. 

LaVar Arrington’s number one issue

The Redskins have had a revolving door of coaches, players, and personnel during the last few seasons, and the dysfunction never appears to stop. After years of hovering around .500, the Redskins have sunk from mediocre to bad. Last year’s injury to Alex Smith ended what seemed to be a promising era of Redskins football, and the team has not been able to recover. 

Arrington, who has never been one to mince words, says that while there are several factors in the Redskins’ plunge into mediocrity, one stands high over the others. 

“The root of the issue is ownership,” Arrington said on FS1’s Speak For Yourself. Arrington elaborated as his tirade went on. “You’re told not to look the owner in the eyes. You had to address him as Mr. Snyder, even as an adult, and if you weren’t of a certain level or stature you were told not to look at the owner.”

This toxic culture surrounding Snyder could explain why the team is an astonishing 139-185-1 under his ownership. The allegations that Snyder has a holier than thou attitude has been reflected other times, and for players to be treated like they are somehow less than their owner means that they are automatically prone to feel like they are not a valuable part of the team. 

As a player who spent most of his career in Washington, Arrington has a unique insight into the owner’s questionable ownership practices, too. 

Can he talk? 

Former Redskins player LaVar Arrington says all the franchise's problems come down to one issue.
LaVar Arrington gets ready to take the field. | Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Arrington came to the Redskins relatively close to the beginning of Snyder’s ownership. Although he had some star seasons in Washington, he only appeared in two playoff games and never showed enough to elevate the team on his own. Still, if Snyder is as bad as Arrington says, it makes people wonder how many players’ careers could have been better and how many teams could have been better under a different owner. 

While there is no singular correct way to own a sports franchise, there are many wrong ways to do so, and Snyder appears to do it on multiple levels. Arrington’s words are nothing new, but when it comes from a player who has experienced Snyder’s ways firsthand, it adds a little fuel to an already raging dumpster fire that is Snyder’s miserable tenure as owner.