As we approach 24 hours since the depressing and angering news about Le’Veon Bell’s potential suspension, a common point of interest has surfaced on social media. Does Head Coach Mike Tomlin bear any responsibility in this mess?
The answer in my opinion is “no.”
There are however some things that Mike Tomlin needs to do in order to try and keep this crap from happening again. But I’ll get to those later because I want to focus on why he isn’t to blame first.
The vast majority of us know that even though we become “adults” at the age of 18 that doesn’t exactly mean we have reached maturity. So when a Martavis Bryant or Le’Veon Bell show up in your organization in their early 20’s with boatloads of money what is the expectation?
I wasn’t perfect in my early 20’s. I made poor choices but what I never did was jeopardize my livelihood and I wasn’t ever making six or seven figures either! Both Bell and Bryant have already been nailed for marijuana use and while this latest incident with Bell looks similar it may be entirely different from what I’m told. (Stay tuned on that.)
Either way, Mike Tomlin can’t be with these young men 24/7. He has to rely on them to make good decisions and i this case, they’ve failed. Even Nick Saban’s players have failed recently off the field and everyone thought his players were incapable of such wrongdoing. The bottom line is that no coach or organization can keep these guys from screwing up.
Now, can Tomlin do better at limiting his players’ actions away from football? Ya, I think he can.
First of all, if Tomlin is going to take to Twitter to admonish DeAngelo Williams for his comments on Peyton Manning then why not tell Bell or Vince Williams to shut up? Tomlin can’t be subjective in these cases. Monitor all of them or none of them.
Tomlin can also put the hammer down on who is in the locker room. It’s clear Wiz Khalifa’s presence around Bryant didn’t help and we have to surmise Bell’s plans to be around Snoop Dogg aren’t real positive either. Mike Tomlin can be proactive here by setting some guidelines that can nip similar behavior in the bud. I see what Tomlin is doing in trying to let these young men sink or swim on their own but let’s face it; age doesn’t always equal maturity.
To be clear, Mike Tomlin is not to blame for the actions of Bell or Bryant. He is the Head Football Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers not a life manager. Like all of us, he can improve but these issues aren’t on him the way I’ve seen people making them out to be.
Bell and Bryant ultimately bear the responsibility for their current predicaments and the finger of guilt should point at them and no one else.