It’s amazing how a few hours have changed the reaction of Kansas City Chiefs head coach Todd Haley to tackle Barry Richardson shoving special teams coach Steve Hoffman on the sidelines during the Chiefs 10-6 victory over the Broncos.
Richardson was pulled from the game after committing a penalty that brought back a Jamaal Charles touchdown. It was when he was told to stay on the sideline that the 320 pound lineman turned and gave a full shove to Hoffman. Despite the physical contact, Richardson was placed back into the lineup.
After the game, Haley was asked about the altercation and instead of addressing how it is inappropriate, he actually praised Richardson’s reaction.
“We had the penalty in the red and I think Coach Muir and our offensive staff just wanted to calm him down a bit and let him re-group,” Haley told reporters.
“These guys care and that is such a refreshing, positive thing out of this group. It makes it so much fun to go to work every day. I’ve heard so many of our coaches, myself included, say this is a fun group to be around and coach and it’s because they care.”
That response didn’t make sense to me and judging by the reaction of Chiefs fans across the country I wasn’t the only one confused.
With a few hours of sleep (and a briefing by the PR staff, I’m sure) Haley met with the media on Monday morning and while he refused to condemn Richardson’s actions, he was much more careful with his words.
“I don’t have a problem with passion, within reason,” Haley said when the topic was brought up, alluding to the shove not being within reason without saying it outright.
What about punishing Richardson?
“We’ll take care of it in house and do the right thing.”
The right thing would have been to sit him on the bench for the remainder of Sunday’s game unless he was absolutely needed due to an injury. Instead he will get a small fine ($5,000?) and be right out there with the offense this week at practice.
The moral of the story?
If you want to get your point across to your coach that you outweigh by over 100 pounds? Just give him a nice forearm shiver. Sure, maybe you’ll get a small fine (maybe) but at least everyone will know who’s in charge.
For all the talk about discipline and doing things the right way, the Chiefs completely missed the boat on this one.