A talented, young athlete complains to the media about their situation and the team is left to deal with the fallout.
But unlike Hope Solo and the US women's national team, Matt Leinart and the Arizona Cardinals handled such a situation professionally and level-headed.
Here's Leinart's situation: He was a high draft choice and labeled the franchise quarterback. He played some last season but the team struggled overall. This year, he was named the starting quarterback in the preseason but the Cardinals lost their opener. In game two, Leinart threw 299 yards and a TD as the Cardinals upset Seattle. Week 3 was the turning point of the season so far; Leinart struggled against the Ravens. He was 9-for-20 for 53 yards and was pulled in favor of Kurt Warner, who led the St. Louis Rams to a Super Bowl title several years ago and once considered one of the top quarterbacks in the game. Warner led the Cardinals to a comeback though the Cardinals still lost. However, Warner made an impression on Ken Whisenhunt and the first-year coach used both Warner and Leinart Sunday against Pittsburgh. The Cardinals won 21-14.
However, that win didn't exactly make Leinart happy, as he talked to Yahoo.com's Michael Silver.
During the game, Leinart snapped at the offensive coordinator and glared at his coach. Afterward, Leinart expressed frustration over his situation:
I just want them to ride or die with me. If I'm the franchise quarterback, play me and let me stumble, because I'll fight through it, and that will help me and our team in the long run. I know coaches want to win now, and I guess they have their reasons. But I don't understand it, and this switching back and forth is almost worse than getting benched.
So, how did Whisenhunt react to Leinart's reaction?
He reacted just the way I hoped he'd react. He was mad, and he wanted to play. That's the sign of a competitor – of a guy who can be our franchise quarterback for a long time.
And how did Warner react?
It's a hard situation for him; if I were the starter, I'd be upset. As the backup, I have no complaints. All I can ask for is a chance to play every week. It's working, for now.
The Cardinals haven't exactly been the model for NFL success, in fact, it's quite the contrary. The Cardinals have made the playoffs once since 1983. Still, the Cardinals seemingly handled the situation well. Warner, the veteran and Super Bowl champion, didn't come out and say that there were 52 guys united and that they needed for everyone to be in line; Whisenhunt didn't boot Leinart off the team or even relegate him to the bench full-time and I doubt Ron Wolfley (former Cardinals running back and current radio announcer) said he wouldn't want to catch passes from Leinart.
Yet the US women, supposedly one of the world's great national teams, handled a similar situation the way you would expect a team not used to winning anything would. But level-headed and sane people can still be found in sports.