Most fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were concerned with receiver Mike Williams this season, as he struggled to perform on the field before being sidelined with a hamstring injury. Adding to this concern is his social media behavior, which often includes lots of random photos and words about non-football topics.
But none of that matters.
Recently, Pewter Report released an article with information on Mark Dominik and Greg Schiano’s plans for Williams, which would have possibly included replacing Williams next season because of missed meeting and a questionable dedication to football.
(As a side note, PR reported they would have replaced Williams with Kenny Britt, which proves how delusional Greg Schiano was, if true. Britt has been involved with police nine times since entering the NFL, and has visited with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell twice to discuss his behavior. Williams has no such record since entering the NFL.)
And while it’s true that it’s concerning for a player to miss mandatory meetings, even if he’s injured and unable to play, it’s the focus on Williams’ “rap career” and social media behavior that’s misguided.
During this past offseason, it appeared that Williams was tweeting out cryptic messages about the Buccaneers, expressing his frustration with their dealing in a contract negotiation. This was concerning, as speaking out against an employer on social media isn’t wise. But Williams would clarify he was talking about a female in his life, and for most, all was forgiven.
But the Pewter Report article features this line, which frankly disturbs me with what it implies…
- But it can be bad because sooner rather than later, the new members of the Bucs’ brass will undoubtedly learn about his rap career…
Nothing about being a rapper or partying says a player is not serious about football.
Shaq and Deion Sanders, among others, had even more prolific rap careers than Williams with released albums and music videos while still being elite athletes. And many current athletes spend time on television (Peyton Manning and Tom Brady on SNL, for example) or on Broadway to enhance their profile and make a few bucks.
Mike Williams needs to show up to meetings. Mike Williams needs to show up to rehab. But Mike Williams does not need to stop being a rapper or partying. Because as long as he can do the first two things and show up ready on gameday, it doesn’t matter what he does at any other time. As long as he doesn’t run into trouble with the law, as he did briefly a few years ago, then nothing he does off the field should concern Buccaneer fans.
The Buccaneers already have team leaders with squeaky-clean personalities to spend time in the community, like Gerald McCoy. Expecting Mike Williams to fit into that mold is silly, because Mike Williams only has one job to do, and that’s to play football to the best of his ability.
And considering that Williams reportedly played through an injury this past season, I don’t have any doubt that Mike Williams wants to be the best football player he can be.