Why Shalrie Joseph Should Not Be a Captain
Posted by Mike Marshall on September 9, 2010
Lost in the exuberance of a 3-1 home win over the Seattle Sounders that kept their flickering playoff hopes alive was the fact the New England Revolution were very fortunate their team captain wasn’t thrown out of the match for slapping Sounders defender Patrick Ianni on the neck. Not that Ianni doesn’t deserve to be slapped in the neck – he’s pretty much a 6-foot-1, neon green penis wearing cleats – but if there’s one player on the Revolution that can’t slap him, it’s Shalrie Joseph.
Not only is he the team’s best player, but he’s also the captain – the one person whose lead that every other player on the team is supposed to follow. There he was, in the team’s biggest game of the season, down by a goal in the 2nd half, losing his temper and striking a penis player on another team. We’ve all seen referees pull out a red card for less.
It was the antithesis of what a true captain is supposed to be. It was a selfish, “me first” act that had little regard for the potential impact on his team.
Then again, this isn’t the first time Shalrie has exhibited such an attitude.
What other conclusion can you draw about a player who was suspended for 1/5th of the season for smoking pot? He knew it was against the rules. He knew he’d be tested. He knew that he was one of the two most important players on the team. He did it anyway.
Even if you view marijuana as harmless, for Shalrie it wasn’t. He put his own personal wants and needs ahead of those of his team. He apologized for it, and as far as I’m concerned – apology accepted. I’m willing to forgive, but every time he pulls something like he did Saturday night, he makes it hard to forget.
And let’s also remember that it wasn’t that long ago that Joseph relinquished his captaincy and asked for a trade in the middle of a contract renegotiation. I’m not saying that Shalrie didn’t have the right or that he wasn’t justified in doing it. But it’s another example of a time when Shalrie came first.
Is that really what you’re looking for out of a leader? Out of a captain?
Admittedly, I’m not around the team as much these days as I used to be. Maybe the team really responds to him and half the roster would be willing to run naked through Bass Pro Shop with targets painted on their backs for his amusement. But based on the fairly quiet, reserved Shalrie who spoke so softly that I could barely hear him at times on my tape recorder, I’m willing to guess he’s more of the leader by example type. And that’s fine – as long he’s setting the right examples. Unfortunately, that hasn’t always been the case.
Listen, I’m not saying that I want him gone – I just don’t think he should be the captain of the team. He’s just about my favorite Revs player ever. And no one denies that Joseph is a tremendous player by MLS standards. You could easily build an argument that he’s the best player in the history of the franchise, and one of the best central midfielders in the history of the league. But that doesn’t make him a leader.
I know – he plays hard, he plays hurt, and he plays with tremendous passion. But that doesn’t make him a leader, either – just an outstanding foot soldier. And not all outstanding foot soldiers are cut out to be Generals.