Randle’s Injury, Demotion A Welcome Sight For Those Weary Of His Act
On Sunday at MetLife Stadium, amidst a crucial early-season tussle in the NFC East, it has been concluded that a distasteful event occurred for all of the right reasons. Running back Joseph Randle was cheered, a reaction that was considered inappropriate by Giants fans and, besides that, thoroughly lacking in manners.
Unlike the game itself, of which the Cowboys were the honorary 27-20 losers, the echo of satisfaction has lingered. Or so goes a personal assumption that Randle alone was the target of such sarcastic mockery.
There are two distinct possibilities to explain why fans, both in the bleachers and on the couch, should choose to pick on Randle, who masquerades weekly as the team’s leading rusher. Neither possibility accounts for how Dallas fans feel about what they were expecting to see, which surely wasn’t another demonstration in ineptitude from their quarterback.
Insiders at Valley Ranch subscribe to a curious form of the transference theory. They believe the cheers were aimed at beleaguered head coach Jason Garrett rather than the player. In the middle of a season going, oh, so wrong, fans blamed Garrett for sticking it out with Randle rather than use a stocked draft pool to address the position in the spring.
My take differed, and actually inclined more to our second option.
The second theory raises the onerous specter of social malevolence. Randle was cheered because doctors were examining him on the sideline for an alleged muscle strain, and because such a condition prevented him from putting foot on the playing field again for the remainder of the game.
So strong are the feelings toward Randle that an innocent bystander would have figured that racial prejudice was involved. The committed historian would observe that Randle’s conduct never gave it a chance to be.
The subject of Randle is so flammable that fans don’t even bother to lean on hints or innuendos anymore. To do so would have suggested that they still feel obligated to show some respect for his plight in life as the first millionaire employee at Valley Ranch to ever buckle under and file for intellectual bankruptcy.
Concern over Randle the big-play artist (Randle has authored four plays of 20 or more yards in six games this season) pales greatly in comparison with concern over Randle the troubled one. That is a fancy way of saying that the third-year running back won’t be returning in 2016 for a fourth with the Cowboys.
This is the inevitable end of an individual who can’t decide if he’d rather steal a bottle of tester cologne at a local mall, get pulled over by police with marijuana on him, or run behind the NFL’s best offensive line for a living. There was a time when many would have given anything to trade places with Randle. It is to Randle’s discredit that Darren McFadden will be doing just that, starting on Sunday versus Seattle.
Randle’s end as a Cowboy isn’t official as of today. For now, he is only the embarrassed backup, nursing a hurt muscle and injured pride. It bears mentioning that he is also facing possible punishment from both the NFL and the Cowboys for multiple examples of unsavory behavior, including skipping a round of treatment and leaving the team’s training facility without warning yesterday after learning of his demotion.
That, of course, is the familiar theme that has made his career a most tiresome adventure for Cowboy fans. And why the morals of cheering an injury to another has suddenly become justified.