Like every spouse in America, my wife has a whole litany of habits that are, at best quirky and cute and at worst, irritating and must end immediately. I'm sure I do too…just don't ask me what they are; I think I'm God's gift to marriage.
One of The Decision Maker's habits is sleeping in. Sophomores in college get up earlier than she does. It used to drive me crazy, prompting an unpopular series of we're-wasting-the-day-away-while-you-sleep series of conversations. But that was a long, long time ago. I have since changed my stance to one endorsed by Sheryl Crow. If it makes you happy, it can't be that bad. It doesn't bother me in the slightest.
My point is that my new position on the sleeping issue is completely irrelevant. Those we're-wasting-the-day-away conversations doomed me. No matter how many times I tell her I don't care, it doesn't matter. The toothpaste is out of the tube.
For the Arizona Cardinals the toothpaste is also out of the tube. And it's the generic, really cheap kind of toothpaste you get at the 99 cents store. The Cardinals have a thrifty history and no matter what they have done to convince the world they've changed that perception, they have not.
Adam Schefter of ESPN reported that this week non contracted employees of the Arizona Cardinals are being forced to take a furlough from their jobs. Not allowed in the office for a week. Not allowed to check email for a week. All in an attempt to save money during the lockout.
Never mind that other teams are doing it. Never mind that we've literally known about these furloughs for months. On Friday the NFL news cycle was dedicated to pounding the penny pinching Arizona Cardinals, who are at it again.
ProFootballTalk.com called them gutless. Jim Trotter of Sports Illustrated tweeted out that Bill Bidwill should be ashamed. And in many, many ways it's true. Sending hard working people home without paying them sucks. Making them the victims of this battle between two dogs trying to mark one bush sucks. It's not fair and I don't know if it's necessary. I have no idea how flush with cash the Arizona Cardinals are right now.
Without question the Cardinals miserly behavior in the past is being used against them now. They've opened the wallet for Ken Whisenhunt, Darnell Dockett, Adrian Wilson, John Lott and others that surely I'm forgetting. Protracted training camp holdouts are virtually a thing of the past. It's also not fair to merely casually mention that other teams are doing exactly the same thing. The Jets have been foisting furloughs on their employees for a week per month since the lockout began. I don't see anyone calling them gutless.
We can talk all you want about the Cards changing their ways and double standards, it might all be true. But know this: All of the negative attention the Cardinals are enduring, they brought it upon themselves. Perceptions are powerful. They are difficult to overcome. Because of that the Cardinals have to work extra hard to avoid them, knowing that the moment they do something that harkens back to their cheap ways, accusations are lobbed and we are forced to wonder if they really have changed. Their past affords them no wiggle room, but with this latest story about furloughs, they wiggled.