Star defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth still has yet to practice for the Washington Redskins. Head coach Mike Shanahan is requiring Haynesworth to complete a conditioning test before he’s allowed to practice with the team. Some are saying it’s Shanahan’s way of showing Haynesworth who’s boss after Haynesworth skipped off-season workouts and asking to be traded.
The fat-athlete community has come out against Shanahan and what it calls his discriminatory tactics. They claim the test should be applied to all the Redskins, not just the fattest one.
“It’s not fair,” says former defensive tackle Gilbert Brown. “They didn’t pay him to be a sprinter. It’s like buying a bulldozer and then complaining about it’s top-end speed.”
Gilbert Brown is certainly one of the fattest NFL players of all time, and says he knows what it’s like to be singled out for being hefty.
“Nobody likes to be ‘clapped in,’” Brown says. “It’s embarrassing. Go get your water already and let me finish with dignity.”
The term “clapped in” is a phenomenon that happens during team conditioning drills, where inevitably the fattest athlete lags way behind the rest of the team, but rather than leave the finish line the rest of the team cheers on the hefty teammate until he’s able to finish.
Former NBA player Oliver Miller says you wouldn’t see this behavior from a heavier coach. Miller famously struggled with weight during his NBA career.
“You don’t see Andy Reid or Wade Phillips having conditioning trouble with their lineman,” Miller says. “They know the struggle of being heavy. They’re sensitive to our problems. This skinny-ass Shanahan just doesn’t get it.”
Former professional wrestler Yokozuna says weight discrimination is systemic and growing in society.
“This is just another example of the tyranny of the skinny ruling over the fat. You see this skinny guy telling a fat guy he can’t do something he’s great at until he can master a skinny-guy skill. Come on, that’s prejudiced,” Yokozuna says. “It’s happening all over, buying an extra seat on the airplane, not being able to go on certain roller coasters, buffet restrictions… where does it end?”
Brown says he’s afraid Shanahan’s actions are setting a dangerous precedent.
“Look, fat guys only have a few spots left in sports. Lineman in football, sumo-wrestler, comically mismatched pro-wrestling tag-team and bowler. We don’t even have professional eating,” Brown says. “Shanahan’s trying to shrink the NFL. And I think I speak for all fat athletes when I say we’re not going to let some skinny guy push us out. Not getting pushed around is what we’re good at.”