The San Diego Chargers aren't blameless in this war against Eric Weddle. Going back two years, there are plenty of things that they have done that have been downright embarrassing. We'll get into where the team needs to take some heat on this one, but first we need to right some wrongs.
Fining Eric Weddle was the right thing to do
I've seen even the most cold-hearted local sports reporters come out against the team levying a $10,000 fine on Eric Weddle, saying that he should be excused because he was watching his daughter perform.
I know I don't have children of my own, but that does not mean that I don't understand the pull of family. I understand what Weddle was doing and why he was doing it, he just did it the wrong way.
Let's put this situation in a vacuum for a second. Here's a fictional conversation between me and one of my idiot friends, let's call him Derrick.
Derrick: Can you believe that my boss wrote me up to HR?
Me: What did he say you did?
Derrick: Well, look. My daughter's class was performing a school play at the same time I was supposed to be at a mandatory meeting at work. So, I want to the play to see my girl.
Me: And you missed the mandatory meeting?
Derrick: Yeah, but it was to see my daughter perform.
Me: I get that, but you're getting paid to be at a certain place at a certain time to handle certain responsibilities. You're not a slave or anything like that, but you need to follow the rules and do your job if you hope to keep your job and stay in good standing with your boss.
Did you at least ask him if you could miss the meeting to go see your daughter perform? There's a chance he would've said it would be fine.
Derrick: No, I didn't ask.
Me: Then I don't understand what you're upset about. You have a job and a boss. You left your job, and your responsibilities (while you were being paid for them), and didn't even tell your boss you were leaving. You're lucky you weren't fired on the spot.
That's a bit of a crude representation, but I think you get what I'm saying.
Take out the names "Eric Weddle" and "San Diego Chargers" and replace them with "average person" and "average employer" and it becomes near impossible to defend Weddle's position.
Weddle ignored his responsibilities, which he's literally being paid $7.5 million to not ignore, and left his post as a "team captain" without first running it by his boss or bosses.
Listen to quotes from the locker room yesterday, or watch a video of the veteran leaders on the team, and they all say roughly the same thing: Eric should've cleared it with the bosses first.
Case in point:
Scifres was out there. Went in locker room, talked to special teams coach, came out a little early to watch daughter https://t.co/c7asZ889kE— Annie Heilbrunn (@annieheilbrunn) December 29, 2015
Mike Scifres wasn't fined, and that's because he handled his responsibilities first and got his bosses to sign off on him leaving early. Weddle should've done the same, and if the coaches had told him that he couldn't leave early without being fined, he then would have a decision to make.
To put it in its most simple terms, Eric Weddle left work early without permission. It doesn't matter what his job is or what his job required at that point in time. He left work early without permission. The San Diego Chargers were right to fine him.
However, the Chargers were idiots about how they handled the whole thing.
The Blog Post
You've got to be kidding me with this.
The San Diego Chargers pretend to be a professional organization, and then they reduce themselves to backtalk and rhetoric when things don't go their way. They're so weak-willed that they can't take the initial blow of criticism without loudly standing up in an attempt to defend themselves.
Teams hand out fines all the time, to players that are late to meetings or don't dress appropriately on road trips or whatever. You name it, a player has probably been fined for it in any given season. Yet, to my knowledge, this is the first time the Chargers felt the need to go ahead and alert the public via a post on Chargers.com that states just how in-the-wrong the player was and just how right they were.
They're even supported by a video of the coach, a video of Antonio Gates, and a written-out quote from Gates in case you weren't in a place where you could watch video but still needed to be absolutely sure that Eric Weddle was the devil. This is the team building a case, in public, against one of its own employees, and using their other employees to hammer home the point that the team is right. This is embarrassing.
Even if the team is right, and they are, they should have the spine and the professionalism to stay quiet through all of this. It seems a lot less like a standard organizational rule that was broken when the team is hurling insults in the direction of the guy that they just fined. This is is obviously personal.
The Small Plane
The most ridiculous part of this entire ordeal has nothing to do with the fine or the embarrassing blog post, it has to do with what started this entire mess.
The San Diego Chargers placed Eric Weddle and three other placed on Injured-Reserve, and then let those players know that they would not be permitted to travel with the team to Denver for the final game of the season due to a lack of space on the plane.
There are 17 players on Injured-Reserve for the San Diego Chargers currently, and I understand that they may not have 17 extra seats on their plane for them. I'm not sure I believe it, but if it's true, I understand the position.
However, there should be 3 empty seats. Hell, even the flights where I'm told "every seat is filled so make sure you're not saving a seat for somebody" have 3 empty seats.
Of the 17 players on IR, 3 of them should be allowed to go to Denver. Those players are the team captains, as voted on by the players during the preseason, that are on IR. Corey Liuget, Darrell Stuckey, and Eric Weddle.
In particular, Weddle deserves to go. It will be Malcom Floyd's last game, it could be Antonio Gates' last game (at least, with the Chargers), and who knows if it might be the last game ever for the "San Diego Chargers". Those are Weddle's friends, and he's a big part of the Chargers' team history (whether or not they want to admit it), and robbing him of the experience of sharing in this important moment with them is a much bigger mistake than Weddle not asking permission to miss the coach's halftime speech.