To say that former Minnesota Vikings receiver Troy Williamson and head coach Brad Childress did not get along would be an understatement.
In his final season with the Vikings, Williamson’s grandmother died. When the receiver left the team for the funeral, Childress took a game check away from the player.
The situation got so bad that Williamson reportedly said that he wanted to fight Childress. More than a decade later, the situation still seems to burn for the former NFL player.
“And I never really got a true apology for that. He went back and gave me the game check back — which I donated to charity to show it wasn’t even about the money — but that was because the veterans like Antoine Winfield and Bryant McKinnie went back at it,” Williamson said, per Michael Rand, Minnesota Star Tribune. “They know the importance of family and other things bigger than football. So that was the time that I lost all respect (for Childress).”
It’s hard to fault Williamson for his frustration here. This is an awful look for Childress. Heck, it’s an awful look for any coach.
First off, this shows a fundamental lack of compassion. If a player chooses to stay with his team instead of going to the funeral of a loved one, that’s one thing. But taking financial action against a player for going to a funeral is almost unfathomable.
Second, this kind of action rightfully infuriated Williamson. Additionally, as Williamson said, it’s the kind of thing that got noticed by other players. There is no realistic way that this didn’t create a division between not just Childress and Williamson, but between Childress and at least a good portion of the Vikings’ locker room.
Childress has yet to get another head coaching job in the NFL since being fired by Minnesota. This despite a solid 39-35 record. If anyone has ever wondered why, this kind of thing goes a long way in answering that question.