Dwayne Haskins' actions show 'lack of concern and compassion' to Ryan Clark

Mike DePrisco
·3 min read

Haskins' actions show 'lack of concern and compassion' to Ryan Clark originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

In attending a maskless party Sunday night following a loss to the Seahawks, Dwayne Haskins put Ron Rivera and the Washington Football Team in a very difficult spot as it pushes for a playoff spot. 

As a result, he's been the subject of widespread criticism, including former Washington safety Ryan Clark. Wednesday morning, Clark unloaded on the young quarterback for his actions over the weekend. 

"It's unacceptable, it truly is," Clark said on Get Up. "It shows a lack of self-awareness, it shows a lack of empathy, it shows a lack of concern and compassion for those around you."

Whether Haskins will be punished by the team or league is unknown as of now, which adds a wrinkle into Washington's Week 16 game against Carolina. If Alex Smith is sidelined again by a calf injury, Washington has to either start Haskins, Taylor Heinicke, who hasn't played in an NFL game in two years, or Steven Montez with zero NFL experience.

But as Clark went on to explain, this issue goes a little deeper than Washington's playoff hopes. In an ongoing pandemic, Haskins' actions put his teammates, family and head coach who recently finished chemotherapy, at risk. 

"This is one of those things where if you don't care about yourself, care about the people around you," he said. "Care about Ron Rivera, who just got the opportunity to ring the bell at his last chemotherapy treatment. Care about the players in your locker room, care about your family members, care about the other guys in this league, care about your peers, the staff members."

This won't be an easy thing to come back from for Haskins. After he was benched four games into the season, questions were raised about his maturity, preparation and overall ability to be an NFL quarterback. This latest incident did nothing to quell those concerns.

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"Also, don't be a dummy," Clark said. "There's a perception of you that you're unprofessional. There's a perception of you that you are immature. So are you just going to hand it to them on a platter? You're not going to think that pictures are going to be taken? You don't think that videos are going to be out?

"Black quarterbacks have had to fight the perception of not begin smart and not being professional, or not having the level of accountability to play the position," he said. "And in a year where four of the quarterbacks that got elected to the Pro Bowl are black quarterbacks, this is another setback. This is another opportunity for people to sit back and say, 'See, I told you.'"

Haskins has two years left on his contract following this season with a team option for the fifth year. If Washington wants to completely move on from Haskins after the season and cut him, they'd have to take on $8.5 million in dead money. They could also trade him to whoever's willing to take him, but based on recent events it's fair to question what his value would be. 

"They said that he wasn't smart enough, they said that he didn't work hard enough, they said that he wasn't professional enough, and now you give them a reason to continue talking," Clark said. "From a football perspective, from a leadership perspective, this is unacceptable. It needs to be punished, it needs to be addressed. I don't know how you can do that because you need him to play quarterback this week, but this cannot happen."

In the meantime, Washington has to prepare for a crucial game against the Panthers with a chance to clinch the division. If they lose, they'll have to beat the Eagles in Week 17 to make the playoffs.