'I'm done': Rivera gets fed up with answering Haskins questions originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
On Monday, Ron Rivera spoke about how he wanted the discussion this week to point solely toward Washington's matchup with Carolina and not any sort of narrative about him facing his former franchise.
On Wednesday, the head coach again directed the focus to Sunday, but he did so much more forcefully and to discourage inquiries about a far different matter than a reunion with the Panthers.
At the start of his post-practice press conference, Rivera gave a statement about Dwayne Haskins' mask-less partying and violation of the NFL's COVID-19 protocols. In the statement, he revealed the quarterback is no longer a captain and detailed how Haskins apologized to his teammates for his poor decision making, among other things.
"I'd appreciate it if we could all move on from this and keep the questions on this matter brief," he said at the conclusion of his opening remarks.
Unfortunately for Rivera, the questions about the story that is now overshadowing anything on the field were not brief.
Rivera was asked: 1) about whether Alex Smith's health influenced his choice to keep Haskins on the roster, 2) why he overall opted not to move on from the passer entirely or be more severe with his punishment, 3) if he anticipates the NFL taking further action on the matter, 4) how this whole situation could interfere with the culture he's trying to build within the organization and 5) how the rest of the roster reacted to the 23-year-old's apology.
Then, as the next reporter started to speak, Rivera cut that reporter off to say this:
"OK, just so everybody knows: We play the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, OK? I answered enough questions on this, you guys have had enough opportunities to get enough information about this, OK? We are playing Carolina. If I don't get any more Carolina questions, I'm done, OK? Let's be honest, again, don't make what's interesting important. What's important for this franchise right now is that we are going forward. We play on Sunday. I want to get that really clear. We play on Sunday. The game on Sunday, to me, is more important than what has happened. What has happened has been dealt with, there's been consequences, OK, and now what it is is we're going to what's important. That's interesting. That's been dealt with. Now let's talk about the Carolina Panthers vs. the Washington Football Team, please."
Since Week One, Rivera has addressed the media on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and after games in a typical week. Wednesday's availability was as heated as he's ever gotten while at the podium.
That sort of attitude and intensity could be useful in the locker room, as Washington's players, including Haskins, can't allow this new drama to impact their performance in Week 16.
As for how it'll play out in front of the cameras, well, Rivera will hold his next presser on Thursday.
It's unlikely the questions surrounding his QB's behavior will go away.
It should be another lively one.