Courtesy of Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
The Baltimore Orioles’ NFL counterpart, the Ravens, fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron yesterday. Without going into details, Cameron was long beleaugered and had long been criticized by fans. Upon his dismissal yesterday morning, I read on Twitter that head coach John Harbaugh held onto Cameron as long as he could, however there came a point where the pressure from ownership became too great for him to continue to retain him (Cameron). Basically, Harbaugh is a loyal guy and he’s not a fan of making changes unless it’s absolutely necessary. Whether or not it was necessary can be debated, however the question is whether or not too much loyalty (or blind loyalty) is a bad thing?
Growing up in an Italian-American family, I was taught early on to be faithful to those closest to you. You never betray your own, and you never go against your own. However sometimes I feel that nowadays as people grow more and more fickle that practice is frowned upon. This is true in sports as much as anywhere. People expect instant gratification. To continue in the NFL vain, many sports fans look at the turnaround of the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 and figure that if their team can do that anyone can. Therefore many fans have very little patience for allowing a new coach a chance to “wet his beak” in his new job. Manny Acta only had two years in Cleveland before being fired, and I would submit that a franchise that’s lost as much as the Indians should give a manager a bit more time than that. The same is true of countless other coaches in other sports.
However that’s getting away from the real question; is too much loyalty a bad thing? Too much of anything is probably not right. In the case of “loyalty,” one only has to look at the Presidencies of Ulysses S. Grant and Warren G. Harding. Both were honest and decent men, however they were loyal to their friends (whom they had hired) for too long and that got them into trouble. (In Harding’s case he died before the scandal could break, however a lot of people let him down over time.) However in a profession such as coaching, there is a certain amount of instant gratification that is expected. That means that if a team isn’t responding to a coach, at some point something needs to be done.
There comes a point in any job where if you protect your empl0yees too much, the big boss is going to start to question you. At some point if you don’t take action, he will. He’ll let you go, and probably let the other guy go as well. This is not to say that head coaches such as John Harbaugh and Buck Showalter shouldn’t stick their necks out there for their assistants or players. However as I said, you eventually get to a point where keeping someone on board any operation ceases to be the right thing to do. In this particular case I think it’s strange that a team is firing it’s offensive coordinator as it heads into the playoffs, but ultimately if the Ravens win their final three games with a lot of offensive power I suppose the justification will be in the results.