On every team, and in almost every sport, there will be at least one individual who divides and polarizes opinion. Consequently, they often get isolated by the fans and the media alike; in some cases, they're portrayed as easy scapegoats.
Multi-million-dollar athletes are often expected to keep their mouths shut in the face of accusations. But, in regard to Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon, that wasn’t an option.
When the Denver Post recently ran a headline story that questioned Gordon’s abilities, it ruffled his feathers. On Wednesday, during an appearance on The Jim Rome Show, the former Pro Bowler continued to defend himself — vehemently — against the apparent smears.
“That pissed me off. I couldn’t care less about the fumbles or all that other jazz they were talking about,” Gordon declared. “What kind of irritated me the most was the ‘bad teammate’ part. Like, I’ve never had a teammate — ever — since high school, since little league, ever tell me that I was a bad teammate.”
Fumbles and the different perceptions of the statistical achievements Gordon has put up over the duration of his career will always be up for debate. That goes for all NFL players, general critique Gordon can deal with. What really grinds his gears is the bad teammate allegation.
“For them to say that, I guarantee you can ask any teammate, and they (someone who says he’s a bad teammate) would look stupid,” Gordon insisted. “So, that kind of bothered me a lot because that’s the first time I’ve ever heard that, and like I said, I take pride in being a good teammate, man."
Taking less money to return to the Broncos was a huge indicator that Gordon has a pretty selfless side, and his determination to chase a ring in Denver points to a player who's bought into a shared vision. Gordon’s wholehearted honesty in interviews has indicated he's prepared to show his younger teammates how to be a good pro — and in the case of Javonte Williams, even if they are attempting to steal your starting job away.
Reassuringly, Gordon mostly remains his approachable and affable self, but he’s more than ready to come out fighting when required. At the end of the day, the 29-year-old knows that in the brutal world he inhabits, only his teammates will really have his back. And vice versa.