Shawn Andrews Shown No ‘Brotherly Love’ in Philly

Photo courtesy of Philly.com

Photo courtesy of Philly.com

Former Eagles Offensive Lineman Shawn Andrews has made some revealing claims recently about his time playing with the Eagles. Andrews, in a recent interview with Sync Weekly, characterized his time in Philadelphia as “a living hell.”

The former All-Pro claims that bullying, disrespect and abuse made his time in Philadelphia extremely difficult from a mental standpoint. While playing for the Birds, Andrews was often misunderstood by the fans and the media, but perhaps these revelations now shed some light on the enigmatic star.

Andrews’ claims appear to be somewhat unbelievable, but with the national conversation centered on bullying in professional sports, perhaps it is way more possible than it seems. Could our beloved Eagles have been perpetrators of this bullying phenomenon?

If Andrews claims are true, this could open up a very interesting ‘pandora’s box’ for the Eagles organization.

This entire conversation began about two weeks ago when Andrews was interviewed on 97.5 The Fanatic to discuss the bullying situation going on with the Miami Dolphins. Andrews admitted that he faced similar treatment to that of Jonathan Martin, and that the only player on the team that he trusted was Brian Dawkins.

Andrews claims that many rumors were spread about him in the Eagles’ locker room and that one of the biggest culprits was the leader of the team.

Would you want to go to work at a place where you’re putting your heart out every single day and the guy that you’re protecting is saying things behind your back that isn’t true? -Shawn Andrews

Photo courtesy of FoxSports.com

Photo courtesy of FoxSports.com

Andrews avoided going into great specifics in terms of what Donovan McNabb did to him or said about him while in Philadelphia, but it was clear that Andrews felt he was abused by someone that was supposed to be the leader of the locker room. Andrews also went on to say that Coach Reid was aware of what was going on and that he knew the type of guys that he had in the locker room.

Andrews made it clear that he was and still is proud of his time in Philadelphia and that he harbors no hard feelings with the organization and the city itself. He just feels like there were very few ‘good guys’ in the Eagles locker room and that he was picked as a target of the team’s immaturity.

He claims that McNabb and other teammates spread various rumors about him including some about his eating habits during contract negotiations and about his sexual orientation. Now a father and a husband, Andrews claims that he has nothing against gay people, but that being labeled as such while playing in the NFL can be a death sentence.

Andrews has not offered an explanation for why he received the treatment that he did from his Eagles teammates. He was definitely a different kind of guy. Andrews was a very open and expressive person, which was a slight contrast to the typically rough and tough NFL offensive lineman. His clothes and hair made Andrews stand out and perhaps he made himself into a lightning rod. Andrews characterized McNabb as attention hungry and he believed there were a lot of heavy egos on the team. The attention that Andrews received may not have been welcomed.

Andrews also dabbled in things like music and poetry (Recommendation: “Get My Michael Phelps On”) which brought into question whether or not football was actually a priority in his life.

Photo courtesy of New York Times

Photo courtesy of New York Times

The former Eagle has continued to express that football was indeed important to him and that the treatment that he received in Philadelphia wore on him. Andrews admitted to contemplating suicide while playing for the Eagles. He failed to report to Eagles training camp on time in 2008 and had to seek professional help for some of the mental anguish that he was facing. At the time, many fans and media characterized Andrews as being aloof and he was labeled, for lack of a better term, as being ‘crazy.”

This situation is still somewhat fresh, but it will be worth watching to see what sort of implications this could have for the reputation of an era of Birds football that the fan base still holds in high regard. The organization just honored the legacy of the greatest quarterback in team history and now it is coming out that McNabb could have been the ring leader in the circus when it came to tormenting Shawn Andrews.

McNabb, who is now a media professional, publicly addressed Andrews’ claims yesterday on his radio show. McNabb denied Andrews’ accusations.

Unbelievable, man. Unbelievable. Why would I want to talk bad to others that are out there and then question your sexuality? Does that make sense to you at all? And why is this coming out now? It’s unbelievable. I just talked to a reporter from Philadelphia, and I’m just like, ‘Are you serious? Why don’t you just talk to the rest of the teammates and find out what’s going on. -Donovan McNabb

It will also be interesting to see if Andy Reid or Brian Dawkins step up and say anything in regards to these statements.

Andrews said that he trusted and confided in Dawkins, however Dawkins has always spoken very highly of McNabb and he emceed McNabb’s retirement ceremony. Could Dawkins have said the things he said on McNabb’s behalf knowing about the treatment that Andrews later claimed he received?

In a sense, it is not all that surprising. There have been other instances of division in the Eagles locker room during that era. Some of that also surrounded McNabb. Until we get more statements from someone else within that locker room, other than McNabb or Andrews, it is going to be hard to truly ascertain actions, statements or motivations.

We are now left wondering what exactly Andrews has to gain from speaking out years after all this happened. It appears that the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin situation has created a platform to discuss bullying in sports and maybe more stories will continue to surface.

Photo courtesy of New York Times

Photo courtesy of New York Times

Bullying is clearly an issue in America and stories like this make it clear that it exists even in places that we least expect it. As a culture, we need to address this situation in a meaningful way. To often stories like the Dolphins, and now this, are a flash in the pan and we do not delve into the true seriousness of the situation.

There are very serious claims being made in these two situations including racial insensitivity and anti-gay sentiments. These are things that in any other realm would be fully scrutinized. In the sports world, they are a distraction and thus are quickly ejected from the discourse.

Andrews will most likely not go on a speaking tour to drag the name of his former teammates through the mud. He is not that type of person. Sometimes after awhile, certain things just have to be said. Look out for responses from other former Eagles. If these claims are true, Andrews was most likely not the sole victim.

Posted on November 21, 2013, in Eagles, Ray Boyd and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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