Cardinals' spit spat little more than juicy gossip

Dockett-Rhodes confrontation makes for juicy gossip, but nothing more.

There are moments that make you cringe to be a journalist. A report on Monday regarding the Cardinals is one such moment.

Citing a source with knowledge of the situation, ProFootballTalk reported that defensive tackle Darnell Dockett spit in safety Kerry Rhodes’ face in the waning moments of Sunday's 7-6 loss to the New York Jets.

According to the report, the Cardinals’ defense planned to let the Jets score a touchdown late in the game to take a 14-6 lead because that tactic would have given the Cardinals the ball back with a chance to force overtime: “The only problem?  Dockett didn’t want to let the Jets score. And so he resisted. And he resisted. And eventually, as Rhodes was trying to persuade Dockett to go along, Dockett let his saliva do the talking.”

During an interview with Arizona Sports 620 on Monday, coach Ken Whisenhunt said: “We generally prefer to keep internal matters like that within the team and not discuss them publicly. I think we’re going to continue that going forward.”

We will probably never get the full details of what happened, although Dockett appeared to be referencing the report on Monday night when he tweeted the following.

“Two sides to every story! But everyone needs a escape goat! Everyone need to point the finger at some one. It won't be first or the last!"

“In the end maybe I care to much, to loyal to s*** that's not loyal to me. Maybe I should be like other #'s and just don't give a f***."

“Anyway I can't tell y'all the truth or how I feel cuz they watching my tweets smh. Oh and by the way when I'm wrong I say it. Just a FYI.”

Meanwhile, in an e-mail released by the Cardinals on Tuesday morning, Rhodes wrote this:

“Yes, we had a disagreement on the field but, no he did NOT spit in my face. I’m not going to get into all the details because I think those are things you keep within the team. But Darnell and I talked after the game, we’re both moving on, and I’ll leave it at that.”

Regardless of the details, it is fair, first, to question whether this story is even newsworthy. Internal spats occur all the time in the locker room and on the field. There are times when a story is important enough that quoting unnamed sources is a necessary evil, but does this meet that standard?
Even more worrisome, and perhaps irresponsible, is jumping to the conclusion that this is a sign the Cardinals, mired in an eight-game losing streak, are coming apart internally. As we stated above, teammates have spats all the time. When you work together in such physically and mentally demanding conditions, it’s going to happen.
Beyond that, anybody who knows Rhodes’ and Dockett’s disparate personalities knows these two guys aren’t exactly hanging out together after games, anyway. About the only thing the two have in common is that they play defense for the Arizona Cardinals.
But, hey, in today's TMZ-inspired world of journalism, this moves the needle, and that’s what much of our business has become. Maybe we’re guilty of the same thing for even weighing in on what we believe is a non-story.

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