WASHINGTON — Redskins coach Jay Gruden says ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was out of line for calling his team losers.
Post-game footage after Sunday’s win over the Eagles showed Redskins defensive lineman Chris Baker and Ricky Jean Francois confidently reminding everyone they’s the defending NFC East champions.
“We run the damn east,” Francois said on his walk back to the locker room. “Not Philly. Not Dallas. Not all of them. We run the east. You better remember who got that damn title.”
Baker, trailing close behind, added, “Y’all forgot who the real champs of the NFC East is. Everybody picking those trash-ass Eagles.”
Smith reacted to those comments on ESPN’s “First Take” program Tuesday afternoon, responding in part that bragging about winning the NFC East is proof the Redskins have a loser’s mentality. “No wonder y’all are losers,” he said.
Baker went back at Smith on Twitter, saying “you better put some respect on our name. Always talking slick out you mouth.” He went on to call Smith a professional [smack] talker, before adding, “Sick and tired of people disrespecting my team who cares how you win the division just win it.”
He had reinforcements in teammates Pierre Garcon, DeAngelo Hall and Francois, who also tweeted Smith. Smith of course retaliated on ESPN Wednesday afternoon, although the Redskins, according to First Take, declined a chance for Baker to appear on the show.
“You’re not looking for negative publicity, obviously,” Gruden told reporters later Wednesday.
“I think after a game, when you’re by your locker room, guys were a little excited,” he said. “They played their tails off against a good Philadelphia team and sometimes some things are said, get caught on tape and it is what it is. We beat a very good Philadelphia team, and I think Baker’s quote was a little out of line when he said what he said, but I like our guys being confident. I like them being upbeat and excited about winning football games.
“As far as being NFC East champs, defending champs, we are. And I’m proud of that. And our guys are proud of that. That’s something we have to defend. And it is an honor to be an NFC East champion. We have a longer way to go, we want more from our football team than that, but I really don’t want people to get in bickering matches with the media. You can’t win. You just can’t win.”
“I know Stephen does a good job with what he does,” he added. “But he doesn’t know our team. He doesn’t know our coaches. He doesn’t know our fanbase. And for him to call us all losers is out of line by him, because he doesn’t know Jamison Crowder, Jordan Reed and Morgan Moses, and Brandon Scherff, and Will Blackmon and Ryan Kerrigan.
“He doesn’t know the type of work these guys put in, the type of players they are, the type of people they are, the coaching staff that we have, but hopefully he’ll put and end to it here shortly and it’ll all blow over like most of these media things do.”