Further Review

Steve Hummer's Further Review blog offers comments, asides and quick hits on the state of sports

Roddy White's exile defies explanation

There being no rational explanation for the way Roddy White has been shunned by the Falcons offense – ignored like a car alarm in midtown – we are left grasping for the irrational.

This has gone beyond just emphasizing Julio Jones or cultivating the many talents of Devonta Freeman, and is, frankly, taking on the aspects of something personal, almost malicious.

What could White have done to be spurned in this manner?

Did he TP Kyle Shanahan’s car after practice one day?

Did he file a restraining order, and now the football can’t come within 500 feet of him?

Or, perhaps, he thought it would be funny to put some novelty fake dog squeeze in Matt Ryan’s cream of wheat?

Someone give us some cause for the Falcons going out of their way to not throw him the ball. Because we’ve witnessed no physical reason for this franchise’s leading all-time receiver to be so uninvolved. And because if this is all they are going to use White, there is no reason to even put him on the field. Might as well split a far cheaper decoy – be it deer, duck or goose – out wide.

Among the absurdities of Sunday’s loss at San Francisco were the mere two times White was targeted that afternoon. He is fifth on the team in targets, still trailing even the injured Leonard Hankerson.

This does more than bruise White’s ego. It weakens a Falcons offense that lately has produced plenty of empty yardage and not a lot of winning plays. Even at 34, White remains one of the most clutch, most competitive performers in that huddle.

When the Falcons were winning and he made some noise about being dissatisfied, there was reason to tell him to shush.

Now that they are struggling, and White has been rendered invisible not by defenses but by his own game-planners, he has a more legitimate platform from which to vent.

His baffling absence from the offense has reached critical mass. It has gone beyond the usual ebbs and flows of a season and become something resembling an organized banishment.

Having run out of any plausible explanations for this, there is little left to do but stand up, raise a fist and shout: “Remember Roddy White!”

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About the Author

Steve Hummer writes sports features for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He covers a wide range of sports and topics.