The misunderstandings about Lions receiver Jameson Williams

Divas are real in the NFL. Locker room cancer is too. These things have existed over the course of the NFL's long history. I can't and I won't dispute it. But this story is thrown around incredibly loosely these days. Every time a player does something the fans don't like, they are immediately thrown in the face with accusations of being a locker room cancer or not working hard enough or being given the diva title. It's almost as if fans can't wait to place this moniker on a player. It's not widespread yet, but that's what's starting to happen Detroit Lions receiver Jameson Williams, and I want to nip it in the bud right now.

Fans have been curious about Williams since the day he was drafted by the Lions. There was some concern when some fans perceived that he looked upset about being drafted by the Lions. Here is the video of Williams being drafted by the Lions. Where does this guy look angry? Immediately after this, Williams walked out and joined the Lions fans in celebration.

Then the draft night problem carried over to his first presser at Allen Park. Williams apparently didn't show the excitement that fans hoped he would show and then the concerns and worries about his demeanor. Just a couple of days into his run as a Lion and he's already been painted as a guy who was upset about being drafted by the Lions and has bad manners. All the while he shows plenty of reasons to believe this isn't true.

For a while it seemed that all of this disappeared. Williams showed up to every practice with a smile on his face and a ball in his hand while he rehabbed his ACL and everyone was happy — even throughout the 2022 season.

Everything seemed fine until a Bears writer completely misunderstood a comment made by Lions general manager Brad Holmes.

Here's the full quote — not just the sentence Schmitz pulled out — that answers the question: What do you expect from Jameson Williams in 2023?

– It is clear that we expect great things. I guess that's a good way to put it. It's kind of like a brand new first choice. The goal when we originally drafted him, we didn't really know how much we were going to get out of him, but it was good to get him some kind of game experience to feel the speed of the game.

“But, yeah, we're going to continue to do everything we need to do to make sure he's ready to succeed. Jameson also has to do his part and make sure he does everything he needs to do. It's always a responsibility factor on both sides, but we expect great things from him. He has rare talent, rare ability. He has a serious passion for the game. Yes, we expect great things from him, but obviously we have to do both our parts to make sure that he is ready to succeed.”

If you just listen to Holmes talk here, you'd see that he's saying the same kinds of things he always says. He simply says the Lions will do everything in their power to make sure Williams is successful, and he must make the same effort. That's all. That is all that is said here. Somehow, it was twisted into something that suggests Williams — who has plenty of evidence of putting in hard work recovering from a torn ACL injury — isn't putting in the work. These things keep turning out to be wrong.

From an outsider's perspective, Lions talking about “responsibility” can seem accusatory or suggest doubt or mistrust of a player. But for anyone who's paid attention to this franchise under Dan Campbell and company, it's been a buzzword that permeates the entire Lions culture:

Since then, it feels like there's been a new accusation or inconvenience from fans every day. Some fans don't like that he liked and commented on a Lamar Jackson Instagram post or that he liked a tweet about Jackson being a lion. I can see why people don't like it, but it's still a pretty big stretch to conclude that it means he hates Jared Goff and is a diva. He's a 22-year-old kid who likes Lamar Jackson. That shouldn't be a surprise.

Maybe he should be a little more careful with his social media accounts, because everyone is going to pick apart anything he does. Or maybe – just maybe – we're the problem for overanalyzing every little thing a toddler does. As for Jameson Williams being a good NFL player and a good teammate, it doesn't matter what he likes on social media.

Then there are Williams' late night Instagram sessions where he just talks. He's not doing anything illegal, just chatting and having a good time. In other words, he does things that tons of 22-year-olds who grew up in the social media age do. I know there are some soccer fans who think athletes should spend 23 hours a day practicing soccer, but that's not true. It's low season.

No one is going to like what I have to say right here, but I'm just going to say it. This is the same thing that happened to Eric Ebron. He dropped a couple of passes in his first training camp and fans immediately started calling him a bust and questioned his attitude over and over on social media until his time with the Lions was over.

It's super easy to sit on our couches and talk the right way to act like a professional according to our own ideals. But the reality is that they are not robots. They are people – and very young ones at that – who have lives outside the game. They're on social media, they're fans of other athletes who don't play for your team, and they have varying levels of public enthusiasm and a variety of personalities.

Yes, the Lions have hurt you before. I totally understand. They have selected players who hit or couldn't stay out of trouble. That doesn't mean you have to place your insecurities on every player who comes to town because they don't act the way you want them to. Jameson Williams is guilty of being nothing more than a 22-year-old kid living his dream and living a life outside of that dream.

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