GLENDALE, Ariz. — A tumultuous and chaotic week for quarterback Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals might have reached its conclusion Thursday night when the team removed the independent study addendum from Murray’s contract after it received significant backlash.
“After seeing the distraction it created, we removed the addendum from the contract,” the Cardinals said in a statement. “It was clearly perceived in ways that were never intended. Our confidence in Kyler Murray is as high as it’s ever been and nothing demonstrates our belief in his ability to lead this team more than the commitment reflected in this contract.”
The addendum’s inclusion in Murray’s new contract extension first became public Monday. The clause required him to study game material for four hours a week on his own in order to receive “credit.” Murray couldn’t study while he was distracted by the TV, internet or video games, the addendum said. If Murray failed to meet the criteria, he was at risk of being in “default” of his contract.
The backlash began almost immediately.
Both Murray and the Cardinals were levied with criticism — Murray for allegedly needing a requirement to study more and agreeing to sign a contract with such a clause, and the team for feeling the need to include it instead of handling it privately with its star QB.
Murray’s contract and the addendum were among the topics talked about most when Arizona reported to training camp Tuesday. Coach Kliff Kingsbury said he wasn’t surprised that Murray’s deal included such a clause “because my man’s got a quarter billion dollars” but also said he thought Murray was studying enough.
The questions for Murray’s teammates about his study habits continued into Wednesday, but the reaction reached a fever pitch Thursday morning when Murray held an impromptu news conference after a training camp practice. He spoke for about 11 minutes, saying he felt it was necessary to explain himself. Murray called the criticism of his work ethic and the allegations that he doesn’t watch much or any game film “disrespectful,” adding that “it’s almost a joke.”
Murray said “of course” he watches film by himself — “that’s a given.” He also said he refused to let his work ethic be questioned.
“People can’t comprehend the amount of time that it takes to do two sports at a high level in college, let alone be the first person to do it ever at my size,” said Murray, who was an outfielder at Oklahoma. “It’s funny.”