Ronnie Barnes: Most Powerful Man in the Giants organization

Written by: Glenn Warciski

Who is Ronnie Barnes?   Barnes title with the New York Football Giants is Senior Vice President, Medical Services/Head Athletic Trainer.  This shadowy figure is the most powerful man in the Giants organization.  Unbeknownst to many Giants fans,  Barnes wields a lot of clout; so much clout he  put Bill Parcells in his place.     Why bring him up and discuss his role with Giants?   After doing some further reading on the Sam Beal injury incident,  it seems with regards to the Giants,  the more things change the more they stay the same.  What do I mean by stating this?  

Two years ago,  my colleague Paul Burke wrote an investigative post about the Giants protracted injury epidemic and the people in charge of the players medical care.    Barnes being in charge of the entire medical infrastructure has made some changes to the Giants way of doing things.  But has he gone far enough?  The recent shoulder injury to Sam Beal has been relegated to an unfortunate incident. We have heard this before.  Unlucky!  A line used by the Giants and then parroted by the beat writers covering the team.  Oh, the Giants just have been unlucky.  Please Stop!   It has been reported Beal hurt his shoulder while practicing with fellow rookies.  This story being reported by the Giants is a half-truth.  Yes, he injured his shoulder in practice but more importantly, he has had problems with this shoulder.  And now we know he had surgery on this shoulder in the past. No one is talking about what actually happened and what the Giants did or did not do prior to Beal taking the field.  No comment from:  Western Michigan head coach Tim Lester nor Beal’s representatives, and the New York Giants.   It is important to pay attention to what is not said.  In this case,  it seems the Giants with Barnes in charge have not significantly changed the ways they behave when it comes to care of the athlete.  What remains the same is how they communicate the information.  In other words,  Shurmur intimated the Giants knew of the shoulder operation but cannot comment any further.  If pressed with a further question, talk to Ronnie Barnes about this issue.  Then the story dies because the reporters covering this team are more concerned about their access instead of getting to the truth.

During Dave Gettleman’s presser, this is his reply: “We knew about the shoulder, there was no mystery there,” Gettleman said. “It’s like drafting anybody that’s got an injury, we knew about the shoulder. We had MRI’s that Arizona had taken, he comes here, re-injures it, does what he does, and you know, it is what it is. Best case scenario, he’s on the field and we’re not talking about this. Really and truly, we felt we’re getting next year’s third round pick this year. So now with the shoulder, we get it fixed – it’s about a five-month procedure – and he’s ready to go in the spring. So, it is what it is. Anybody can get hurt.”

Anybody can get hurt.  This sounds familiar.   Obvioulsly,  Gettleman is downplaying the injury.   Again, we do not know what happened.  Beal’s situation reminds me of Double O.   Remember him.  Two hip surgeries prior to being drafted.   Did he see the field?  Not much.   Expect Beal’s fate to be the same.

After the Giants ended the nightmare of the 2017 season,  Giants CEO John Mara exclaimed there would be wholesale changes.  Again with Mara,  words are wind.  The Giants made changes but not WHOLESALE changes.   In the front office,  Reese and Ross were terminated.  Other than that,  everybody else kept their jobs which includes Ronnie Barnes.  How does Barnes continue to be in charge of the medical services?  What about the scouts and Chris Mara?   When the Giants selected Beal in the supplemantal draft,  did they know the risk/reward for taking him?   Meaning did they factor in his ongoing shoulder issue versus surrendering next year’s 3rd round pick?   What measures did Barnes implement to ensure Beal would minimize re-injury to his shoulder?  As Paul reported,  some of the programs Barnes has implemented were voluntary.

This same problem continues to repeat itself.  It is like the directions on shampoo.  Lather. Rinse. Repeat.  This is all too familar when the Giants draft players.  They have had an imfamous history under Reese of selecting guys with known injury issues and when they are on the Giants roster, they cannot stay healthy.

Here is a link to another post Paul and I colloborated on about the Giants injury woes and Reese’s drafts.   So it continues under the new Dave Gettleman regime.  A player with a known injury was taken and aggravated said injury.  Sadly, he is out for the year.

Barnes now 66 is still employed by the Giants.  From what I have learned about Barnes,  he is a Mara.  He will continue to have his position until he decides to retire or passes away.  This goes back to a quote from former Giants Head Coach Jim Fassel on Barnes:

“He’s as close as you can get to a Supreme Court appointment.”

Other Obervations:

Follow up on McAdoo:  NBC’s Peter King interviewed McAdoo in his new column Football Morning in America.   

What King did not ask or press McAdoo on, unless it was off limits:

  1.  Knowing the 2016 Giants offense had difficulty scoring points, (NYG averaged 16 points per game),  how come the Giants did not revamp the offensive line?  Why did they draft another receiver in 2017?
  2.  Was it Reese and McAdoo’s thought process Eli Manning could carry this team with a sub-standard offensive line?   And if Eli failed which he did,  the plan was to replace Eli all along?
  3.  Why did he play Geno Smith and not Davis Webb versus the Raiders?  Why did Webb not get reps with the first team offense?

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