With little fanfare, Washington pro football team owner Dan Snyder slipped a letter out to the team’s fan mailing list this past Sunday. It was a masterful work of self-service. In it, Snyder finally realized there were problems in Indian Country, based on a supposed 26 visits to various reservations around the country. The visits – all cherry-picked to councils who “agree” with him about the “non-offensive” nature of the team’s moniker – apparently opened his eyes to the plight and ills of reservation residents.
Let’s set aside for a moment that Snyder refuses to meet with tribal councils who oppose the name, including the still-open invitation from the Oneida Nation in New York. Snyder quickly jumped to the “hey, there’s more important issues to deal with than changing a football team’s name” defense, pointing out the horrific poverty rates, unemployment, poor health, and abysmal education found on many Native reservations. And yes, these are real problems. Big ones. Continue reading →
So this popped out the other day.
It’s no secret how I feel about the whole name thing with the Washington football team. I oppose it. I think it’s racist. I have several personal issues with the name. But that’s not why I decided to post something about it.
The letter is a poor public relations attempt, mostly to mollify diehard team fans who will, unto the bitter end, support the racist moniker. Not out of reason, but blind emotion.
Hey, I get it. I understand why. Team fandom is a complicated, deep, personal thing that involves a lot of emotional investment and history. It’s difficult to hear that your beloved franchise is doing something wrong – simply by using a name (and by extension, mascot and other fan accoutrements).
The problem comes when that moniker is unveiled to be racist. The Washington issue isn’t anything new; it’s been around for decades. The movement today has found new momentum and has begun to find rightful traction in righting a wrong. (Just like the Civil Rights Movement began finding traction nearly one hundred years after Emancipation.)
The first third of Snyder’s letter is a play on his loyal fanbase’s emotional strings. “I still remember…the passion of the fans…the ground beneath me seemed to move and shake…he’s been gone for 10 years now…” All phrases and words evoking emotions and certainly causing the reader to recall their own cherished memories. Setting them into their defensive stance, so that the rest of the letter, which uses standard PR spin and deft deflection, only ratchets up the emotional volume for their impassioned – and misguided – defense.
Oh, and then there’s the trite “Our past isn’t just where we came from–it’s who we are” phrase. Bolded and italicized, even. Because it’s important! Continue reading →
‘Statue of Iustitia’
courtesy of ‘ralpe’
In my family, to my mother’s constant disappointment, I’m the one who didn’t go to law school. But I grew up around legalese and learned to argue at the kitchen table, so I like to read legal filings and opinions more than the average non-lawyer.
This is how I came to read the filing in Daniel M. Snyder vs Atalaya Capital Management, LP, et al. I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, but here’s a quick analysis of the filing and what it might actually mean. Postscript: TBD has also written about the suit’s merits
Continue reading →
‘The Newest Redskin’
courtesy of ‘Kevin A. Koski’
A public service post this afternoon in case you need a timeline of the events regarding the Redskins newest quarterback, Donovan McNabb.
8:15 p.m., Sunday, April 4: Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that the Philadelphia Eagles would be sending their 2009 starting QB to Washington for draft picks in 2010 and 2011.
Noon, Monday, April 5: The Redskins announce their new quarterback at a press conference at Redskins Park Auditorium.
4 p.m., Monday, April 5: Redskins marketing goes into full effect, launching an e-mail to registered members to let them know that they already have the opportunity to reserve a #5 jersey in Burgundy.
Sure, maybe you think that the Redskins have a deeper rotation under center than the Nats as of this afternoon and should have focused more on Offensive Line issues. But at least you can have that thought will forking over $71.99 for a new piece of McNabb swag.
courtesy of ‘brianmka’
Yesterday, Dan Snyder apologized for the Redskins abysmal record. He appeared at a press conference after a charity event and stated that the Skins have “let everyone down” this season and that the organization is sorry. Unfortunately, he failed to address his crackdown on “offensive” signs and his pathological need for adulation from fans and the media. My guess is that he figured what Washingtonians are really upset about is the Skins’ losing record, and not that he meddles in the team’s coaching or that his skin is so thin that he can’t handle seeing a “Fire Snyder” t-shirt in his stadium. Dan, if you want people to stop hating you, let the coaches coach and quit being a jackass. Mostly the latter. It’s really that simple.
courtesy of ‘Keith Allison’
According to Hall of Fame receiver Steve Largent, Redskins coach Jim Zorn just about quit his job when he was asked to give up his play-calling abilities. Largent told KJR in Seattle that Zorn did consider quitting and didn’t want to give up his responsibilities as coach. But apparently, in typical Dan Snyder fashion, the upper management pulled out Zorn’s contract and basically told Zorn he had to do whatever the owner tells him to do.
Sounds like Snyder tried to force Zorn to quit, rather than fire him, so that Snyder won’t be liable for Zorn’s contract.
Largent blasted Snyder even more over at NBC Sports: “I think it will be humbling and it will be embarrassing, but not for Jim,” Largent said to NBC Sports. “I think it’s humbling and embarrassing for the Redskins and the Redskins owner and Redskins management that made the decision. To think that you can bring a guy in from a retirement center, who is pulling out ping-pong balls in the Bingo games and say, ‘You are going to call the plays for the next game against the Philadelphia Eagles, a division opponent, on Monday Night Football,’ and think that that’s going to be successful, that’s a joke. That is really a joke.”
That whole boycott thing sounds better and better, doesn’t it?