Monday, December 20, 2010

The Washington Deadskins – Shame on you!!!

This is the first time I’ve delved into the sports arena via this blog, but as you know I might share a Thought Provoking Perspective on any topic, particularly if it relates to an African American issue. I must admit, I normally reserve my comments for those subjects that are more meaningful to life’s issues. Nonetheless, as I watched the Dallas Cowboys/Washington Redskins game yesterday I had a flashback with respect to the Redskins organization, which has a long history of mistreating African American player.

As I watched Donavan McNabb on the sidelines during the game I realized as sure as something’s change they remain the same. Many Washingtonians, as well as fan in many other places, are endeared to the Redskins football team, which is their personal choice. Unfortunately, I am not of them, and not just because of the team’s name. In my view it is akin to calling African Americans the “N-Word”, which surely must be the view of Native American’s; disrespectful at best.

Back to McNabb, seeing what appeared to be humiliation on his face caused the hair on the back of my neck to rise, because of the teams sorted past and there long history that support this position. The NFL’s color barrier was broken in 1946; it inexplicably took George Preston Marshall, the team’s owner, 16 more years amid legal threats and community pressure to bring Bobby Mitchell, their first black player, to the Redskins. Former quarterback Eddie LeBaron, who knew Marshall, said he never believed he was a racist. However, they were the last team in the NFL to sign a black player and were forced to do so.

In more recent memory, do you remember Quarterback Doug Williams? He was sent packing a season after he made history winning the Super Bowl. Now, let’s look at what happened to Jason Campbell last year when no one in management stuck up for him while he's getting killed behind his offensive line. I won’t even mention Big Albert’s treatment this year.

In the latest episode, Donovan McNabb suddenly is bad at understanding the playbook. This is a seasoned professional, who’s a six time Pro Bowler and a player sure to reach the Hall of Fame, who by the way has played football since he was 10 years old. The team’s management has disrespected him in every way imaginable from claiming he was out of shape to not being able to understand the offense to benching him for a quarterback far less capable, culminating with benching him for the rest of the season. Was this due diligence on the part of wrong-way Mike or something more ominous?

I’ll say Wrong-way’s benching of McNabb in the final two minutes in Detroit permeates my point, so let's get right to the point. Is there an elephant in the room: RACE? Surely this is noticed and reverberates in the minds of those who know and remember the history of this organization, which is significantly rooted in questionable decisions concerning black players. Looking back at this history, what happens is you start to wonder.

Kevin Blackistone an AOL Fanhouse columnist and Washington native remarked, whether Shanahan had any understanding of the organization’s history, the city’s composition, or the feelings that linger; he should be sensitive enough to understand that "this ain't Colorado." In 1965, his father, James Sr., wrote a letter to the acting president of the Redskins, Edward Bennett Williams. Like most African American fans at the time, James Blackistone was offended by the Confederate flags in the stands and the band's playing of "Dixie" during games. Less than a month later, Williams wrote back to Blackistone, saying he agreed. After 1965, the Redskins band did not play "Dixie" at another game.

When Wrong-way questions the intelligence of McNabb, black fans should ask themselves, what is he really saying? I want to be very clear that I'm not saying it was his intention to make McNabb sound dumb, incompetent or lazy. But it was and is shameful and disrespectful the way he has handled it, like the Big Albert’s situation, he insults the player. When it keeps happening, there is a fine line between coaching and hegemony.

The history of why African Americans are so sensitive is not made up or unfounded, particularly in light of segregation, Jim Crow, and slavery. The prevailing thought, in my mind, is leadership and they may have issues with the complexion of the leader. Hmmm.

How many great African American players have come out of this organization? They were the last team to integrate with Bobby Mitchell. Then Bobby was never given a shot to be the general manager. You throw in Doug Williams dismissed after he was the Super Bowl MVP, Art Monk and Brian Mitchell unceremoniously going to Philadelphia, and the list goes on.

There always seems to be an undertone, at the very least disrespect, with this organization that is not easily dismissed. Now, they limped into Big D, lost, and the pundits proclaimed Rex the future. Let’s look at it this way; they played a Dallas team that is not very good – ok. Then they put forth a game plan to justify the decision. For example, Rex threw all day and if you do that you will get stat’s both good and bad, which he did. There were no running plays to speak of – 55 yards accumulated the entire game.

Former team player Doc Walker said a few weeks ago, “Whenever anything happens involving a player of color in Washington, the bottom line is the old wounds are opened… The last two minutes of that game brought back 30 years or more of undertones. You don't necessarily say, 'That's what it is,' but you do pause and think about it… Given what's happened here, it's only natural.”

This is the very reason why there are so many Cowboy fans in Washington, because many black fans refused to support a team that would not employ an African American player for so many years. So they became fans of the team's arch rival. They have kids and they became Cowboy fans - and so on and so on – and most of them have never even been to Dallas. I agree totally because that is why I am a Dallas Cowboys fan.

My last point, keep an eye on the NFL MVP to be awarded. Let’s see if the rightful recipient Michael Vick receives the much deserved award or….


Unknown said...

I have been a Dallas Cowboys fan since 1973. My main reason is because my mother and grandparents are from Longview, TX and I've been a faithful fan and follower since.

John you've said a a mouthful, and I wish I could really be a fly on the wall to say and know exactly what it is that Donovan was thinking. We will always see and experience the reality that racism hasn't disappeared, it just wears MORE make up these days.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, RACIST!!!