Wednesday, December 18, 2013
The Washington Deadskins Drama
This is the second time I’ve delved into the sports arena via this blog and wouldn’t you know it both were about the Washington Deadskins. I will be up-front and let you know that I bleed blue [if you are a football fan you what that means]. Oh, let me also say that the teams current state of dysfunction WARMS MY HEART!!!
I might share a Thought Provoking Perspective on any topic, particularly if it relates to African American issues. I must admit; I normally reserve my comments for those subjects that are more meaningful to life’s issues. Nonetheless, as I watch what is happening to RG III I had a flashback with respect to the Redskins organization, which has a long history of mistreating African American player. In addition to that, I never like the team’s racist name.
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, which in my view is akin to calling African Americans the “N-Word”. I am positive this surely must be the view of Native American’s - disrespectful at best.
What I am about to say may well be painful to some but just as sure as something’s change they remain the same. Over the years, I watched what they did to Donavan McNabb BENCHED! How they humiliated him still causes the hair on the back of my neck to rise. The teams antic’s go further back in time than just these two successful Black players. The teams sorted past and there long history supports my position.
Let’s journey back to George Preston Marshall an early owner. The NFL’s color barrier was broken in 1946; it inexplicably took Marshall sixteen years amid legal threats and community pressure to bring Bobby Mitchell, their first black player, to the Redskins as a player. Former quarterback Eddie LeBaron, who knew Marshall, said he never believed he was a racist. Nonetheless, they were the last team in the NFL to sign a black player or 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 when no one in management stuck up for him while he's getting killed behind his offensive line and was sent packing. I won’t even mention Big Albert’s treatment. See a pattern? No, then read on!
Did you know that before someone wrote the crazy “Hail to the Redskins” song they played “Dixie”? You know the one: “I wish I was in the land of cotton…” A few years ago, they brought in the man they say would resurrect the team - wrong-way Mike and his trusty sidekick - his son. Well we see how well that worked out. Published reports say RG III is not talking to either – hmmm.
In the latest episode, RG III was benched to rest him. Correct me if I am wrong but the Skins gave away their first round draft choices for, like, fifty years. Was this due diligence on the part of Wrong-way Mike or something more ominous? Let me get 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.
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 "this ain't Colorado." Particularly, when he did the same thing to McNabb!
In 1965, James Blackistone wrote a letter to the acting president of the Redskins, Edward Bennett Williams. Like most African American fans at the time, 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.
The history of why African Americans are so sensitive is not made up or unfounded, particularly in light of segregation, Jim Crow, and slavery. Can we assume the prevailing thought the problem is leadership, rather than a culture of teams sorted history? I say both. Let’s recap!!!
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. They dismissed Doug Williams 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. Former team player Doc Walker once said and I agree, “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’s why I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan.
RG III is just the latest victim of what seems to continue. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…