Tag Archives: Washington Redskins

Closely Guarded Secret Revealed as Cleveland MLB Team Gets New Name

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) there are Guardians of the Galaxy battling aliens near and far.

In Low Earth Orbit (LEO) the Guardians of Space Force protect the interests of America from wayward actors.

Starting in 2022, the city of Cleveland will have Guardians of their own patrolling the diamonds of Major League Baseball.

Say hello to the Cleveland Guardians, and goodbye to the Cleveland Indians.

Move over Groot, the Cleveland Guardians are here. I suppose if a movie can have a talking tree that only says one-word, Major League Baseball can have a team with an uninspired nickname based in part on that movie.
Photo R. Anderson

In making the announcement of the new name team, owner and chairman Paul Dolan noted in a prepared statement that, “We are excited to usher in the next era of the deep history of baseball in Cleveland. Cleveland has and always will be the most important part of our identity. Therefore, we wanted a name that strongly represents the pride, resiliency and loyalty of Clevelanders.”

Apparently a lot of people are believers in the resiliency and pride brought about by the word guardians.

In December 2020 former United States vice-president Mike Pence, took great pride at the direction of the former president in announcing that members of the United States Space Force would forever be known as Guardians.

With the Coast Guard being called “Coasties” despite actually having the word guard in their name, it makes sense that space forceers would be called Guardians? Asking for a friend.

Either way, the brain trust in Cleveland said, “hold my Pierogi,” and named an entire baseball team after either space soldiers, or Marvel characters. Creating not the most original idea under the sun in the process.

Somewhere I think old Harry Doyle of Major League fame would call the new name, “Just a bit outside.”

In December 2020 former United States vice-president Mike Pence, took great pride at the direction of the former president in announcing that members of the United States Space Force would forever be known as Guardians. With the Coast Guard being called “Coasties” despite actually having the word guard in their name, it makes sense that space forceers would be called Guardians? Asking for a friend. Either way, the brain trust in Cleveland said, “hold my Pierogi,” and named an entire baseball team after either space soldiers, or Marvel characters. Either way, not the most original idea under the sun.
Photo R. Anderson

The timing of the announcement on the day that the world was distracted by the opening ceremonies of the Pandemic games, I mean Summer Olympic games, also seems a bit like trying to bury the lead when the world of sport was looking the other direction.

While I am certainly not trying to tell the fine people of Cleveland what to call their baseball team, their selection seems rather flat and uninspired based on the aforementioned list of way more famous Guardians.

Cleveland had used Indians as their nickname since 1915. In 2020 the team announced that a new name was coming in response to growing complaints from Native American groups and others who felt that the name and iconography was disrespectful.

Ahead of undergoing a name change, Cleveland stopped wearing the Chief Wahoo logo on their jerseys and caps in 2019 as phase one of their rebranding effort.

While the Indians will be retired at the end of the 2021 MLB season, diehard Clevelanders and Chief Wahoo fans can take solace in the fact that the Indians will forever live on the silver screen thanks to their inclusion in the movies of the Major League franchise.

In the none theatrical world, I can support and respect the need for Cleveland to adjust their branding to be less controversial, however, their ultimate choice of new nickname seems a little lazy.

It is almost like they looked at the word Indians and thought, “you know if we drop the letters “in” we just need to find some new letters and we can keep the “dians” that our fans have grown to love over the years.

I am guessing the keep the “dians” approach for a new nickname included evaluating such words as Comedians, Meridians, Arcadians, Euclidians, Custodians, and Medians.

With all of the attention being paid to the sabermetrics and mathematical elements of baseball these days, Cleveland truly missed an opportunity by not naming the team the Euclidians after Ancient Greek mathematician, Euclid, the inventor of axiomatic geometry.

After all, if launch angle is not a product of geometric principles I don’t know what is.

A quick internet search of “Cleveland Guardians” reveals that a men’s roller hockey team already used that name proving that the search for a new name may have been even lazier then first thought. There are even similarities between the roller hockey logo and the logo for the MLB squad.

As weak as the new nickname seems, at least one can take solace in the fact that Cleveland did not follow the soccer/futbol route and call themselves the Cleveland City Baseball Club.

The move by Cleveland follows a move made by the team formerly known as the Washington Redskins to change with the times and remove offensive nicknames and logos. Washington is expected to announce their new name sometime in 2022.

Cleveland was not the only MLB team that used Native American symbolism as part of their brand but are the only one making a change. The Atlanta Braves announced last year that they had no intention of changing their team’s name, but would look into the possibility of doing away with the “Tomahawk Chop.”

With the Cleveland Indians giving way to becoming the Guardians, The Atlanta Braves are the last of the 30 MLB teams to reflect Native American themes in their branding. While pressure is likely to mount for the team to change their name, for now the Braves have stated they have no plans to change their name but may look into revising the “Tomahawk Chop” chant.
Photo R. Anderson

In the NFL, the Kansas City Chiefs are also facing increased pressure to change their name.

Additionally, Jeep has been asked by the Cherokee Nation to find another name for their bestselling SUV.

In a February 25, 2021 article in the New York Times, Chuck Hoskin Jr., principal chief of the Cherokee Nation, said, “The use of Cherokee names and imagery for peddling products doesn’t deepen the country’s understanding of what it means to be Cherokee, and I think it diminishes it somewhat.”

The response from the parent company of Jeep was noncommittal regarding whether a name change would be forthcoming.

It is certainly a tricky issue for both sports franchises and corporations to navigate when it comes to protecting their long-term identity while also being mindful of the fact that acceptable societal norms have shifted.

While Chief Wahoo will no longer bang the drum slowly and play the pipe lowly in the outfield of Cleveland baseball games, fans wanting to hang on to those days of wahoo past can always watch the Major League franchise to get their kicks. As a bonus, the movies feature way more winning compared to watching the actual franchise.
Photo R. Anderson

As noted many times before, I grew up as a Washington Redskins fan and never thought that I was supporting a team named after a racial slur.

To me, they were just a football team with cool colors, a catchy post touchdown song and a neat logo. But for some, that name and logo, even though it was used by some Native American communities, was offensive to others.

To be fair, someone will always be offended no matter what something is called. But when the majority of people find something offense it is time to take a closer look at whether a change needs to be made.

Cleveland made their change and while they likely launched a thousand memes by naming themselves Guardians, at least they are moving forward with a new identity.

The Washington football faithful still have to wait another year to see what rebranding effort is coming straight outta Landover, MD.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have the sudden urge to listen to some of Harry Doyle’s greatest fictional calls.

Copyright 2021 R. Anderson

Washington Redskins Announce Name Change Without Announcing New Name

A week after celebrating their 88th birthday, the Washington Redskins are the ones giving out gifts by announcing that they ended their battle to maintain a nick name that a growing portion of society could no longer support.

While Native American groups had long called for the name of the franchise to be changed in order to remove what they considered a racial slur, ultimately it was the role of corporate partners threatening to withhold millions of dollars that moved the team kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who bought the team in 1999, famously told a reporter from USA Today back in 2013 that he would “NEVER” change the name of the team that he grew up rooting for, and became owner of. The full quote by Snyder being, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

A week after turning 88-years-old, the Washington Redskins announced that they were changing their name and logo.
Photo R. Anderson

A week after announcing the team would form a committee to look into changing the name, “Never” became, we are changing the name.

The ball started rolling when FedEx, which pays millions of dollars a year to put their name on the stadium the Redskins use, called for a new name for the team.

The all-out blitz continued when several companies took things a step further and stopped selling Redskins merchandise.  Amazon, Walmart, Target, Nike and Dick’s Sporting Goods, all removed Redskins merchandise from their websites last week. Nothing spurs change quite like a threat to the old wallet.

The new name was not announced during the press conference called to announce that the name would be changing. That is kind of like someone calling you to tell you that they sent you an email. Back in my Public Relations days, I would never have called a press conference just to give partial information. Oh, how times have changed.

To be fair to the Redskins, they did not announce the new name due to the need to secure trademarks for the new name before someone else tries to beat them to the trademark office. Back when there were rumblings about the team changing their name seven years ago, a Virginia man trademarked all of the potential names he could think of for the new team. Based on that ingenuity, they might as well call the team the Washington Capitalists.

Although a new name was not announced, the fact that a new name was coming was enough for Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez to release a statement stating that, “July 13, 2020 is now a historic day for all Indigenous peoples around the world as the NFL Washington-based team officially announced the retirement of the racist and disparaging “Redskins” team name and logo. This change did not come about willingly by the team’s owners, but by the mounting pressure and advocacy of Indigenous peoples such as Amanda Blackhorse, and many other warriors who fought long and hard for this change.”

The statement by President Nez went on to say that, “We strongly encourage the NFL Washington organization to rename their team in such a way that truly honors and respects the First Americans of this country. Renaming the team “Code Talkers” to honor the Navajo Code Talkers, and other tribal nations who used their sacred language to help win World War II, would set the team on a path to restoring its reputation and correcting the historical misrepresentation of Indigenous peoples.”

The same week that the Redskins announced they were changing their name, the Atlanta Braves announced that they had no intention of changing their team name, but would look into the possibility of doing away with the “Tomahawk Chop.”
Photo R. Anderson

The same week that the Redskins announced they were changing their name, the Atlanta Braves announced that they had no intention of changing their team name, but would look into the possibility of doing away with the “Tomahawk Chop.”

The Cleveland Indians and Kansas City Chiefs are also facing increased pressure to change their names.

As I have noted before, I have rooted for the Redskins for as long as I can remember. My mom roots for the Redskins. My aunts and uncles root for the Redskins. For us, rooting for the Redskins through times of feast and famine was just what we did.

I follow other teams, but the Redskins were the first team I ever rooted for, and are the ones that hold the biggest place in my heart. In fact, here in the Gigaplex, there are at least 18 Washington Redskins related items on display that I collected over the course of my fandom.

Honestly, I would be lying if I said that a piece of my heart wasn’t broken based on the pending name change. Don’t get me wrong, I know that changing the name is the right thing to do, but as a lifelong fan, I have a little more skin in the game. Although I knew for years that the band aid needed to get ripped off, it still hurts.

As part of the end of the Washington Redskins era, I will need to decide whether I can keep my pieces of Redskin memorabilia on display to remind me of all of the memories I had, or if they should be taken down and placed in a crate and stored in a vast warehouse like the Ark of the Covenant in Raiders of the Lost Ark, never to be seen again.

This door knob decoration has been on a door in all of my bedrooms since I was in elementary school. With the Washington Redskins changing their name to be more inline with the times, the door decoration’s days may be numbered.
Photo R. Anderson

There will be a lot of soul searching between now and whenever the NFL returns again. In a way it is good that the idea of the NFL having a 2020 season is likely a pipe dream based on the current COVID-19 climate and the total lack of social distancing that comes with playing football.

By not having a 2020 season, fans of the team with the new name in Washington D.C. can have a year to mourn the death of the Redskins, and try to decide whether or not they will be on board with whatever the team becomes.

To be clear, as long as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to turn America into the laughing stock of the world as it runs free through the country like a tourist with a FastPass at Walt Disney World, any thoughts of kicking off a 2020 NFL season in September belong in Fantasyland.

Seriously, how is the government still not providing a national strategy for combating a virus that has killed over 135,000 Americans?

America is the richest country in the world, and I used to think it was one of the smartest countries in the world when it came to uniting people together towards a common goal. The fact that we have people trying to discredit science, and refusing to do simple things to save lives like wearing masks  is unfathomable.

If the Washington Redskins can begrudgingly see the light and change their name after years of resisting, people can wear a mask and social distance in order to contain COVID-19.

No house party with friends, or other social event, is worth the potential cost of lives. And yes, people of all ages can catch this disease regardless of political party affiliation.

We don’t have years to get this right, and the COVID-19 virus is not a hoax, no matter how many tweets are sent out calling it that.

As the 20th Century poet Marshall Bruce Mathers, III, so eloquently said, “Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it, or just let it slip? Yo”

The Washington Redskins are seizing their opportunity to get on the right side of history. The rest of America needs to follow suit when it comes to battling COVID-19 so that life can return to normal.

If we don’t get this right, COVID-19 will continue hanging over all of us like the sword of Damocles.  Based on the current state of the country, the Washington Damocles would be a very appropriate name for the Redskins to adopt.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a sudden urge to listen to  Eminem while reading some ancient Greek fables.

Copyright 2020 R. Anderson

 

Redskins and Indians Facing Renewed Calls to Change Their Team Names

As the summer of COVID-19 and social change rolls on with no end in sight, there are renewed calls for professional sports teams to take a hard look at nicknames that are deemed offensive to Native American populations.

Team names like Braves, Chiefs, Indians and Redskins have long been considered offensive to some Native Americans. The origin of the team names in many cases were first set up in the early parts of the 20th Century as part of imperialist nostalgia, and the myth of the vanishing race. In both instances, the belief being that the best way to honor the nostalgia of the vanquished was by using names and imagery to remind people of them.

Of course, the problem with hanging one’s nickname hat on imperialist nostalgia, and the myth of the vanishing race, when it comes to Native American terms, is that the Native American populations are very much still among us. They remain despite efforts throughout American history to wipe them out, or relegate them to out of sight, and out of mind reservations. So, the use of a population as a mascot becomes problematic when one tries to adhere to the “all men (and women) are created equal” wording of the founding fathers.

After years of trying to get the courts to force the Washington Redskins to change their nickname, it appears that the court of public opinion will give Native American groups the victory they have long sought as the team faces growing financial pressure to change their name .
Photo R. Anderson

The efforts to remove Native American nicknames and imagery from professional sports pop up about every five years or so.

Each time the issue arises, it results in the teams providing survey results that show that the majority of people like the names just the way they are. The courts tend to side with the teams over the lawsuits brought by Native American plaintiffs, and life as the teams know it goes on.

In fact, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder famously told a reporter from USA Today back in 2013 that he would “NEVER” change the name of the team that he grew up rooting for, and became owner of. The full quote by Snyder being, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”

While Snyder remained steadfast, the Cleveland Indians on the other hand, made some strides by removing the “Chief Wahoo” logo from their uniforms in 2019. The Chief Wahoo logo had long been considered a racial stereotype by many Native American groups.

While the removal of Chief Wahoo was considered a positive, albeit long overdue step, fast forward to 2020, and the Redskins and Indians have agreed to take a look at going a step further and changing their nicknames.

So why the change of heart? The company that pays millions of dollars a year for the naming right on the stadium where the Redskins play, FedEx, sent a letter telling the team that they needed to change the name and viola a committee was formed. Several people who own minority stakes in the Redskins have also said that they want to sell their shares in the team in what could be considered “a distancing themselves from an unpopular situation” scenario.

While one always wants to think that corporate decisions to right societal wrongs are driven by wanting to get on the right side of history, the sad truth is that in many cases the only way to drive change is to threaten the bank accounts of team owners.

The Chief Wahoo logo used by the Cleveland Indians has long been considered a racial stereotype by many Native American groups. The team removed the logo from their uniforms in 2019.
Photo R. Anderson

In Washington’s case, the threat of losing millions of dollars a year in revenue turned the owner’s “we will NEVER change the name, end of story period,” to “we are looking into it and have formed a committee to explore potential name changes.”

The District of Columbia has also said that they will not consider allowing the Redskins to move their operations from Virginia to D.C without changing their name.

Now before we go any further, and in the spirit of full disclosure, it should be noted that I was born in the same city as Dan Snyder, and I grew up as a Washington Redskins fan. I have bled burgundy and gold for as long as I can remember. I have cheered for the Redskins during seasons of feast, as well as seasons of famine.

In fact, I once led an entire elementary school in the singing of “Hail to the Redskins” using a homemade megaphone during a pre-Super Bowl rally in the school auditorium.

To take my fandom even further, I even still use the same Redskins key chain that was given to me by my seventh grade science teacher, Mr. Hall.

Back in 2013, I pointed out that there were Native American schools who used Redskins as their team nickname. I also noted that for all of the people who find the team name offensive, there are just as many, if not more who find the team name a part of childhood memories and do not see any racial overtones associated with it. Therefore, any change in team name needs to both honor the storied history of the franchise on the field, as well as ensuring that it offends as few people as possible.

I grew up as a Washington Redskins fan. I have bled burgundy and gold for as long as I can remember. The pending name change of the team is definitely bittersweet.
Photo R. Anderson

Seven years later, there is still no perfect solution that will make everybody happy. But, unlike in the past, it appears more likely that the first football team that I followed is headed for a Prince style name change along with the Cleveland Indians.

Of course, Washington D.C. is no stranger to having people call for names of their franchises to be changed.  When I lived in Maryland, I followed the Washington Bullets. Shortly after moving to Florida people were up in arms about such a violent name for a franchise so the Washington Bullets became the Washington Wizards.

I say this not to try to compare the use of the term “bullets” with terms that are considered racial slurs by certain populations. Instead, I state it to point out that there are examples of teams changing their names and the world didn’t stop spinning.

The recent social justice movement is exposing deep scars and tears in the fabric of the nation. There were many incidents of injustice from the time that settlers from Europe first came to the New World. We are not going to fix those issues overnight, and we cannot completely erase the past by renaming everything and removing statues of things we find offensive.

Tearing down statues of Christopher Columbus, and dumping them into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, does not solve anything long term. It only serves to enrage a base that sees such actions as vandalism instead of activism.

It is common in many countries during a regime change that all statues and symbols of the past leadership are torn down. That can be a short-sighted approach to things and does not really solve the core issues.

Other countries have moved statues and monuments of their past into closed areas where the proper perspective of the history of the events can be explained from both sides. These monument gardens preserve the past, while also giving new insight into why things have changed.

The past, both good and bad, is what brought us to this very moment and made the country what it is, warts and all. In our efforts to right the ship we need to ensure that we do not over correct to the point that in another 50-years the ship has to be turned back in another direction through a modified form of imperialist nostalgia.

While we do not need to hold things in the high regard that they may have once been held, we need to ensure that history is remembered so that it can be learned from, in order that the more shameful parts of history are not repeated.

Historical course changing moments do not come around every day. So, it is up to people on all sides of the issue to ensure that we get this right whether that be renaming sports teams, or ensuring that people are free to walk down the street without having to look over their shoulder, or think they will be harassed because of the way they look or talk.

As a society we also need to ensure that the Native American populations receive the same access to quality health care as the rest of society. This is especially true during the global COVID-19 pandemic where Native American populations have been hit especially hard.

The Washington Redskins turn 88-years-old this week. By the time they turn 89-years-old, it is highly likely that they will go by a different name.

Part of me can see that it is time for a change. The rest of me will mourn the loss of childhood memories now tainted by the understanding that a simple team nickname I wore proudly and cheered even louder for, is now considered by some to be a symbol of hate to be removed from the public space in the name of racial equality.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I am suddenly reminded of a Robert Frost poem.

Copyright 2020 R. Anderson

 

Rough Year in the Football Stable

As I have mentioned before I group the football and baseball teams that I follow into “stables.”

This stabling of teams usually allows for the weaker teams to be carried by the stronger teams and almost always ensures that I have at least one team to follow deep into the playoffs.

Of course that is what usually happens but this year a funny thing happened in the stable as many of the teams that are usually carrying the banner never really got out of the gate and others seem to be limping into the final stretch of the regular season.

As a reminder the teams in my football stable are the Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos.

It should be noted that the Baltimore Colts were in the stable until that March night 30 years ago when the team’s owner moved them to Indianapolis in the dead of the night.

While it is easy to understand my fandom for most of the NFL teams that I follow based on having lived in the areas near the teams at one point in my life (Washington Redskins, Baltimore Ravens, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Jacksonville Jaguars) it is a mystery as to why I first started following the Broncos since I have never lived in Colorado and was a Broncos fan long before I ever stepped foot in the state.

Among my five team football stable only the Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos have any hopes of reaching the playoffs this year. Photo R. Anderson
Among my five team football stable only the Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos have any hopes of reaching the playoffs this year.
Photo R. Anderson

Speaking of stepping foot in Colorado, if one ever has the chance to travel to the Four Corners region it is worth the drive for the opportunity to step foot in four states at the same time.

So while the origin of my fandom of the Broncos remains a mystery best solved by the likes of Mulder and Scully, it is those very Broncos who are carrying the stable this season.

The Broncos started out of the gate strong and despite a few missteps that showed they are mortal they stand at 11-3 with a playoff spot locked up.

The Ravens are the next team in the stable who still have postseason play within their sights. A win tonight over the Detroit Lions would give the Ravens an 8-6 record and allow them to capture the division title if they win the rest of their games.

Even without winning all of their remaining games though the defending Super Bowl Champions are still in line for a wild card spot which very well could have them facing the Broncos for a rematch of the first game of the season.

Playoffs, don't talk about playoffs. After going to the playoffs last season the Washington Redskins have fallen back to earth this year and have the record to prove it. Photo R. Anderson
Playoffs, don’t talk about playoffs. After going to the playoffs last season the Washington Redskins have fallen back to earth this year and have the record to prove it.
Photo R. Anderson

So while the Broncos and Ravens are in control of things, the same can definitely not be said for the Redskins, Buccaneers, and the Jaguars.

After going to the playoffs last year, the Redskins are a miserable 3-11 this year.

The Redskins have benched their starting quarterback who they gave up many draft picks to get last year and will likely be embarking on yet another head coach search at the completion of the season.

While a season this short on wins would normally mean a high draft pick it will be years before the Redskins have a first round pick again after giving up their picks for the right to pick early last year.

Off the field the Redskins are also once again battling for the right to keep their name as a rising storm of opposition organizes against them.

While there is no one area that can be pointed to as a cause for the collapse of the Skins it is certain that the season has failed to live up to the expectations of those in and around the Beltway.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have won four games after starting the year with an 0-8 mark. Photo R. Anderson
The Jacksonville Jaguars have won four games after starting the year with an 0-8 mark.
Photo R. Anderson

The Redskins will remain in the stable despite the poor season but here’s to hoping that next year brings better results.

Things are not much better in Florida where both the Jaguars and Buccaneers went through the first half of the season winless.

After each starting the season 0-8 the Jags and the Bucs have managed four victories apiece in the second half of the season including a two-game sweep by the Jags of the abysmal Houston Texans.

Much as I wish for a better season next year for the Redskins I will hope the same for the Jaguars and the Buccaneers. It appears that both Florida teams in the stable  are definitely headed in the right direction after such a slow start to the season.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won four games this season despite starting the year 0-8 and cutting ties with their starting quarterback. Photo R. Anderson
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won four games this season despite starting the year 0-8 and cutting ties with their starting quarterback.
Photo R. Anderson

As for this year there are still the Ravens and Broncos for me to cheer for. I am hoping that they each go deep into the playoffs, or at least as deep as they can go until they collide in a game where only one of them can move on to face the best the NFC has to offer which will likely be Seattle or New Orleans.

Ironically both the Seahawks and the Saints had stable membership at one point or another before I settled on a stable of five teams a few years back and they were left on the outside looking in.

Even though they are not official “stable” teams I still routinely cheer for the Seahawks and the Saints.

Who knows maybe it is time to invite them both back in from the cold and make some expansions to the stable.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some Monday Night Football to get ready for and some stable expansion blueprints to commission.

Copyright 2013 R. Anderson

Certain Fans Give Sports a Black Eye

Sunday afternoon the Houston Texans did something that they had done for the previous three weeks, they lost a game.

At 2-4 for the season it is highly unlikely that the Texans, who some had predicted as a Super Bowl team, will even make the playoffs this year.

Such is the nature of sports. You win some. You lose some. And until the game is played one does not know which side of the coin one will fall on.

Sure there are sports like soccer where the outcome can just as easily be a nil to nil draw, but by and large the stick and ball sports that most Americans follow end with a winner and a loser when all is said and done.

With this clear distinction of only two outcomes, it stands to reason that a team on any given day has an equal opportunity to either win or lose.

Of course there is a whole industry from fantasy sports to the betting houses in Las Vegas that try to guess the outcome ahead of time but they are not always successful since no one can predict with 100 percent accuracy what will happen once the players take the field.

This brings us back to the Texans who by most accounts are falling well short of expectations for the season.

By most accounts the Houston Texans are having a disappointing season. The reaction of some fans however is even more disappointing. Photo R. Anderson
By most accounts the Houston Texans are having a disappointing season. The reaction of some fans however is even more disappointing.
Photo R. Anderson

People are blaming coaches and players for the losing streak with some fans even calling for people to be fired or worse.

This came to a head during the game Sunday when the Texans quarterback left the game with a leg injury. Now, this same player had led the Texans to the postseason last year but he is off to a rough start this year and even set a NFL record with four consecutive games where he had a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown in a play known as a pick 6 which got its name from the fact that the interception, or pick, results in six points for the opposing team.

So when the Texans quarterback was down on the ground in pain there was a vocal group of fans in the stands that were cheering the injury since they felt that it would mean a new quarterback would enter the game and lead the team to victory.

Instead the new quarterback entered the game and threw, you guessed it, a pick 6.

So it seems that the Texans issues are not limited to a single player having an off year and point to more of an institutional off year which teams do tend to have from time to time.

Of course any sane person could see that since rarely does one player win or lose a team sport. It takes the entire team working on both offense and defense to secure a victory.

Still, there are those extreme fans who fixate on a single player as the cause of all of their issues. Normally this just involves yelling at the television but in some cases it can turn violent.

While there have not been any reports of Texans fans getting violent towards any players yet there have even been reports of fans driving by the quarterback’s house and confronting his family.

That is taking things too far. No one, regardless of their profession, should have to deal with people harassing their family members.

Remember it is just a game. The athletes are paid to entertain us and to give their all during the game. They do not owe us anything during their off time and cheering for someone to get injured harkens back to something out of the Roman Coliseum days.

We have moved beyond those days although I am not so sure that everyone in society made that trip and we do seem to be reverting back to a more barbaric society.

Of course there is time to stop that trend and return to a more civilized sporting environment. Watch the games, enjoying the effort but don’t take it too far to the point of cheering for someone to get hurt just because they threw some interceptions.

From 1982 to 1991 the Washington Redskins went to the Super Bowl four times, winning three times against the Miami Dolphins, Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills. The second of those four appearances resulted in a loss to the Oakland Raiders.

The Washington Redskins went through a period where winning the Super Bowl each year became expected. With the last title coming over 20 years ago it has become clear that winning is not guaranteed. Some fans of the Houston Texans are still trying to learn that after a couple of trips to the playoffs. Photo R. Anderson
The Washington Redskins went through a period where winning the Super Bowl each year became expected. With the last title coming over 20 years ago it has become clear that winning is not guaranteed. Some fans of the Houston Texans are still trying to learn that after a couple of trips to the playoffs.
Photo R. Anderson

So as a fan of the Redskins during that time, winning it all sort of was expected despite the fact that only one team can win it all each year. It is sort of the way that fans of the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees and New England Patriots expected to win it all every year during the dominant years each of those franchises had.

During the 1985 or 1986 season I was watching a Washington Redskins game with quarterback Jay Schroeder behind center.  Schroeder became the starting quarterback for the Redskins following a career ending leg injury to Joe Theismann. I mention this to point out that Theismann was a Hall of Famer and Schroeder was a backup at best who was thrust into the limelight due to an injury.

So during this particular game as younger me was watching from the couch and eating cheese and saltines Schroeder threw an interception. This upset me to the point that I clapped my hands together while shouting words to the effect of “Schroder you idiot.”

Of course yelling at the television did not accomplish anything other than causing me to break the ring I was wearing at the time from the force of my hands going together.

From that moment on I employed a strict no breakable jewelry during games policy but I also vowed to watch sports with a little less emotion.

Of course emotion is good when watching sports. I am definitely not saying to not cheer when one’s team does well. I am merely saying don’t jeer as much when they are doing poorly.

Yes, athletes are paid a lot of money to do what they do and very few people are as skilled at those sports. But those high paid athletes are also husbands, fathers, sons, daughters, wives, etc.

I have mentioned before how much I cringe when I attend a game and see a father teaching their son or daughter how to heckle an opposing player.  The next time you find yourself inclined to do that consider how you would feel if you were on the field and someone was saying that to you. Better still picture your son or daughter as a professional athlete and think about what it would be like to have them heckled.

I don’t buy the whole athletes have thick skin argument. They are flesh and blood just like the rest of us. The only difference is they can run and hit faster and further than the rest of us.

Time will tell what becomes of the Houston Texans this season and I certainly hope to avoid rabid fans as I go about my daily life but something tells me things will only get crazier. I just hope that they don’t turn violent.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a craving for some cheese and saltine crackers for some reason.

Copyright 2013 R. Anderson

 

While Rome Burns Fiddles are Tuned Up

For the most part I try to steer clear of discussing politics.

It is not that I do not follow the political system. Quite the opposite, I am rather informed and involved in the government process and try to stay on top of current events as much as possible.

I am also a big history buff and believe that one must learn from history in order to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.

The government is a lot like a puzzle. It takes a lot of pieces going together to work but it only takes a single piece to be missing to make the whole thing fall apart. Photo R. Anderson
The government is a lot like a puzzle. It takes a lot of pieces going together to work but it only takes a single piece to be missing to make the whole thing fall apart.
Photo R. Anderson

The reason for steering clear of political writing is simple. Were I to write about conservative topics that appeal to the right side, I am leaving out the left side. In the same manner if I write about liberal  ideals that cater to the left side of the spectrum then I am alienating the right.

And since Triple B is for people of all political factions I do not take sides.

Unfortunately recent events have made me feel the need to break the rules and write about some politics.

As I am sure most people are aware the United States government has been in a partial shutdown since October 1. The shutdown is the result of the failure of the Congress of the United States to approve a budget before the start of the fiscal year.

Now, I am not here to point fingers or place blame on either side since both sides share the blame equally. What I am hear to question is how a country like the United States can fail to pass a budget when one of the biggest jobs of Congress each year is to do just that.

Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center is one of the many government facilities being impacted by the partial government shutdown. Photo R. Anderson
Mission Control at the Johnson Space Center is one of the many government facilities being impacted by the partial government shutdown.
Photo R. Anderson

But for the first time since the Clinton administration the government is in a partial shutdown where only critical functions of the government such as the Military and the Postal Service are open while the rest of the federal assets including National Parks and NASA are idled.

While negotiations continue to stall and reflect a governing body that is firmly entrenched along party lines around 800,000 Americans who work for the federal government are home without pay.

Now, the lawmakers in Washington will be quick to point out that once a budget is passed the furloughed workers will receive all of the back pay that they are due.

Of course, no one knows when that will be and in the meantime bills continue to pile up for the federal workers.  The last government shutdown lasted a little under a month.

It should be noted that the leaders in Congress responsible for the shutdown continue to receive their salaries.

So in the midst of the finger pointing and back and forth discussions and blame gaming one would think that the President of the United States would be solely focused on finding a resolution to the stalemate that allowed those aforementioned 800,000 workers to return to their jobs and start earning money to pay those bills.

While I want to believe that Congress really is trying to find a solution that allows your furloughed friends, family members and neighbors to return to work, recent events have me a little concerned as to whether the President is focused on the true priorities during these tense political times.

I am of course talking about the President’s remarks about the Washington Redskins.

As I have written about before there is a small but vocal minority of people who have made it their mission to change the name of the Washington Redskins claiming that it is an offensive term to Native Americans.

The fottball team that plays in Washington D.C. has been called the Redskins for around 80 years. The President of the United States recently joined a small minority of voices calling for that to change. Photo R. Andrson
The football team that plays in Washington D.C. has been called the Redskins for around 80 years. The President of the United States recently joined a small minority of voices calling for that to change.
Photo R. Anderson

Only one percent of Native Americans surveyed find the term offensive. In fact, there are teams on Native American reservations that use the term Redskins for their mascot.

For their part the Washington Redskins have stated time and time again that they have no plans to change the name that the franchise has had for 80 years.

So by now you are asking yourself why I am bringing this up in the middle of a column about the partial government shutdown?

It is being brought up because in the middle of the partial government shutdown where those 800,000 federal workers are home with no income while Congress plays the classic finger pointing heels dug in the sand game, the President of the United States found time to weigh in on the issue of the Washington Redskins name.

That’s right, instead of focusing on the big picture and solving the debt crisis the President is quoted as saying words to the effect of the Redskins need to change their name.

Now, I am sure that the President is able to multitask and am confident that he is focused on trying to end the stalemate and not just focused on things like the names of NFL teams which fall well outside the job description of Commander in Chief.

After all, the President was elected to lead the country regardless of party affiliation. We are all Americans and with 800,000 of those Americans being held out of work as bargaining chips it is time for Congress to act in the best interest of the country and do the job they were elected to perform.

Despite the questionable timing of appearing to care more about a team’s name than fixing a budgetary impasse I want to believe that the President and other elected officials are trying to find a compromise and let the political process work and not hold on to flawed ideals that there is no room for compromise.

And while the Washington Redskins may be the home team that serves the Nation’s Capitol worrying about their name during a government shutdown is a little like playing the fiddle while Rome burns.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a model of the White House to assemble.

Copyright 2013 R. Anderson

Political Correctness Run Amok

For the past several years or so a group of Native Americans has been trying to get the name of a certain football franchise changed since they find it offensive.

Time after time their efforts have fallen short as the courts have sided with the franchise over the Native American plaintiffs.

Recently several high profile football writers have joined the campaign to have the Washington Redskins change the “offensive” name of their franchise after 80 years.

It should be noted that there is also a portion of tribes who do not find the team name offensive and see it as just a football team and not an example of trying to stick it to the Native Americans. In fact one recent poll showed that under 10 percent of Native Americans surveyed believed that the name was offensive.

I have owned this rally towel for around 30 of the nearly 80 years that the Redskins have played in Washington. Some people think the name should change while others feel it is a part of civic pride. Photo R. Anderson
I have owned this rally towel for around 30 of the nearly 80 years that the Redskins have played in Washington. Some people think the name should change while others feel it is a part of civic pride.
Photo R. Anderson

Now before we go any further, and in the spirit of full disclosure, it should be noted that I am an unapologetic Washington Redskins fan who has bled burgundy and gold for as long as I can remember. In fact, I once led an entire elementary school in the singing of “Hail to the Redskins” using a homemade megaphone during a pre Super Bowl rally in the school auditorium.

It should also be noted that to me, and others like me, the name Redskins symbolizes a rich tradition and heritage of football in the Nation’s capitol and in no way is related to anything else.

While I understand that the word is offensive to some Native Americans it could just as easily be said that to change the name would be deemed equally offensive to the loyal fans of the team.

This week the commissioner of the National Football League, Roger Goodell, stated that it would be up to the team owner of the Redskins to decide if the name would be changed.

And that owner, Daniel Synder, has repeatedly said that he would never ever change the name of the team since it has such a rich history.

And since the NFL Commissioner has said it is up to the owner to decide if the name of the franchise is changed I feel fairly confident that there is no name change in the Redskins future; a fact which should definitely put the fan base at ease.

While the recent movement of certain sportswriters to stop saying Redskins in their articles is certainly their right to do, it creates a sort of censorship of its own in terms of the job they were hired to do.

The fact remains that until a time comes when the name changes the Washington Redskins are the NFL team represents the District of Columbia and the surrounding area. As such, any article covering them should use the proper name and not some name that is deemed more appropriate in the opinion of the writer.

Whether the opinions of the few outweigh the opinion of the many is an area that will be looked at as some Native Americans and other groups try to pressure the Washington Redskins to change their name in the name of political correctness. Photo R. Anderson
Whether the opinions of the few outweigh the opinions of the many is an area that will be looked at as some Native Americans and other groups try to pressure the Washington Redskins to change their name in the name of political correctness.
Photo R. Anderson

Reporters are there to report the facts. They are not there to become part of the story by getting on their bandwagons and following whatever is popular at the time.

While official stories covering the Washington Redskins should use the full name and not some variation of “the NFL team that plays in that stadium named after that delivery company” I am willing to give reporters some leeway in their opinion articles.

So, if someone wants to refrain from using the word Redskins in their opinion articles that is perfectly fine but when it starts creeping into post-game news articles than it has gone too far and has become misplaced grandstanding.

And while I know that there were grave injustices done to the Native Americans many centuries ago the revisionist history and seeking to appease every group needs to stop.

A small minority finds the name offensive. Granted they are a vocal minority but poll after poll suggests that the bulk of Americans do not want the name to be changed.

So are we to change the name to appease a minority while then inciting a larger majority who grew up with the name?

There is no perfect solution that will make everybody happy in this example.

A few years back colleges that had Native American inspired names for their mascots were forced to either change their names or get permission from Native Americans to keep it.

This is how Florida State University was able to remain the Seminoles after the Seminole Indian Tribe agreed the name was not offensive and other schools were forced to change names.

Using the logic of the Washington Redskin detractors the Cleveland Indians should be forced to change their name to the Cleveland Native Americans since “Indians” is deemed an offensive term to some just as a small minority finds “Redskins” to be offensive.

We live in a democracy which guarantees people have the right to express their opinions but it does not guarantee that every opinion held by every group is accepted. This is a majority rules society and the fact remains that a majority of the population wants the Washington Redskins to remain the Washington Redskins.

Of course Washington D.C. is no stranger to having people call for names of their franchises to be changed in the name of political correctness.  When I lived in Maryland the NBA team I followed was the Washington Bullets. Shortly after moving to Florida people were up in arms about such a violent name for a franchise so the Washington Bullets became the Washington Wizards.

Having a team named the Bullets does not mean that an area is going to be any more violent than another. There are Bullet trains named because they go fast, not because they kill people.

Not every word is offensive to everyone and if you dig hard enough every word can be offensive to someone.

Rational people need to make rational decisions about these things and having a few reporters boycott the use of words that they find offensive is definitely not the answer to finding a rational solution.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I still have some Washington Redskins cookie cake to eat.  Hail to the Redskins!

Copyright 2013 R. Anderson