Redskins Forever

So the CBS Thursday Night Football circus comes to town this week – Redskins vs. Giants.

And we’ll just have to see how many times, or even IF ol’ Phil Simms says the dreaded, evil, racist, hateful, hurtful, totally insensitive worst word in the world: REDSKINS.

He has said this summer that he basically “won’t” say it, a move that shirtsleeve liberals think somehow gets them in the door with like minded coastal elites with nothing better to worry or think about.

You see, Simms now suddenly finds the word objectionable, even though for better than 20 years as a player and commentator, he was spewing such “evil” freely, and without a second thought.

Oh, and of course, he won’t put his own career in any actual jeopardy over such newfound conscience. He won’t ask CBS to not assign him to this game, nor will he quit.

Of course not. Just a little shirtsleeve sensitivity, and can you leave me alone now?

Simms has been joined by other like minded weasels this fall, as I have noticed keenly how even the entire highlight desk at the NFL Network is avoiding the “R-word.”

Most comically, Deion Sanders – who once took $8.5 million of Dan Snyder’s Redskins booty, and underperformed drastically for such sum – actually did a vocal “check-swing” when he accidentally said “Redskins” and choked it off mid-word.

Okay, whatever. Right? If these highly paid idiots want to strut their PC peacock feathers, let ’em. At least that’s what I USED to think.

After stewing on it for a while, I became more pissed off and frankly amazed that the NFL is ALLOWING these broadcasters to insert their personal opinions on the issue.

This is not trivial.

What the broadcast media is doing, is essentially ostracizing one of the NFL’s teams – and more importantly their BRAND – as some kind of shameful outcast. A football leper, for whom it’s okay to spit on if you like.

Why the NFL hasn’t called their own talent at NFL Network onto the carpet for this is stunning. Because the league should say in no uncertain terms: “You are there to call the Cowboys the Cowboys, the Bengals the Bengals, and YES… the Redskins the Redskins. Period. You don’t get to pick and choose, based on the hot issue of the day. If you really can’t in good conscience do that, then here’s the door.”

I believe that the name will ultimately survive not just on merit (64 high schools, most on Indian reservations, proudly carrying the same “Redskins” moniker) but also because nobody really CARES about the issue – other than liberals needing another story to write on deadline.

But it doesn’t mean that the team’s BRAND isn’t taking damage. It is. I see it and hear walking around town. Hell, I even worried for a quick second that my daughter might actually get some shit from her teachers when she proudly declared she can’t wait to wear her new Washington Redskins t-shirt to school on the next “free dress day.”

All of the above came into even sharper focus, when I read this article about how carefully the NFL guards, promotes, and sharpens their 32 individual brands.

And it’s done… by a woman! (cue Bowden: “jus’ lank a woman…”)

For the past 12 years, Jaime Weston, vice president of Brand & Creative, has spearheaded team-design overhauls, campaign rollouts, and product launches for the NFL. Now, Weston and her team are gearing up for the 2014 season, kicking off Sept. 4, with their priorities fixed on NFL Now, a digital content platform that gives fans access to personalized clips, news coverage, and archive video. Weston’s team is also behind the “Together We Make Football” campaign, a contest asking fans to submit their stories of why they love football for a chance to win a trip to Super Bowl XLIX, and the NFL International Series, three regular-season games played at Wembley Stadium in London. It’s a grab bag of responsibilities, each as crucial to the NFL’s brand as the next, but Weston isn’t really sweating it. “I’m always really good at wearing many hats,” she says.

Her most important role at the NFL to date, however, may be as one of the architects of a singular brand that each of the 32 teams–as different from each other as the cities they’re based in–could rally around. Her creative inspiration for the outcome? The league’s most valuable players, of course: the fans.

So what is the brand we want to convey? We did a lot of work with our fans to understand our brand essence, which comes down to three words: intense, meaningful, and unifying.

At the end of the day, what we deliver is a game that’s intense: The fact that your team only plays one day a week–every second matters, every down matters. Meaningful: It really is much more than a game to us. We really permeate well beyond the Xs and Os on the field. And unifying: We’re like that last great American campfire, in that people come together and share stories. So that’s how we look to manage the brand: It’s about the storytelling behind it, the meaningfulness, and pulling people together.

The relentless hammering of the Redskins name issue by the professional left, has been anything but “unifying” that’s for sure. Worse, yet, is that their stance essentially paints every respectful Redskins fan as some shitheel racist, with whom there’s no point in even having a conversation about the nickname or logo.

Two of the biggest issues that nobody on the “Change the Name” side want to talk about, revolve around the logo and the team history. Are the name changers “okay” with the logo, designed by a Native American? What about a spear with a feather? And what about every highlight, photograph, banner, poster, magazine that bears this horrible, awful, tear-rendering “slur” that us fans have collected through the years?

Must the banishment of the name and brand go back through the years, retroactively, in all areas?

Oh, I know what that crowd WOULD say, if the  team ever makes the fatal mistake of caving in to their demands. They would surely say you can’t show highlights or ever reference what the team was once called. And they’ll likely move to impose social penalties on people who wear their old shirts, hats, helmets and jerseys in public spaces.

Yeah, that means schools and sporting events, and everywhere else they can impose their iron fist of sensitivity.

If you think I am exaggerating, then you simply don’t know how these people think.

So I wonder what Jaime Weston thinks about all of this? I wonder if she understands – her words – “the meaningfulness” of being a Redskins fan? I wonder if she would fight vigorously to accept that the league must – her words again – “make sure you’re rooting your design in fan truths”

I wonder too, if the NFL truly realizes the danger in showing any weakness to the opponents of the name and brand “Redskins.” Because this is not the end of the war for them, it’s just the beginning.

Stop them now, or regret it forever.

About the Author

Steve Czaban is a 25 year sports radio veteran, who hosts an afternoon drive show in Washington D.C. He also appears on "Bob and Brian" in Milwaukee. "Czabe" also writes and edits his own commentaries for www.czabe.com and other on-line and print publications. He can be reached at czabe@yahoo.com.

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5 Comments

  1. Bravo Czabe! There is no one in the sports media today who thinks as clearly as you do on this. (Or at the very least, among others in the sports media who also think clearly, you are the least afraid to speak the truth.)

    As long as those on the militant left are showing their “PC peacock feathers” (great term by the way) at every opportunity, I hope you keep fighting back.

  2. Czabe,

    I’m about a liberal as it gets, and this whole name ‘controversy’ has me embarrased to be a liberal. This whole campaign is bullying, plain and simple. From the outright falsehoods put forth in that PSA during the NBA Finals the news organizations throwing away basic journalistic integrity by showing its ok to not report accurately if doing so conflicts with your personal opinion, it has been a headache.

    But, the biggest thing I have noticed that shows what a joke this whole ‘issue’ is comes from how these holier-than-thou sports personalities complain about being tired of dealing with the Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy stories, but they have no trouble constantly bringing the Redskins name issue back up. It proves how far the name changers will go to exploit a meaningless issue to make themselves feel important, but won’t tackle real, important subjects like domestic violence and child abuse. It’s too complicated for them. It’s so much easier for them to point their fingers at a Redskins fan and say “you’re a racist”….

    I don’t see eye to eye with you on a lot of things Czabe, but please keep banging the drum on this one (Cooley, too)

  3. Well said, Czabe.

    Just got to say that sports used to be an escape for me from drama of everyday life. Depressed about the economy, politics, world crisis, etc. turn on a ball game, maybe listen to some sports talk radio. But now things I once loved like the NFL have been totally infected with the politics of the day. Can I watch a damn game without hearing Bob Costas’ veiws on gun control? Can I watch football in October without a pinkout? Can I root for the Redskins (as I have my whole 36 years of my life) without being reminded that liberals hate the name? And at this point, football doesn’t even closely resemble the game I grew up loving. Does anyone understand the rules anymore? What’s a catch? What’s defenseless player? What’s the head and neck “area”?

    I don’t know, Czabe. They change my teams name and I might be done. Sometimes I wonder why still care. “This league” is a sinking ship. It’s already hit the iceberg…they just don’t know it yet.

  4. Deion’s partial “Redsk….” gaffe reminded me of that scene in Blazing Saddles when The GOV (Mel Brooks) started to say “The sheriff is a Ni …..” but stopping mid-word when he realized he was talking to the sheriff. You can bet Deion is still calling our team the Redskins when he’s not on air.

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