When it comes to the Redskins, we’ve had our schadenfreude say here over the years. Of late, we’ve avoided comment. A totaling car crash is a totaling car crash. Our position remains: a once flagship franchise, one that no small number of OFBers was belovedly attached to in youth, has been single-handedly ruined — desecrated, really — by an ego-maniacal, incompetent, bastard-belligerent owner. Angelos II. The fish rots at the head.
There seemed no sense in piling on any more. But Monday’s Night’s Massacre has occasioned what strikes us as an unprecedented and uniquely personal volume and level of media pillorying for Dan Snyder, and perhaps at long last provided the basis for questioning the Skins’ seemingly eternal place at the top of the local sports pecking order. Really, will local pro football fans trudge out to that godforsaken mausoleum in PG County like sheep, bilked out of hundreds of dollars on every visit, forever? This week, it would seem not: a cornerstone of the high-pitched reaction to the debacle that is the Redskins is media acknowledgment that (1) the team has been lying about selling out football games here and (2) many, many Redskins’ ticket holders have no stomach for the experience, and in rote fashion sell their seats, resulting in the conspicuously unfriendly atmosphere that is the invasion of the enemy fan. And there’s no remedy in sight.
Our pucksandbooks has taken the position here that there is no divine right to top-of-the-heap stature for the Skins or any other team; which is to say, the Skins weren’t always the no. 1 game in town, and they can, under the right circumstances, fall back again. Admittedly, it’s difficult to fathom, but then again, who might have imagined a non-dynastic football coming in here and hanging 60 on our team before a national television audience? In the rain. Moreover, what if a given market has, as alternative to Attila the Hun — the litigator against grandmothers — as owner, one like Mr. Leonsis? That contrasting dynamic is just beginning to forge, as Leonsis’ Monumental Sports empire is in its infancy. The argument here, then, isn’t that hockey will trump football in popularity in these parts so much as it is that hockey could offer an oasis of fun and competent management and civic pride that ushers in a healthy reorientation — most especially by local sports media. Washington, at least in the manifestation of nostalgia, will always have a revering spot in its sporting heart for the Skins (as it should). But thanks uniquely and ironically to Dan Snyder, Washington may at last become a relatively balanced sports town, with local media belatedly acknowledging the right way of doing things.
This sickening and sorry state of affairs truly is nothing for local hockey fans to celebrate — not if you consider yourself a Washingtonian first and a sports fan second. We at OFB desperately want our home to be a great sports town, and believe it can and should be. It just can’t so long as Dan Snyder owns the Skins and local media en masse gives him a pass on his harrowing path of destruction.
It is against this backdrop that we’d have you stop whatever you’re doing and, assuming you haven’t already heard it, listen to the righteous rant of 106.7 the Fan’s Chad Dukes from yesterday afternoon. And if you’ve heard it once, listen to it again. Most in Washington’s sports media still need to grow a pair when it comes to covering the Skins, but not Dukes. We are especially drawn to his principled criticism because it resembles our own: local boy, devoted Skins’ fan, beaten down by the Danny. Don’t focus on the tone and shriek to the screed; instead, absorb the substantive content of Dukes’ diatribe, almost all of which is directed at Dan Snyder:
- ‘You capitalize, every single year, off the sweat and the blood of the people that built this franchise.’
- Speaking of devoted Redskins fans, Chad chimes in ‘We are not whores, and you are not pimps.’
- Again at Snyder: ‘You don’t know what you’re doing . . . you bilk us out of our money . . . You sign every old-ass player . . . You kill me . . . You make me sick . . . charging 30 bucks [sic; it's actually $35] to park a mile away.’
- ‘Get the hell away from my football team.’
- ‘I want Redskins’ reparations.’