Mind Over Sports

OFF-FIELD LITIGATION AND NEGATIVE PUBLICITY CONCERNING THE “REDSKIN” NAME: ARE THEY AFFECTING TEAM PERFORMANCE?

Posted on: November 27, 2013

I believe they are.  But Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, doesn’t seem to get it. Even pro golfer Notah Begay III, who is a Navajo, said on ESPN’s Outside The Line: “If you ask me, it is offensive. And I think it’s just a very clear example of institutionalized degradation of an ethnic minority.” Snyder seems to have forgotten that many of his players are members of an “ethnic minority” and have probably sided with America’s Native American population who believe the name “redskin” is a racial slur. Let’s hope that at the end of the NFL season Snyder doesn’t point the finger of blame at Coach Mike Shanahan and his great quarterback Robert Griffin III, when he should be pointing at himself.

The NFL, and specifically the Washington Redskins, have a history of situations where team owners interfered with team performance. Before he passed away,
NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Sammy Baugh said that he suspected that the 1940 NFL championship game – a 73-0 route by the Chicago Bears – was not what it seemed. Baugh believed some of his Washington Redskin teammates tried to lose as a way to spite the Redskin’s owner. Baugh, when he turned 85, said that his teammates were furious with Redskins owner George Preston Marshall and allowed the Bears to run up the score. Baugh acknowledged he had no proof and said he never came forward because he was never asked. Baugh said some of his teammates were upset with Marshall because he had taunted the Bears after Washington defeated Chicago 7-3 two weeks before the title game. “I think it happened because of what the owner did for two weeks,” Baugh said. “He put things in the paper running the Bears down. You don’t want to help the other team. You shouldn’t say things like that. It made us so mad. They decided not to play. Look at the game. How many times do you beat a team two weeks earlier in a real close game, and two weeks later you don’t do a thing? I don’t think we even wanted to win.”

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