Mind Over Sports

Posts Tagged ‘Washington Redskins

In the coming NFL season, quarterback Kirk Cousins should have a fantastic season and the Washington Redskins should make it into the playoffs. I’m making this prediction based on what I’ve learned over the past thirty years: That is, when athletes are happy and their lives are in harmony, they’ll perform close to their skill levels on a consistent basis. Kirk Cousins and his wife Julie are expecting a new member of their family in September…just as the football season will be getting under way. Even their dog, Bentley, is happy about it. News of the new baby was posted by Julie on Instagram with a photo of Bentley, holding up a sign that read: “Mom & Dad are getting me a human.”

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.”

This is a no-brainer. If one single Native American believes the name “Redskins” is a racial slur, then who is Redskins owner Daniel Snyder not to agree. I would offer this one piece of advice to Mr. Snyder: If you can walk up to a Native American and call him a “Redskin” to his face, and not be embarrassed, then I would say there’s no need to change your name. But, Mr. Snyder, if you can’t, then make the change. I doubt there is one NFL fan in the entire Washington DC area who would not attend a game because of a name change.  Go Warriors!

I’m always on the lookout for talented athletes with high self-esteem because they are the ones who perform close to their skill levels on a consistent basis. And one of their characteristics (in addition to having excellent eye contact) is: they speak their minds. Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins is one of those athletes. Of course, it’s important that he have the skill level (which he does) but as we all know there are many athletes out there who have the talent but never reach peak performance because they are withholding (bottling-up) their feelings and emotions. Not so with Robert. If he stays healthy, and continues to say what’s on his mind, watch for him to have a fantastic NFL season.

I recently received a nice e-mail from Mike Thomas who works for RankPop that features “Greatest Moments in Chicago Sports History” and because of that e-mail I thought I would reprint a story I wrote some time ago about the Bears’ lopsided win over the Redskins. Here it is:

NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Sammy Baugh suspects the 1940 NFL championship game – a 73-0 route by the Chicago Bears – was not what it seemed. Baugh believes 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.”

There’s a good lesson to be learned from this story, assuming it’s true. And that is, when it comes to professional sports, team owners should remain quietly in the background and not provide opposing teams with bulletin board material. It could not only provide motivation for the opposing team but can also affect the performance of his (or her) own team.

There’s been quite a bit in the press lately about the law suit filed by a group of five American Indians to force Daniel Snyder, owner of the NFL Washington Redskins to change the team’s name because it’s a slur toward American Indians. If Amanda Blackhorse and her group win their case, they would essentially strip the federal trademark rights from the team so that anyone anywhere in the world could produce a product and put the Washington Redskins name on it and market it without having to share any portion of the profit with Snyder or his team. Which could become a considerable loss of revenue for Snyder. From my perspective, I believe if the name “Redskins” is an affront to American Indians it should be changed. After all, what’s wrong with “Washington Warriors?” Or “Washington Skins?”

When one of the NFL’s top wide receivers drops a pass in a single game it could be written off as just a mental error. But when he drops two, a little light goes off. And when he drops three, you figure there’s gotta be a reason. Some of the media pundits are saying that “his off-season celebrity has affected his performance” and there could be some truth to that. But more than likely there was something that took place in Cruz’s personal life the night before the game that affected his focus. Something he bottled-up and didn’t tell anyone about. Perhaps it had something to do with his infant daughter Kennedy or his long-time girlfriend, Elaina Watley.  Whatever the reason, it’s another example of how what takes place away from the football field affects what takes place on the football field. If in Cruz’s next game against Tampa Bay he reverts back to his old reliable self, we’ll know that he resolved whatever mental issue or issues he had that may have been hovering above him like a dark cloud.


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