This is one of the few times I’ve delved into the sports arena via this blog, but as you know I might share a Thought Provoking Perspective on any topic, particularly if it relates to an African American issue. I must admit, I normally reserve my comments for those subjects that are more meaningful to life’s empowerment. Nonetheless, as I watched this year’s Washington Redskins I had a flashback with respect to the organization history of mistreating African American players.
I am going to talk about Mr. RG III, who like Jason Campbell and Doug Williams, follow a long list of players abused by this group. I realized as sure as something’s change they remain the same. Many Washingtonians, as well as fan in many other places, are endeared to the Redskins football team, which is their personal choice. Unfortunately, I am not of them, and not just because of the team’s name, which in my view it is akin to calling African Americans the “N-Word”. Surely that must be the view of Native American’s, if not, it is disrespectful at best.
Back to RG III, seeing what appeared to be humiliation on his face caused the hair on the back of my neck to rise, because of the teams sorted past and the teams long history that support this position. The NFL’s color barrier was broken in 1946; it inexplicably took George Preston Marshall, the team’s owner, 16 more years amid legal threats and community pressure to bring Bobby Mitchell, their first black player, to the Redskins. Former quarterback Eddie LeBaron, who knew Marshall, said he never believed he was a racist. However, they were the last team in the NFL to sign a black player and were forced to do so.
In more recent memory, do you remember Quarterback Doug Williams? He was sent packing a season after he made history winning the Super Bowl. Now, let’s look at what happened to Jason Campbell when no one in management stuck up for him while he’s getting killed behind his offensive line and also sent packing. I won’t even mention Big Albert or any of the career ending situations involving the running backs over the years. Oh, let’s not forget about Donovan McNabb?
What they did to this already injured play, meaning III, by putting him in as a starter for this playoff game when the doctor has claimed he did not clear him to play was tantamount to treason if this was a war. I have no skin in the game I will admit; unless you consider the fact that I am a Cowboys fan, and yes I know they have not been much for a decade. But it is not about the rivalry, rather the mistreatment of or, I dare say, destroying the careers of quality African American players.
I’ll say Wrong-way (coach) erred in his judgment as it appears and repeatedly. I have to raise the question; is there an elephant in the room – RACE? Surely this is noticed and reverberates in the minds of those who know and remember the history of this organization, which is significantly rooted in questionable decisions concerning black players. Looking back at this history, what happens is you start to wonder.
In 1965, his father, James Blackstone Sr., wrote a letter to the acting president of the Redskins, Edward Bennett Williams. Like most African American fans at the time, Blackstone was offended by the Confederate flags in the stands and the band’s playing of “Dixie” during games. Less than a month later, Williams wrote back to Blackstone, saying he agreed. After 1965, the Redskins band did not play “Dixie” at another game.
They were the last team to integrate with Bobby Mitchell. Then Bobby was never given a shot to be the general manager. You throw in Doug Williams dismissed after he was the Super Bowl MVP, Art Monk and Brian Mitchell unceremoniously going to Philadelphia, and the list goes on.
There always seems to be an undertone, at the very least disrespect, with this organization that is not easily dismissed. Now, the beat the Cowboys twice and won the NFC East – great! Let’s look at it this way; they played a Dallas team that is not very good nor was any other team in the East!
The issues I raise is the very reason why there are so many Cowboy fans in Washington, because many black fans refused to support a team that would not employ an African American player for so many years. So they became fans of the team’s arch rival. They have kids and they became Cowboy fans – and so on and so on – and most of them have never even been to Dallas. I agree totally because that is why I am a Dallas Cowboys fan.
A prominent syndicated radio host Tom Joyner of the popular Morning Show thinks Washington Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan is a modern day slave owner. During Joyner’s broadcast on Monday morning, Joyner expressed displeasure at Shanahan for keeping Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III in Sunday’s playoff game against the Seahawks even though the star player seemed hobbled by an injured knee. Joyner compared Shanahan to the Mississippi plantation owner Calvin Candie, who Leonardo DiCaprio plays in the movie Django Unchained, directed by Quentin Tarantino.
“He’s as bad as the mean white man in Django,” declared Joyner. Mr. Candie is a cold-hearted slave owner with a lust for Mandingo fighting, where slaves were forced to fight to the death like dogs or roosters used in animal fighting. “If you saw the movie, just like DiCaprio had the Mandingos fighting in the room. That’s what he did. That’s what he did to RGIII,” said Joyner.
I am not willing to go that far in this instance. However, I will say that today’s athletes are more like “Million Dollar Slaves”. Nonetheless, today III underwent surgery to repair the damage done to his LCL. God Speed III. Some say he will be out all next season. I’ll say this with certainty that he will never be the same! The history of why African Americans are so sensitive is not made up or unfounded, particularly in light of segregation, Jim Crow, and slavery.
The prevailing thought, in my mind, is leadership and this team seems to have issues with the complexion of the leader. Or dare I say chattel!!! And that’s my Thought Provoking Perspective…