Let’s take a second to be honest with ourselves. Did we really expect anything else from the Redskins?
Now, when I say ‘honest,’ I mean a ‘look in the mirror having deep thoughts’ type of honest. As much as we hoped this was finally the change we’ve been looking for, deep down, that little voice was always telling you a return to dysfunction was the only safe bet.
The Scot McCloughan firing is just the latest in a long line of ego and insecurity driven decisions from the top of an organization that’s been holding its fan base hostage since Dan Snyder bought the team back in May 1999.
This has nothing to do with who drank what and how often, but rather who decided they wanted more credit, and needed a bigger pat on the back.
I wanted it to change. I tried to believe this McCloughan era was finally a sign of Skins brass having its own ‘look in the mirror moment.’ But, in the end, what we have to accept as fans is that when you combine money and power with insecurity and ego, judgment gets clouded, and irrational, emotional decisions become the default reaction.
Every workplace culture and attitude starts at the top, and this will never change in Ashburn. The sample size is big enough now. When leaders surround themselves with ‘yes men,’ they want high fives, not feedback.
I know that’s an incredibly pessimistic way to see it, but it’s also realistic. People in a position of power, that have regular bouts with insecurity, will always let that emotion get the best of them. Plus, when they’re making money hand over fist, all that does is justify the behavior in their delusional, out-of-touch mind.
The Redskins were purchased for $800 million back in 1999. They’re now worth $2.85 BILLION — eighth overall in the world, third highest in NFL.
You know who helped build that profit? You and I did. Every fan did. From that Albert Haynesworth jersey you bought, or the season tickets you worked your ass off to save up for, to the cheap, watered down beer you spent way too much on at Fed Ex Field.
We’re all guilty, myself included.
The problem is, the Redskins have shown they’re just not worth caring about this much, because they don’t give a damn about us. It’s a one-sided relationship. Redskins fans are ATMs to the team.
Protests sadly won’t do anything, because everyone at the top of the organization is already too good at insulating themselves from the real world while they count their stacks of money like they’re in a Scarface remake. The NFL is a business, first and foremost, and if the cash keeps rolling in, even with a lack of wins, business is still booming, and they’re at least winning off the field.
At this point, it’s safer to just keep them in the friend zone. Just like a relationship, don’t get too close — they won’t change, and they’ll eventually find a way to break your heart as a fan.
Ironically, this is also one of the most forgiving fan bases in sports. Had this team continued to stay out of the negative news cycle, and continued to trend in the direction they were going, we’d forgive everyone at Redskins Park. They were sooo close. It would’ve shown actual self-awareness and a real effort for growth and maybe even some maturity. But of course, they just can’t help themselves.
We just want respectability as Redskins fans, that’s it. We just want our Ravens-fan friends, and Steelers-fan friends, and Cowboys-fan friends to not have easy ammo when we’re sitting around talking football on Sundays. We just want to feel some sort of return for all the years of loyalty.
The only way to make a point as a fan in a hostage situation, though, is to shrink the wallet of the hostage-taker. If we really want change, stop showing up. Stop buying into the fake PR ‘everything is good’ narrative. Stop giving your hard-earned money to a product that doesn’t give you the return you deserve. Would you keep going back to the same vacation house at the beach every year if you had a terrible experience? Or the same restaurant if they had rats running around?
No, you wouldn’t, and the same applies here.
I come from the generation that hasn’t seen any real success from this franchise. I’m a Redskins fan because of my dad. It’s part of my family, it’s tradition, and likely is part of yours, too.
But this era isn’t part of the real Redskins tradition, a tradition too many people have never experienced and others are starting to forget ever existed.
At some point, maybe we have to stop forgetting the latest the soap opera, and instead take a break from making it part of our tradition. Until they stop ignoring what’s going on outside the soundproof walls of Redskins Park.
Nick Ashooh is an on-air personality for 106.7 The Fan. He previously worked at WTEM for eight years. Follow him on Twitter: @NickAshooh