As of July 13, 2020, the NFL has lost one of its fans, that fan being me. For so long, I have held out, but recent events have proven too much for me. I’ve been an avid football fan since the 1980s, albeit I was a Dolphins’ fan for a little longer. To me, the eighties were the peak of the NFL’s success; I was hooked in and I was especially delighted when the Dolphins made it to Super Bowl XVII to face off against the Washington Redskins, a team water bound mammals had vanquished on the same stage a decade earlier. Being a resident of the Washington, DC/Metro Area, it wasn’t hard to look up to see signs of loyalty from the area’s residents for their beloved team. Back then, there was no thought about the Redskins’ name or logo as you could see bumper stickers, flags, or any other paraphernalia displaying the area’s choice for Super Bowl champions. I was somewhat the odd man out because in DC, you were either a Redskins’ or Cowboys’ fan and I was a fan of neither. However, my love for the NFL was on the rise at the time and the eighties, in my humble opinion, was it’s greatest era.
As all of my fellow NFL fans already know, the end of Super Bowl XVII saw the Miami Dolphins being treated for the injuries inflicted on them by John Riggins’ cleats as the Dolphins lost 27-17. It was the most painful Super Bowl I had to sit through, but the D-men lost fair and square. Two seasons later, I would relive that pain as my beloved, Marino-led aquatic mammals from South Beach got trounced in Super Bowl XIX by the San Francisco 49ers, 38-16.
Throughout the rest of the eighties and all through the nineties, I would cling to the hope that my beloved Dolphins would eventually make it back to the Super Bowl, but lacking a good ground game and defense, that would be a tall order and after a 62-7 drubbing by some ferocious felines from the Jacksonville, FL area (and Dan Marino’s subsequent retirement), the tropic- dwelling cetaceans have found it rather difficult to relive their glory days. Although my favorite team has sucked lemons (hey, they do reside in the Land of Citrus), I remained a staunch NFL fan. Generally, the games are some of the most exciting in all of sports and watching opposing teams going at it against one another has been one of the biggest thrills of my life. Although my favorite team wouldn’t make it to the Big Dance, I would still look forward to the beginning of each season and make my guess as to who would play in the biggest and final game of the season. Among other things, the NFL was one of my biggest escapes from the daily turmoil that saturates this beloved world of ours.
I first noticed the signs sometime in the nineties, although I don’t know exactly when. Certain powers-that-be started the process of swirling rumors about offenses to the name “Redskins” as it was reported certain indigenous tribes felt the name was disrespectful to their heritage. Before then, I would be willing to bet, no one had given a thought to as to whether the moniker was offensive or not. Not long afterwards, the controversy seemingly died down, but the embers would continue to smolder for several years until some “woke” SJWs decided to pour an accelerant over the glowing mess to ignite a conflagration that’s going to be very hard to exterminate. However, I’m getting a little ahead of myself, so let me descend back to the surface of the planet I like to call Earth.
The next sign I noticed that my beloved bastion of football franchises was taking a step into the wrong direction was the Super Bowl halftime shows, which I believe have been declining in quality since the 80’s, when the shows were still somewhat family friendly. Now, the shows are nothing more than raunchy, politically-correct, rock concerts which I would be ashamed to allow my children to watch. We all remember the “wardrobe malfunction” incident involving Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake and many of us believe that was when the halftime shows started their nosedive. However, I watched the concert leading up to the incident and it had been somewhat of a slut show up until that moment.
Then, there was the Super Bowl L halftime show featuring the black goddess, Beyonce, aka, Sasha Fierce, who wiggled her overweight and scantily-clad tail (and nearly took an embarrassing tumble) in protest to so-called police brutality that is supposedly directed at the black community, which is one of the biggest myths of our day.
In 2016 (one year after Beyonce’s Super Bowl routine), the single event that I believe accelerated the spread of venomous politics through the sports world’s circulatory system was an incident that occurred during the NFL preseason that year. A once-respected quarterback named Colin Kaepernick, a man who at one time led his team to the Super Bowl and nearly won the thing, took it upon himself to kneel during the singing of the National Anthem, stating that he couldn’t stand for the flag of a country that “oppresses black people.” When Kaep did that, he opened up a virtual Pandora’s box of poisonous social issues that, in my opinion, will take the sport’s industry a long time (if ever) to recover from.
In light of all this, I wanted to ignore all the politics to concentrate on the sport of football itself. I loved the sport so much, I was willing to ignore all the politics and I even had a friend or two on Facebook advise me I needed to drop the NFL; however, being the “freethinking person who marches to the beat of his own drum” type of person I am, I decided to stick to my guns.
However, fast-forwarded several years later, two incidents would push me over my limits. The first would involve the announcement of the singing of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (the so-called black National Anthem) before every game the first week of the season; this incident prompted me to climb the proverbial fence and teeter on the top. Then came the announcement that the owner of the team formerly known as the Washington Redskins was changing their name. Several years earlier, Dan Snyder had declared he wasn’t changing the name of the iconic football team, but in light of recent incidents involving the supposed racist killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, Snyder decided to give in to the “woke” community to give them what they wanted. Rumor has it that Snyder wanted to tear down the old RFK Stadium in DC (the Redskins’ old home) to have it replaced with a new stadium and the powers-that-be informed him he couldn’t do so unless he changed his teams name, most especially FedEx and Amazon. My guess is that the move was a financial one and Mr. Snyder gave in because he cares more about the bottom line than he does for his fans.
My guess is that folks think the name “Redskins” is similar to the “N”-word, but I digress.
As an owner, a person can do whatever he wants with his franchise and I have no problem with that; the Houston Oilers moving to Tennessee and the Cleveland Browns moving to Baltimore are recent examples, but, to give in to political pressure is a cowardly move, in my humble opinion. For decades, folks of all races and cultures have cheered on their beloved Redskins impervious of any offensive implications supposedly attached to the name and logo. Heck, there were Native Americans who agreed with the team’s final name and it’s logo, the more recent logo being designed by a member of the Blackfoot Tribe; his son has even said himself that he doesn’t believe the Redskins’ moniker is offensive and other members of the Native American clan have chimed in with the same themselves. This latest action caused me to lose my balance and I fell on the other side of the fence; I can’t live with the fact that the NFL would agree with this, but with today’s “woke” culture, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised as even the sports talk shows are starting to sound more like politically-correct sound stations.
So, now, I am no longer a fan of the NFL; however, I won’t advise others to follow my lead. If you decide to continue to support the NFL in spite of their political pandering, have at it and I will have no problem with you doing so. This is my personal choice to do so because I am sick and tired of the push to be politically correct in every facet of our lives.
So, take a bow, NFL! You have succeeded in offending your fans, not because of certain teams’ names, but because you care more about politics and being “woke” than you do your fans. I hope you’re proud of yourselves.
So, I guess “Deadskins” will now be a proper title instead of an insult.