It’s a familiar scenario in Washington: a public figure is caught in the crosshairs of failure; a job hangs in the balance. Will there be a firing? A resignation? A last minute rescue in the form of a crisis counselor?
We’re not talking about Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sibelius, but Washington Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan, who finds his job security being debated on this “misery Monday” after a 45-10 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, bringing the team record to 3-10.
Three games remain for the Redskins, including a home bout against rival Dallas on December 22, but will Shanahan still be the coach by then?
We polled Washington sportswriters who cover the Redskins to get their takes on Shanahan’s fate.
Dan Steinberg, DC Sports Bog blogger at The Washington Post
When Mike Will Go: “If not today, then by the day after the season. I’d say today because otherwise the next three weeks would be an even bigger joke.”
Quit or fired: Steinberg said he should wait to get fired, because “what sane person walks away from 7 million bucks?”
Nomination for a replacement: No one, but “my last choice: Art Briles,” currently the coach at RGIII’s alma mater, Baylor, and a rumored favorite.
Kevin Sheehan, cohost of The Sports Fix on ESPN 980 AM
Why Mike Will Go: “He feels cornered by owner, his QB, the QB’s family, and the media.” Not to mention the relationship between RGIII and Shanahan’s son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
Quit or fired: “The best result for everyone is some sort of settlement that reduces the noise moving forward.”
Nomination for a replacement: “Not sure if this is an attractive job to anyone, but I’ll say [former Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach] Jon Gruden because of his relationship with [Redskins general manager] Bruce Allen.”
Rich Tandler, Redskins blogger for CSN Washington and RealRedskins.com
Why Mike Will Go: “In year four of his plan they are one of the worst teams in the league at 3-10. The defense and special teams are atrocious, the offense is weak.”
Quit or fired: He should wait to get fired, says Tandler “but Snyder might not make it that easy for him. This is one of those ‘get your popcorn ready’ situations.”
Nomination for a replacement: Jay Gruden, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator (and brother of Jon) “would be a good fit. He’s young, sharp and could get the best out of RG3.”
Eric Bickel, co-host of The Sports Junkies on 106.7 FM
Why Mike Will Go: “His record, but the focus will be on the nonsense.”
Quit or Fired: “It appears [Shanahan] is leaking stories everywhere to make this happen fast,” says Bickel, but Snyder may “make him sweat it out.”
Nomination for a replacement: A person “Snyder will hire and fall in love with,” and who “will fail.”
Sonic Drive-In went into severe apology mode when one of its restaurants in Belton, Missouri, put up a obnoxiously distasteful sign about yesterday's game between Washington and the Kansas City Chiefs.
The sign read: "'KC CHIEFS' WILL SCALP THE REDSKINS FEED THEM WHISKEY SEND - 2 - RESERVATION," which is about four different kinds of racist.
A Sonic executive told NBC News the sign was put up by an employee who is "known for creative use of his signs," but this particular display was "in poor taste." Yeah.
The sign was taken down a few hours after it was broadcast to the world on Twitter, and the signmaker is said to be "very apologetic." Washingtonian reached out to the Redskins, who lost to the Chiefs 45-10, but they're not touching this one.
It's been a while since we've heard from Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, and by "while," we mean about a whole day since his last memorable moment. (Posing for a photo with the Hell's Angels, if you're scoring at home.)
But starting tomorrow morning and every Thursday thereafter, people who listen to 106.7 The Fan's morning show The Sports Junkies will hear from Ford, who will be dialing in at 8:40 AM to talk sports and give his football picks for the week, CBS Radio announced.
Ford might be a crack-smoking, ranting, nightmare (for Toronto) who has more than enough to eat at home, but if he's been steadfast about anything during his time in the spotlight, it's his love for American football. He even apologized for his crack-tainted drunken stupor while wearing a necktie emblazoned with the logos of every NFL team, and he can often be seen sporting a Buffalo Bills jersey, whether its at a game like last Sunday's game against the Atlanta Hawks, or a photo op with a biker gang.
Frankly, this could be just the relief that Washington football fans famished by a lean season for the home team need. Ford might be a loud, obnoxious, substance-addled ratings grab, but the man knows his football:
In a publicity stunt more awkward than the Redskins’ failure to convert on fourth-and-two, the team showed a video during halftime of last night’s loss to the San Francisco 49ers honoring four World War II veterans who served as Navajo “code talkers.”
The FedEx Field crowd cheered, and rightly so—Native American members of the military played a crucial role in formulating coded messages during the war. But nobody was fooled: the gesture comes after months of controversy over the home team’s name.
The veterans were trotted out to the sidelines wearing team merchandise as the stadium’s video screen filled with a recollection of the code talkers’ wartime achievements. The video also included footage of President Obama, who has said that if he had Dan Snyder’s job, he’d strongly consider changing the team’s name, and it ended with one of the veterans sheepishly saying, “Hail to the Redskins.”
Natalie Randolph, the coach of the varsity football team at Northwest DC’s Coolidge High School and believed to be the nation’s only female head coach of a varsity high school football team, is stepping down after four seasons. Randolph delivered her resignation to Coolidge Athletic Director Jonathan Blackmon on Tuesday following the conclusion of a disappointing 1-10 season, the Washington Post reports.
Despite this year’s dismal record, Randolph had her share of on-field achievements. In 2011, she led the Coolidge Colts to an 8-3 record and an appearance in the Turkey Bowl, the District’s high-school football championship game. She leaves the team with a career record of 16-26.
The Washington Nationals ballpark at the Navy Yard still feels brand new, but the example set yesterday by their division rival Atlanta Braves shows that a stadium’s lifespan isn’t what it used to be.
The Braves yesterday announced plans to move to suburban Cobb County in 2017, leaving Turner Field in downtown Atlanta after just 20 seasons. Most baseball stadiums last much longer than that, but the Braves are getting the public to pay more than two-thirds of the cost of their next venue, and they also say a move to the suburbs puts them closer to the bulk of their fan base.
Despite Dan Snyder’s last-ditch lobbying effort, the Council on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a resolution urging the franchise to adopt a moniker that is not defined as a racial slur in mainstream dictionaries.
“To argue that we should keep the name because it ‘holds memories and meaning of where we came from and who we are’ is akin to saying to the Native American people that we don’t care, your pain has less worth than our football memories,” said David Grosso, the Council member who drafted the measure.
Dan Snyder has recently been asking fans of his football team to show their pride in the face of a movement urging the club to change its name. He might not have meant that to include the sartorial choices of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who today gave a public apology for smoking crack cocaine during one of his "drunken stupors," while wearing a necktie prominently featuring Washington's logo.
As captured by Dave Kaufman, a radio host in Montreal, Ford approached a horde of cameras wearing a tie emblazoned with what appears to be the logos of all 32 NFL teams. Perhaps Ford is more a fan of the league at large than any specific team, but the Washington logo is right up top. Maybe not the fan pride Snyder was looking for.
For what it's worth, former DC Mayor Marion Barry is a dedicated fan of the squad he likes to call the "Washington home team," though he disagrees with Snyder on the name.
Dan Snyder is asking fans of his football team to blast the e-mail accounts and jam the phone lines at the DC Council today ahead of a vote on a resolution denouncing the team’s name, even though the resolution is toothless and merely represents a “sense of the Council” that the term “Redskins” is derogatory.
The resolution will easily pass with a majority of council members signed on as co-sponsors, but the NFL team isn’t taking the empty admonishment without a fight. “As a resident of DC and a constituent, we encourage you to share with your DC City Councilmembers what #RedskinsPride means to you, your family and friends,” the team wrote in an e-mail to fans and season ticket holders today.
After meeting with NFL executives about their effort to get the Washington Redskins to change their name, officials from the Oneida Indian Nation said they were “disappointed.”
“As the meeting transpired, it became evident that they were defending the continued use,” Oneida executive Ray Halbritter said at a press conference following the meeting in New York. The league sent senior executives Jeff Pash, Adolpho Birch, and Paul Hicks. The league said Commissioner Roger Goodell was traveling Wednesday, a day after he met with Washington owner Dan Snyder about the ongoing controversy surrounding the team’s name.
Halbritter said his tribe’s ongoing campaign for a name change is not meant to be antagonistic toward Snyder or the NFL, noting the Oneidas’ own sponsorship of the Buffalo Bills. “[Football] can be unifying, this name is not,” he said as a heckler tried to interrupt.