The Washington Redskins are an easy target for the media. I understand this isn’t news, it’s been the case for a long time. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of respect.
And let’s be clear – they don’t help themselves. At all. Years of bad management in the front office have led to a sub-standard product being put out on the field more often that not. Every time the franchise looks like it’s finally starting to get it, another bomb goes off and tears it apart. Back to the drawing board.
The snowball-effect of being an easy target to pick on however means we often see things blown completely out of proportion, just to make a story out of something. Some media outlets don’t appear to like the Redskins very much. They are the low-hanging fruit of the sports reporting world, there will always be some leak or lead they can twist into the illusion of further dysfunction. That’s not to say there is no dysfunction.
More worryingly at the moment though is interaction from the players. I couldn’t care less about the fake news that gets churned out by people claiming to be in the know, but actually just looking for more clicks on their headlines. The players have true insight, but when they take to social media to make a stand they also tend to have an agenda. Trying to figure out what that agenda is isn’t always easy.
The old “anonymous source” seems like such a get-out-of-jail-free card sometimes. It’s almost like anything can be reported as long as there’s an anonymous source to confirm it. Except, it’s not actually confirmation to me. Far be it from me to accuse anybody of simply making stuff up, but it does almost feel like it sometimes.
When the Washington Post broke the story over Scot McCloughan being fired they quoted an anonymous source, supposedly within the team, who provided some insight into his drinking issues. Conspiracy theorists were quick to accuse the team of planting this information to spin the story in their favor. Others say it was simply a rogue employee.
In a less impactful article, the Post recently commented on the teams decision not to even make an offer to Chris Baker. The justification was supposedly that “Redskins coaches, officials and even some teammates were just lukewarm on him”.
Albert Breer of MMQB also wrote an article recently where he broke down in detail some of the problems that have led to the current state of affairs with the team. As well as the Cousins negotiations he also singled out specific instances involving Bashaud Breeland and Su’a Cravens. Of course, neither player seemed particularly over the moon with this and took to Twitter to defend themselves.
Social media must be a complete pain in the ass for professional sports teams sometimes. I get the players have a right to tell their side of the story, but I also think given the current climate and how extremely volatile things are right now, it might have been a good idea for somebody within the team to just send a memo out to these guys. Something along the lines of we know this makes you mad, but please don’t go on a Twitter rant. It doesn’t help us. Just let it blow over and prove the skeptics wrong in September.
No Smoke Without Fire
Having said all of this, I’m not here to blindly defend the team of any wrong-doing. That’s not possible. The team mishandled the McCloughan situation badly, and in doing so, made the very bed they find themselves in now. That’s on them.
There’s also been a lot of negativity from former players. Of course, any player who leaves without being offered a new deal is going to feel some resentment, but approach it better from a PR perspective. This doesn’t seem to happen with most other teams.
Speaking of PR, it’s been dreadful for a long time and seems to be worse than ever right now. The Redskins are never going to be darlings of the media, but they really don’t help themselves whenever there’s a situation that needs to be dealt with. That’s the first thing they need to change if they want to earn back a little respect.