Daniel Snyder might be the luckiest white man owning a Native American-honored sports franchise in America.
Despite occasional outcry over his stewardship, Snyder’s NFL team is worth a fortune, and he is well-known for using some of that money to charitably assist the Native American community.
But Snyder’s fabulous business sense and famed people skills have waned of late. Well, actually, not “of late” — he bought the Washington football team in 1999, and it hasn’t been to the Super Bowl since the 1991 regular season.
Since Joe Gibbs retired after the ’92 season — and these numbers are courtesy of Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post — Washington has had one nine-game losing streak, two seven-game losing streaks, three six-game losing streaks, two five-game losing streaks, nine four-game losing streaks and 30 three-game losing streaks.
(FYI: In the annals of U.S. history, it is hard to find any other entity sustaining that many losses over a generation or longer, except possibly the Indians versus the federal government in the 18th and 19th centuries.)
The thing is, you can’t lay off all this steady, abject failure at the feet of Snyder.
Sure, he writes all the checks and brings in all the front-office staff and hires and fires all the coaches and befriends an occasional star quarterback or linebacker, and, sure, he’s technically responsible for the direction of the franchise, but it’s not as if Snyder’s the fellow missing all those blocks and tackles down on the field.
To be honest, there’s only so much a guy can do sitting in his high chair in the owner’s suite.
Then again, from his lofty residential perch with an unobstructed view of the Potomac — Snyder can see the river from his family room, because he cut down 50,000 square feet of trees protected by the National Park Service in 2004 — almost every move he makes is a monumental mistake.
In his 16 seasons running the team, Snyder has had eight head coaches.
If you go back to Snyder’s very first coaching dalliance, you could sense trouble on the reservation.
He dismissed the coach he inherited, Norv Turner, after less than two seasons, and brought in Marty Schottenheimer in 2000. Schottenheimer began 0-5, then directed the team to eight wins in the last 11 games of the season.
Naturally, Snyder fired him.
For the record, under previous ownership, Gibbs began 0-5 as Washington’s coach in 1981, then won eight of the last 11 games in his first season. Needless to say, if Snyder had owned the team 33 years ago, the course of Washington football history might’ve been greatly altered.
Speaking of the course of Washington football history, here’s the thing about the nickname — it’s going to change eventually.
(FYI: “Eventually” is sort of the opposite of “never,” the word Snyder used when asked by USA Today in May 2013 if he’d ever consider changing the team’s nickname.)
Changing the nickname is a no-brainer, which, frankly, should give Snyder somewhat of an advantage here. If many of the people you are supposedly honoring tell you they don’t feel honored by the name — which is a dictionary-defined racial slur — then a reasonable person would stop using that term.
First Snyder ignored them for a long time, and now he’s a disingenuous spokesman for their hardships. He’s not putting his money where his mouth is, he’s putting his money where he can buy their silence.
But, in this case, common decency eventually will trump the despot’s checkbook.
So, if I were Dan Snyder, I’d go back to our colonial roots and make an old-fashioned horse trade:
Get rid of the nickname in exchange for a controlling interest in several Indian casinos.
For who — other than Donald Trump — can screw up a casino? They’re cash cows, even when Redskins are running them.
Ask The Slouch
Q. The huddle breaks, the center hunches over the ball but he’s pointing and waving at the defense with one arm. Given that the o-line is set, what of significance is he doing or saying? (Rich Hardegger; Calgary, Alberta)
A. If it’s the Jaguars or Redskins center, he is indicating to the defense which gaps it can rush most conveniently to sack the quarterback.
Q. Is it true that after a loss SEC football coaches punish their players by making them go to class? (Curtis Prins; Middleburg, Va.)
A. Yes. But North Carolina coaches are tougher — they punish their players by making them go to phantom class.
Q. What is the tie-breaker when two or more readers submit similar “Ask The Slouch” questions? (Robert Kester; Pittsburgh)
A. I favor anyone willing to come in person to pick up his or her prize winnings, thus saving me postage.
Q. If Alabama ends up losing to Florida State in the national title game, would Alabama still be declared the champion by the College Football Playoff selection committee based on its “overall body of work”? (Don Evans; Washington, D.C.)
A. Pay the man, Shirley.
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