The Redskins petition – and what it does (and doesn’t) mean

25 May 2014

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It was interesting to see that 49 United States senators signed a petition pointing out that the nickname of the NFL’s Washington Redskins is racist and urging the NFL to push the team to change their name. (Yes, I know that the graphic above says 50, and that it’s been reported in the news as 50. I’ve seen the petition and counted the signatures; it has 49 of them.) My immediate reaction was that this was a pretty damning indictment – nearly HALF the U.S. Senate saying you should do something is a pretty strong hint.

But then I looked into two things: the petition, and the signers. First of all, the petition is completely non-binding – it only “urges” Roger Goodell and the National (dramatic pause) Football League to “endorse a name change.” It only carries what I believe in legal circles is called “the force of moral suasion” – and given that these are politicians we’re talking about here, I don’t know how much moral force that really carries.

And second, there’s the matter of who signed it. There’s an online copy of the petition (you can take a gander at it here), showing specifically who put their John Hancocks on this piece. I recognized a lot of the names immediately … but I also realized a lot of big senatorial names weren’t on it. And the more I started looking, the more I started suspecting what might be missing … Read the rest of this entry »


The NFL coaching carousel, and who’s getting thrown off it

12 December 2011

(Another sinus bug, Thanksgiving, my 42nd birthday, life in general … and I end up gone from the blogosphere for another couple of weeks.  To paraphrase Remy the rat from Ratatouille, “I think it’s apparent that I need to rethink my blog a little bit.”  More on that in the coming weeks.  In the meantime, how about some football?)

Today, the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs fired head coaches Tony Sparano and Todd Haley, respectively.  This follows the Jacksonville Jaguars’ canning of Jack del Rio a couple of weeks ago.  A move like this always seems weird to me — if the season isn’t lost, why not wait until it’s over and see if the current guy can turn it around?  And if it IS lost, the only reason to boot the current fellow is to see if one of your current assistants can be The Man — but how can you tell that in only three games?  I dunno — to me it smacks of an owner trying to appease a fan base (or maybe a player base) that’s seriously disgruntled and out for blood.  “Here, tear this guy apart!”  The Owner says as he chucks the poor guy over the wall to the rampaging barbarians below, figuring that might stall them long enough for him to spirit his family out of the castle to the waiting escape ship …

Anyway, so three coaches gone, with three weeks still to go in the NFL regular season.  And it got me wondering, how many could end up gone by the time we reach the Super Bowl?  I took a few moments to look over the current standings and checked a few lifetime coaching records, and …

… and wouldja believe, as many as twelve?!?
Read the rest of this entry »

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