On the evening of January 10, with the bitter taste of a home playoff defeat still eating at their soul, the Washington Redskins began preparation for the 2016-17 NFL season. Four months and dozens of transactions later, the Redskins have made the best move of the offseason.
It wasn’t snatching Josh Norman from free agency. Nor was it re-signing Jordan Reed to an extension.
The irony is their best move wasn’t a move at all.
The “move” occurred when the Washington Post released a poll that stated 9 of 10 Native Americans aren’t offended by the term “Redskins” and 8 of 10 wouldn’t consider it a slur if someone called them a “Redskin.”
The results of this poll were the biggest blowout victory of the Dan Snyder era and uncharacteristically Redskins Park did nothing.
No comment. No “I told you so” press release. No tweet with the “shifty eyes” emoji.
The Redskins handled this perfectly. It’s not often one can say that phrase.
Having worked out of Redskins Park I know this was no easy task. In years past, chest thumping was as common as errors on draft day, but this organization seems different. It’s smarter. It’s less “look at me” and more “look at our results.” The three men who deserve credit for this change of philosophy are general manager Scot McCloughan, Executive Vice President Terry Bateman and Senior Vice President Tony Wyllie. McCloughan and Bateman have brought a no-nonsense professionalism to Ashburn while Wyllie is savvy and much smarter than has been portrayed. Wyllie has taken more bullets for organizational mistakes that were not his fault than were fired in the opening scene of "Deadpool."
If the Redskins had commented on the poll, it would have undone the results and made opponents of the name louder and more determined to force a change. Their lack of response was absolutely brilliant with McCloughan, Bateman and Wyllie acting as silent assassins. Have you ever noticed that players trash talk more in close games then in blowouts? You don’t have to tell your foe about a beatdown when they know their ass was kicked.
It took four months but the Redskins have made their best move of this offseason and who would have thought they didn’t need to channel their inner Bobby Beathard to make that move? Instead, they channeled their inner Alison Krauss because they said it best when they said nothing at all.
Chuck Sapienza is the Executive Producer of the Naval Academy radio network and the former VP/Programming for ESPN980. He was also a part of the Washington Redskins Radio Network from 2009 to 2015, serving as the network's Executive Producer. He can be reached at SapienzaChuck@gmail.com
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