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Posted at 10:28 AM ET, 11/17/2010

The Redskins don't "owe" me anything

By Ryan Cooper

I don’t write much about football, but after listening to Chad Dukes’ tirade on his radio show I felt compelled to write something, because his rant summarizes everything I loathe about modern sports radio.

The Redskins don’t owe you or me a single thing, and I resent the notion that they somehow do. They exist as a product, like everything else that is consumable, which means you don’t have to pay attention to them if you don’t like what they’re doing. Much like in a bad relationship, if you keep enabling their problems by continually accepting excuse after excuse, nothing is ever going to change. The Redskins exist as a local monolith because their fans have allowed them to become one. They dominate the local storylines because you keep buying their product, going to their games and talking about them on Facebook. At some point you have to take responsibility because you keep subsidizing what you consider to be their “sub-par efforts” at attempting to win football games.

Here’s the bottom line. If you are tired of the Redskins putting forth sub-par efforts, and you feel that they are doing their job “half-assed” and they make you “sick,” there’s one simple solution that will solve all those problems.

Stop paying attention. Stop watching the games. Stop spending $500 on John Riggins jerseys. Stop feeding into the local media machine that is the Washington Redskins. It’s as simple as that.

I understand the “tradition” angle. I grew up sheltered in the warming glow of the first Gibbs Era, and I know what that means to people. But there comes a point where you have to stop living in the past and allowing yourself to be exploited by it in order for a team to capitalize on its profit margins because you’re gullible enough to keep going back again and again. As valuable and as heartwarming as tradition and nostalgia can be, they’re that much more dangerous when used to overtly bludgeon fans into becoming nothing more than shills and zombies that blindly throw up huge sums of money in order to watch something that’s the equivalent of punting a helpless puppy. If they make you feel that bad, to where you feel like they “owe” you, then walk away.

Put on the NFL RedZone on Sundays. Walk the dog. Go out to lunch with your spouse. Watch the Capitals (who actually have players who care). Don’t keep enabling people who take your fandom for granted, and if you do, it’s as much your fault as it is theirs.

By Ryan Cooper  | November 17, 2010; 10:28 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins, Ryan Cooper  | Tags:  Redskins, Ryan Cooper  
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Written by someone who is truly NOT a sports fan and doesn't understand anything about loyalty. Any professional sports franchise "owes" it's loyal fan base the knowledge that the team/ownership is doing ALL they can to put a winning or at least competitive product on the field/court/ice. And as loyal fans we have earned the right to cry foul when we don't feel that is the case.

Posted by: Prometheus1971 | November 17, 2010 11:49 AM | Report abuse

This writer obviously isn't attached to anything in his life. What garbage. You don't just turn your fandom on and off

Posted by: JDB1 | November 17, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Is there another Washington NFL team that I don't know about that I could root for, if I decide to ditch the Skins? No.

What about all of the tax breaks and taxpayer-funded handouts the Redskins have gotten in Loudoun County and Prince George's County and the District back when the Skins played at RFK?

Give me an f'ing break, dude. Of course the Skins owe their fans and the local residents much more than what they've produced, given what they've stolen from us (with the help of local politicians) over the years.

Posted by: HonestBroker1 | November 17, 2010 12:16 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Redskindan44 | November 17, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

I could not agree with you more Ryan. Thank you for having the courage and conviction to say what needs to be said.

I grew up during the Gibbs era and am diehard as they come. It saddens me to say this, but the only thing that makes the Redskins the Redskins since Snyder bought the team are their helmets.

Posted by: Redskindan44 | November 17, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

First of all, Ryan, you "owe" me for the time that I spent reading your drivel.

Of course, the Redskins owe their fans. We are the loyal fanbase who quite frankly fatten their wallets, and pay for the mortgages. So, yeah, at the risk of sounding selfish or entitled, I think that the Redskins should be putting forth some effort on that field.

I think what you are missing most from Chad's tirade, is the pain that most fans have been feeling since Snyder took the reigns. There has been a definite lack of effort, mismanagement by the powers that be, and a lack of focus on teamwork. And if you cannot see that this organization has taken a turn for the worse, you are truly blind.

Posted by: sultanofsarcasm | November 17, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

I think that you missed the point of what Dukes was saying. He was expressing his frustrations as a fan. There are tons of die-hard fans who have been fans for years and years and they are tired of being invested in this team but they know that even if they wanted to be a fan of another team that they will always bleed B&G.
Thats why we will keep watching because we have hope that they will get their lives together. We have a passionate fan base with people like Dukes who feel strongly about our team and who geniunely want the Redskins to win.
And they do owe us to play better. How many times do athletes and owners say "we want to thank the fans" "we dedicate this to the fans", its because the fans do make or break a franchise. But excuse us for being the real fans who wont leave our team when the going gets tough and who wont grab a team who is doing great and hop on that bandwagon. We should be congratulated for sticking with the Redskins, and you are criticizing us for sticking with our team and being passionate about it.
Maybe you aren't as passionate of a Redskins fan as I am. But thats why Dukes said what he said how he said it. Give the man some credit for his passion for this team.

Posted by: JNance1 | November 17, 2010 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Ryan, companies owe their shareholders. And the Skins continue to come up short. Simple as that. This Eagles fan continues to watch the company "board" make bad investment after bad investment and laughs. Dukes is spot on.

Posted by: fakedude2 | November 18, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Well said. Been a fan since the 50s. Sadly, watching them has become a waste of time. I'll keep in touch, call me when you've straightened out your act.

Posted by: prestoj | November 18, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

What drivel this is. Why do you even have a job at WaPo writing about sports?
He can't NOT WATCH, he is a sports radio talk show host. And his frustration comes from years of mismanagement and bad choices and excessive spending from an awful owner who has bankrupted every other business venture he has attempted. It was entertaining and probably cathartic for many in this town, much unlike this article.

Posted by: sandradbeachbum | November 18, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Typical bandwagon piece of garbage. I bet the Caps weren't even on your radar until Ovechkin came along. It's called loyalty ya dope.

I'm going to be a fan come hell or high water. I have a huge problem with the way things are being run. But I'm a football fan. I'm not going to stop watching football because the local product isn't very good. And I'm not going to jump ship because I bleed burgandy and gold.

You're the type of guy that would leave his wife if she got chubby as she got older. Total waste, I'm sorry I read this. Chad Dukes was spot on, he deserves a WaPo blog. Until today, I didn't know you existed. After writing this, I will go back to that.

Posted by: RobInVaBeach | November 19, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

This is a silly column because it's basically an argument that people should not be fans in the sense of someone who identifies strongly with a team year in and year out. Which is fine, lots of people aren't sports fans. But it's in a blog that is supposedly for sports fans. It's like writing a column arguing that God does not exist in a blog aimed at Christians.

Posted by: markfromark | November 20, 2010 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cooper, given up after a few bad seasons? Try being a Lions fan. You're basically saying you should only be a fan of, and root for, a team that is winning? Sir, that's called a band wagoner.

Posted by: nataliefriedberg | November 22, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey ya dopes! I think most of you never really even read this just thought to yourselves, "I bleed burgundy and gold - end of story."

Danny keeps spending foolishly and putting out an inferior product. There comes a point when you have to wonder who the fool is. The fool who lights the way, or the ones who follow him.

Posted by: Alisterio | November 23, 2010 2:11 PM | Report abuse

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