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Dexter Manley and Obama



Why is Dexter Manley covering up Barack Obama's face? Well, read on.

There have been several sports-themed inaugural events in recent days, and there will be more. The first that I attended was Saturday night's Change the Game gala at Sports Club/LA on M Street. The guests included Vernon Davis, Shawne Merriman, Olympic silver medalist David Payne, the D.C. Divas, former Globetrotter Mike Wilson, Eric Snow and Mike James.

"It's hectic," said James, whose Wizards left town on Sunday in advance of the craziness. "I think a lot of people has come from around the country to share in this moment in history. It's gonna be dangerous, also, this week. Some people came here for Obama, and some people came here for the wrong reasons. [But] this is an incredible event. This is an incredible event, it really is."

To me, though, the highlight was seeing Manley, the Redskins legend and certified quote machine. I've previously said Manley would have been a major blog icon had he played in the Internet age, and I told him I loved reading his old quotes. He said he learned to be a quote machine from watching Muhammad Ali. He said Joe Gibbs never liked the chatter, but that Dexter always felt he could back it up with his play. Then we started talking about the inauguration.



"I'm so honored that I can take my seat, my front row seat for history," Dexter told me. "I drew a line in the sand and chose to live instead of die."

I asked what he thought about Obama's election; "I think it's a divine thing," he said. "I think it's divine. It's the way God wanted it. This is bigger than political stuff. As Sam Cooke said, 'Change is Gonna Come.' Change HAS come, but it's not gonna happen in one administration. It's gonna take many administrations. It's easy to put people in office, but it's difficult to change attitudes, and people here must change attitudes, because it's a new America."

Then we got to talking about politics. I probably should have known this, but I didn't: Manley was apparently something of a fixture in the Reagan Administration. He said he started this relationship sometime around 1983, and that he was a frequent guest on the South Lawn of the White House, schmoozing with everyone from George Schultz to Donald Regan to Michael Deaver.






"These people embraced me in this town," Dexter told me. "So I just felt I had a connection to them. And I would be the only black guy out there on the South Lawn on a Tuesday, and they embraced me, and they gave me benefits, benefits to people in my tax bracket. I just felt I was in that party, and I believed in the fundamental ideals for a while: small government, not big government."

Manley said he voted for George W. Bush twice, and in fact had never voted for a Democratic presidential candidate. Before Obama.

"All my friends and relatives were giving me a hard time when Obama was coming up," Dexter said. "I'm a Republican in my heart, but I've changed, because plenty of people I can identify with weren't progressing or getting better. That party was isolated, so I made a switch. I started believing in Obama. I read about him, and he believes in inclusion, and that's what America needs."

Dexter was actually a little reluctant to be quoted on politics, because he doesn't want it to affect the way people view him. He hasn't necessarily switched ideologically, but rather bought into the idea that Obama was necessary at this moment. So you're not allowed to hold this against him, wherever you are politically. And hence, the photo at the top of this entry. He's just not ready to commit all the way.

Before I left, I saw Shawne Merriman giving Dexter a hearty hug. They chatted for quite a while. "Apppreciate you, man, appreciate you," Merriman said to Manley.


By Dan Steinberg  |  January 19, 2009; 2:01 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Comments

"Manley would have been a major blog icon had he played in the Internet age."

Correction: Manley is a blog icon anyway.

Also, Steinberg quoting Manley quoting Sam Cookie is the holy trinity.

Posted by: jamesmottram | January 19, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Why does Merriman look like he's squaring off against Manley?

Posted by: truthaboutit | January 19, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

Ray Lewis doesn't appreciate Manley's flair, or lack of education.

Posted by: StetSportsBlog | January 19, 2009 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see Dexter out and about but voting for Dumb W(that's what i call him,his dad and his brother are the smart one's or should i say the shrewd ones.)twice,well that's not a teachable moment.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 19, 2009 6:10 PM | Report abuse

Nice to see Dexter out and about but voting for Dumb W(that's what i call him,his dad and his brother are the smart one's or should i say the shrewd ones.)twice,well that's not a teachable moment.

Posted by: dargregmag | January 19, 2009 6:10 PM

The meaning of that sentence juxtaposed with its grammar is a bit ironic. I love it when dumb people call other people dumb.

I can't wait until Obama-mania dies down. The difference between people's expectations of Obama and what he'll actually do will be huge. He's already reneged on many of his campaign promises/lies. My prediction: He'll be an average to below average president that will get a pass due to a sympathetic media.

Posted by: davekempson | January 20, 2009 10:33 AM | Report abuse

Replying to davekempson comment; regrettably for you, I don't believe any other president could match w in any aspect of dumb politics, not this Obama (pres. Harvard law review)

Posted by: abxinc | January 21, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

abxinc, "politics" be damned. Talking heads like Obama, creations of a fawning liberal media and the short attention span MTV generation tend to be poor Presidents at best. Objective historians, not the revisionist leftists that "instruct" our children at our so-called "institutions of higher learning", will no doubt view Bush's 8 years as having been superior to that of his predecessor. Given the absence of common sense in this nation's law community, being president of the Harvard Law Review is hardly something to hang one's hat on...........

Posted by: pete_carroll | January 21, 2009 12:56 PM | Report abuse

abxinc, "politics" be damned. Talking heads like Obama, creations of a fawning liberal media and the short attention span MTV generation tend to be poor Presidents at best. Objective historians, not the revisionist leftists that "instruct" our children at our so-called "institutions of higher learning", will no doubt view Bush's 8 years as having been superior to that of his predecessor. Given the absence of common sense in this nation's law community, being president of the Harvard Law Review is hardly something to hang one's hat on...........

Posted by: pete_carroll | January 21, 2009 12:56 PM

What he said....oh, and might I add, "Booyah!"

Posted by: davekempson | January 22, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

To davekempson: You are an ignorant intolerant non-exclusive pathetic red neck who is afraid of the present and the future. Barrack Obama is 44th president of your United States and he is concrete proof of change, change that you and others like you cannot accept. Also you need to grow up, you appear to be very young or very immature. In a way I feel sorry for you.

Posted by: 72Redskins | January 23, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

72redskins:

Why is it that the 'Rats were telling us that we were "questioning their patriotism" when they expressed dissent towards GWB, but now that The Messiah is in office, and you think we are not allowed to express OUR dissent towards a guy who has ZERO accomplishments other than writing a book or two, reading some speeches off of a teleprompter, and studying at the feet of some of the most notorious Chicago political thugs and Pentagon bombers?!

I guess I should respond to your comments with a hearty "Sieg Heil ein Fuhrer!"

Unlike the Lefties who publicly fantasized about the assassination of GWB (and were praised for it), I think you will find that MOST of the Obama-dissenters (myself included) ACCEPT that he is the 44th President. Just don't be surprised if in a year or two when the New Socialism has further rendered this Country to an even deeper recession, we say "I told you so!"

Posted by: georgejones5 | January 23, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

"Unlike the Lefties who publicly fantasized about the assassination of GWB (and were praised for it), I think you will find that MOST of the Obama-dissenters (myself included) ACCEPT that he is the 44th President. Just don't be surprised if in a year or two when the New Socialism has further rendered this Country to an even deeper recession, we say "I told you so!"

Posted by: georgejones5 | January 23, 2009"

Doesn't anyone on these blogs ACTUALLY READ? DID YOU NEVER COMPLETE AN SRA READING TEST? Sheesh, I guess I am
used to better having been educated in the county on land that used to belong to the Blair's, the Lee's, the Brooke's, and the Montgomery's

First George Bush may have been the most fiscally imprudent president we have EVER HAD. This bailout of the banks is basically communism!!! And yet they still have the gall to charge $26-$40 overdraft fees, $1-$6 ATM fees and still grant people charge limits that are way beyond their capacity to ever pay back. Don't get me started on mortgages.

BUSH IS FISCALLY CONSERVATIVE? A REPUBLICAN? NO friggin' way. He listened to his mom and came off as a coward. All of this security we have in place has put the skids on business. People make jokes about taking their shoes off in airports. The long lines. YOU DON'T THINK THAT HAS HAD AN EFFECT ON THE ECONOMY? If you don't you are really pretty naive.

BUSH pretty much went against every single concept associated with fiscal, responsible conservatism. The only thing he consistently supported was pro-life, religion and anti-abortion. Where does that get you when you don't even have a dime in your pocket? When there are no schools to raise these children you seek to protect because there is no money. That is really a smart, forward thinking approach to things isn't it?

You ought be treating him like a pariah. And let's remember the bailout was his idea initially. And we still don't know where all to that money he dispensed went to. Probably Madoff.

And then BUSH rails against Social Security, Medicare? Seems pretty hypocritical to me.

You so-called republicans need to get a real job and a real life and find out what it is really like out there.

Posted by: periculum | January 25, 2009 6:34 PM | Report abuse

And yes I think Barack Obama has initially demonstrated that he can be a much better manager. He is choosing people based on competence and expertise. Not because they are his friends. A marked departure from George W. Bush. Hey hiring someone who knows what they are doing?

The nice advantage to that is that if they aren't your friends you won't feel bad about kicking them to the curb when they don't do the job. You won't feel like you owe them because of some campaign contribution they elicited from high powered lobbyist.

Obama may not be great. And the problems are gigantic. Still, he appears to be taking a more pragmatic, more disciplined approach to them than GW Bush. I doubt that he would ever get snowed by Niger Gate.

Posted by: periculum | January 25, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

"Objective historians, not the revisionist leftists that "instruct" our children at our so-called "institutions of higher learning", will no doubt view Bush's 8 years as having been superior to that of his predecessor. Given the absence of common sense in this nation's law community, being president of the Harvard Law Review is hardly something to hang one's hat on...........

Posted by: pete_carroll | January 21, 2009"

Let's see gigantic trillion dollar bailouts. Going to war with Iraq because some Italian con-artist forged papers that said that Sadaam was buying nuclear materials from Nigeria. When every intelligence agency, and newspaper in Europe called it a fraud? 3 Trillion dollar deficit. Rewarding the out-sourcing of jobs. Screwing up things so royally in the Middle East that it actually helped Al Quaeda. Bailing out banks while they continue to charge exorbitant overdraft fees, atm fees, and finance charges to people who can't afford it? Yet still lending to them? Destroying our intelligence services, firing people because they were "objective" and didn't believe the evangelical clap-trap they were fed about the end of the world.

You idiot. He may end up finishing beneath Ulysses S. Grant as having the worst administration in history.

Posted by: periculum | January 25, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like sombody has been spending time on MoveOn.org message boards. Periculum, I'm looking in your direction...

Redskins72, the adults are having a conversation about issues and substance. Go peddle your tired old "You're a racist" tactics somewhere else.

Posted by: davekempson | January 26, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

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