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Burgundy Revolution travels to Atlanta



I was still a few blocks away from the Georgia Dome Sunday afternoon, when I ran into a middle-aged husband and wife from a very wealthy part of Fairfax County who had traveled to Atlanta to see their Redskins. Wendy, the wife, had designed a pair of custom T-shirts for the occasion. On the front, the shirts said "Redskins." On the back? "Love the team, hate the owner."

"He's breaking our hearts," said Wendy, who said she was scared to give me her last name for fear of reprisals from the club. "We're afraid to wear them to the stadium; we'll get thrown out."





A couple minutes later, I saw two friends from the D.C. area who carried a pair of paper bags. "Danny won't let us protest at FedEx so we came to the Georgia Dome," one of the bags read.

"Papers will be served next week," cracked a nearby Falcons fan.

Not long after I entered the stadium, I ran into Antonio Fierro, a 23-year old Redskins fan from Miami. He was sitting in the front row, right behind one end zone, holding up a massive homemade banner that would later make the Fox broadcast. He bought the tickets on eBay, expressly so he could get a sign on television.

"CONFISCATE THIS DAN!" the sign taunted. "FIRE VINNY."

"That's exactly what MY sign says!" remarked David Moore of Fredericksburg, who had never met Fierro.



Yup, the Burgundy Revolution hit the road Sunday, and there were pockets of resistance scattered all over the Georgia Dome. Many of the agitators were upset about the usual stuff--the offensive line's decrepitude, the unproductive second-year receivers and the front-office structure. But this week, a new item was added to the list of grievances.






"He took away the First Amendment right of Redskins fans," said Jason Coons of Olney, who was holding a "Cerrato + Snyder = Fail" sign and wearing one of the Junkies' "Worst.Owner.Ever." shirts. "He wants to control what we say, what we wear. This is what I want my quote to say: He's a communist."

Look, there was some irony here. I don't think Coons really thinks Snyder is advocating for shared wealth, and anyway, the Communists were once the revolutionaries.

This is getting too confusing, so I'll put it simply. Redskins fans are mad. Taking away their signs didn't make them less mad.

Of course, the club clarified its rules in the past couple weeks, saying that all T-shirts that aren't profane are permitted at FedEx Field. But the sign ban still stands, and I'm just not sure that cracking down on free expression is a historically proven method of propping up a shuddering regime. Sometimes, it can inspire in the wrong direction.



"It's the first time I've ever made a sign," said Jim Wilson, a Redskins season-ticket holder from Richmond holding a "SNYDER: SELL THE TEAM" banner. The Redskins argued that signs at sporting events can be hazardous, so Wilson made his banner out of a bedsheet.

"Soft cloth," he explained. "I didn't want to poke anyone in the head."

A few sections away, Damon Proffitt and Mark Yenowine had a different safety concern.

"The only thing I worry about is tripping over my own feet when the sign is in front of my face," Yenowine said. "Too many people wanting to see the signs."

These decades-long Redskins fan held a tandem message: "Hey Dan Take This Sign," read Proffitt's sign, which concluded with an arrow pointing at Yenowine's "IMPEACH SNYDER" banner."






These guys came from Louisville, where they're proud members of the Louisville Hoggs. Yenowin has been a fan since Vince Lombardi; his dad moved the family to D.C. in the '60s, and the Skins stuck.

"They're taking away signs at FedEx; that's why we did it," Yenowine said.

"They can't take 'em here," Proffitt agreed. "[The owner's] like a little baby, kicking his feet when things go wrong."

They were sitting pretty close to George Lafoon, whose "BAN THIS SIGN DAN; Riggo Buy The Team" creation was also proving popular. I mean, I had to wait in line to snap pictures of some of these signs, because so many Redskins fans were doing the same thing.

And these weren't casual fans. One of the bag wearers, Alex Meyer-Stokes, has a Redskins tattoo. Another, Arlington native Jen Hawkins, has a dog named Riggo. A third, Eddie Jenkins, told me about a 1987 professional family portrait in which he wore a Doug Williams jersey and his dad sported Art Monk. Now, he had shown up for a road game, with a "Fire Our Xtortionists" banner.

"It's my one chance to voice my opinion," he said. "You can't have gag orders on your fans."






Obviously, I agree. Many sports franchises have been bad; that's not particularly noteworthy. Banning signs because of the threat of head-poking injuries, though, seems to fundamentally sever the covenant with your fans. Which is probably why just about every person I saw with a sign on this day was rooting for the visiting team. I saw one Falcons fan with a D-Fence creation; I can't remember a single other Falcons fan with a sign. This didn't have to become a big deal, a bunch of paper and marker. Now, though, it is.

"How crazy is it, we can't even express ourselves in our own stadium?" said Joe Davis of Silver Spring, whose sign announced, "We had to drive 10 hours to hold up this stupid sign."

"We've been to Green Bay, Carolina, here, New York, Philly, and every game experience was better than FedEx Field, every one," Davis continued.

"Even in Philly, which is insane," said his wife, Amelia. "I love the team. The team's bigger than the owner. But he's ruining it."

These fans were mostly in their 30s and 40s. They grew up at a certain time.

"Our expectations are the three Lombardi Trophies on this banner," Hawkins said. "That's what we grew up with."



Not today's kids. And I'm not trying to suggest that every Skins fan was protesting. There were thousands and thousands here, and only a tiny minority had signs or bags. It was truly impressive, how many fans came out to see a two-win team on the road. The sign holders are just the vanguard, but they said the reaction was almost uniformly positive, from both Falcons and Redskins supporters.

Anyhow, after the game, the agitators congregated outside the dome. Lafoon was holding court with two other Redskins fans wearing paper bags over their heads. They were joined by Ashley Tate, the founder of the Fire Snyder Sign blog, who's been urging fans to create a giant "Fire Snyder" message by wearing color-coded shirts.

"We love the Skins," said Peter Derry from inside his paper bag head. "But it's tough."






Falcons fans, and even Cowboys fans, were taking photos. They seemed to be sympathetic.

"I think everyone in the league feels sorry for us," said Stella Mercado, holding a massive banner in the 100-level. "We're getting a sympathy vote. And I'll take it."

The Falcons, if you're curious, have their own rules about signs. Nothing larger than 3 feet by 3 feet, nothing derogatory, profane or commercial, and nothing inappropriate.

I saw some signs that were too big, but I didn't see any staffers enforcing the rules. They were too busy handing out free samples of Apple Gouda Sausage during breaks from the out-of-town replays that were showing on the gorgeous HD video screen.


By Dan Steinberg  |  November 8, 2009; 7:44 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Next: Inside the DeAngelo Hall sideline melee

Comments

I thought it was awesome when the one sign was visible on TV.

Posted by: nitrojunkie_20723 | November 8, 2009 8:58 PM | Report abuse

A big shout out to all the fans who showed up in Atlanta and let the feelings of all the Redskins fans be known-AWSOME!!

Posted by: Riddler1 | November 8, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks again Steinz. Keep it up!

Posted by: jonthefisherman | November 8, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I want to thank the Redskin fans who took their signs to the Georgia Dome. You are true Americans. Thanks again.

Posted by: hessone | November 8, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

Great job guys! Keep the Revolution rolling!

Posted by: TheSuperhoo | November 8, 2009 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Get this: D Hall lives in Atlanta off season and has called out a 60 yr old coach Mike Smith that put his hands on him. Says he knows where I live, he can look me up. What a moron. And Zorn says he likes the fight in the Redskins. Well, the Redskins suck across the board and "I get that".

BOYCOTT ALL THINGS $NYDER-FIRE CERRATO!!!!
BOYCOTT ALL THINGS $NYDER-FIRE CERRATO!!!!
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Posted by: hessone | November 8, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

hessone - keep the boycott going, pal! ha ha ha

Posted by: funkey | November 8, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Don't know about signs, but I believe Gordon Biersch allows (even requires) SHIRTS. They tape Redskins Late Night every Tuesday night at the Tysons Corner Gordon Biersch between 6 and 8 PM. Not as far to drive as Atlanta. Redskin Broadcasting Network provides the cameras, the food is better, and the beer is cheaper than at FedUp Field.

Posted by: jburnetti | November 8, 2009 10:44 PM | Report abuse

"It's different when a coach comes over there to break guys up," Hall said. "When a coach comes over there to put his hands on you in a harmful way, something needs to be done about that. . . . I'll definitely be calling some of my friends and figuring out what to do about this situation."

Can you say moron. What's Hall going to do. Take out Smith with some thug friends?
This guy was released by the Raiders. Only Cerrato was dumb enough to pick him up and $nyder dumber for giving him a fat contract. WTF?

Posted by: hessone | November 8, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

hessone - keep the boycott going, pal! ha ha ha

Posted by: funkey | November 8, 2009 10:44 PM

At least I'm giving more effort to the BOYCOTT $NYDER thing than D Hall is on the field playintg football. This one is for you funkey:

BOYCOTT $NYDER AND FUNKEY WILL BOYCOTT TOO!
BOYCOTT $NYDER AND FUNKEY WILL BOYCOTT TOO!
BOYCOTT $NYDER AND FUNKEY WILL BOYCOTT TOO!
BOYCOTT $NYDER AND FUNKEY WILL BOYCOTT TOO!
BOYCOTT $NYDER AND FUNKEY WILL BOYCOTT TOO!
BOYCOTT $NYDER AND FUNKEY WILL BOYCOTT TOO!
BOYCOTT $NYDER AND FUNKEY WILL BOYCOTT TOO!
BOYCOTT $NYDER AND FUNKEY WILL BOYCOTT TOO!
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BOYCOTT $NYDER AND FUNKEY WILL BOYCOTT TOO!
BOYCOTT $NYDER AND FUNKEY WILL BOYCOTT TOO!
BOYCOTT $NYDER AND FUNKEY WILL BOYCOTT TOO!
BOYCOTT $NYDER AND FUNKEY WILL BOYCOTT TOO!
BOYCOTT $NYDER AND FUNKEY WILL BOYCOTT TOO!
BOYCOTT $NYDER AND FUNKEY WILL BOYCOTT TOO!
BOYCOTT $NYDER AND FUNKEY WILL BOYCOTT TOO!

Posted by: hessone | November 8, 2009 10:57 PM | Report abuse

Landry makes a late hit. Hall is in the area for his teammate. Landry is able to get away first. Atlanta coaches grab and push Hall, shout stuff and throw at least one punch at Hall. Falcon players surround Hall. Haynesworth picks up a personal foul for pushing Falcon players out of the way. Hall never gets involved with players or coaches. Falcon players never fight with Hall. Hall is able to walk away and no penalty is called on him. The only problem I had with the entire thing is there wasn't a single sideline penalty. Hall will probably pick up a fine, but there is no doubt the coaches deserve a greater fine or suspension for their part.

Posted by: sitruc | November 8, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

For a guy who made his money in PR and marketing Snyder sure knows how to control a message. I love how the sign ban had the same effect as throwing kerosene on a fire and what would have been a local kerfuffle has turned into a national event that shows no sign of slowing down or going away. Eventually the team is going to get better and signs will once again be allowed, but it will be an even clearer indication that Snyder is a hypocrite.

Posted by: skipper7 | November 9, 2009 12:16 AM | Report abuse

Again,I was there. Other than watch "some" of the game, I spent most of the time watching the sideline. They looked like they wanted to be somewhere else. Even the coaches had with very little contact or conversation with the players. The overall demeanor was sad. Something needs to be done to get these guys back into this season.

It's sad to see a team just give up.

Posted by: Redskinsince1963 | November 9, 2009 1:05 AM | Report abuse

Zorn says he measures the season in quarterly increments. How did the last quarter go? Guess he won't be promoting that angle any more.

The Falcons were not even interested in the game and they still won easily.

Posted by: deepvalue | November 9, 2009 1:15 AM | Report abuse

if i may...

"I think the relentless negative coverage in The Washington Post is a real difference from previous years," Redskins COO David Donovan said, in a quote that I plan to have tattooed on my sternum before the end of November. "But in terms of the way our actual fans are behaving, we don't see any difference."

Posted by: formerlylove1 | November 9, 2009 1:43 AM | Report abuse

May I direct the choir to the Style section of Monday's paper - Tank Macnamara, for more revolutionary news. Would the Post consider moving Tank Macnamara to the Sports section for the duration of the Dan Snyder story line, and spending a little more money on ink to print it large enough to actually read?

Speaking of spending some money on ink - I get that this is a weBlog and all, but how about a special color insert with photos from the revolution?

Finally - choir practice Tuesday night at Gordon Biersch in Tysons Corner, 6-8 PM, at the taping of Redskins Late Night. Bring your robes (tee shirts).

Posted by: jburnetti | November 9, 2009 7:03 AM | Report abuse

Dan,

Thanks for taking the time to come out, speak to us, and get these pictures up.

All we can do is hold out hope for the future and voice our opinions.

-Antonio F.

Posted by: AFierro21 | November 9, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Please tell me that MeAngelo Hall has a huge dogfighting ring and is about to be sent far, far away from this team.

Posted by: Kev29 | November 9, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

I got a new movement for us depressed fans to get behind. It is simply this:

START CERRATTO AT QB! Can I get a revolutionary to print a sign or t-shirt with that on it.

Posted by: Predator48 | November 9, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

good work steinz. and i agree with the article, i was in cincy this weekend and the gameday experience was 50 times better than fedex.

Posted by: jpfterps | November 9, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

Thanks Dan for giving us fans yesterday at the Dome a look and a voice! I felt alot of love from my fellow fans, and was proud to be amongst them.
The Falcons fans, unlike us, were pretty passive and clapped when they scored. They were not overly enthused and we couldn't believe how quiet the Dome was. Our Redskins fans are and have always been a family of passionate, enthusiastic, die hard, life long fans. Jack Kent Cooke produced a well oiled machine, making wise decisions and trusting them, and also recognizing the fan base as an integral part of the organization. But since '99 the wheels have been falling off that cart.
I, as a lifelong fan, will always continue to have hope and support my team. But, I have the right to disagree/disapprove with everything else.
BUY RIGGO, BUY. Heck, I'll chip in. And, I can think of at least 100,000 others who would also...

Hail to the Redskins!
We will rise again in the A.D. (After Dan) I know this to be true.

Jen Hawkins (owner of the dog named Riggo)

Posted by: jenhawkins1 | November 9, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I got a new movement for us depressed fans to get behind. It is simply this:

START CERRATTO AT QB! Can I get a revolutionary to print a sign or t-shirt with that on it.

Posted by: Predator48


This is the most productive idea I've seen, make that [donkey] play behind the line he built.

Posted by: ncromcr | November 10, 2009 3:12 AM | Report abuse

man their are some real protesters check this guy out Link http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f108/thomasuras/skinsfanprotest.jpg

Posted by: thomasuras | November 10, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

Check this protester out link http://i46.photobucket.com/albums/f108/thomasuras/skinsfanprotest.jpg

Posted by: thomasuras | November 10, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

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