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Shanahan and the Bush family


(Images from the AP archives.)


Remember when Jim Zorn became mountain-biking buddies with President Bush? Turns out he actually has less of a history with the Bush family than new Redskins coach Mike Shanahan.

Before I go any further, I list these episodes not for any particular reason other than we live in Washington and people like to read about politics. I'm not trying to judge anyone's politics. But with a past coach who rode bikes with Bush, and another past coach (Joe Gibbs) who spoke at the RNC Convention, and a current coach who has campaigned for Bush, and a GM whose brother is George Allen, and a franchise that gave $50,000 to Bob McDonnell in the Virginia gubernatorial race, well, maybe you can guess which way the franchise tilts politically.

Anyhow, most of this is common knowledge, but it was new to me. A quick rundown of Shanahan's history with the Bush family.

March, 2000: Candidate Bush appeared with Shanahan and others at the Broncos headquarters just minutes after John McCain dropped out from the race, leading to a victory rally atmosphere and verbal jabs at Al Gore. From the Rocky Mountain News:

Sportscaster Dave Logan served as the master of ceremonies. The Bronco cheerleaders tossed miniature footballs into the crowd. And Bronco coach Mike Shanahan gave Bush a team jersey and made him an "honorary Bronco" as fireworks sparked behind them.

Former Broncos Steve Sewell, Randy Gradishar, Rich Karlis and Billy Thompson also shared the stage with Bush.

Bush praised Shanahan and said, "Mike Shanahan shares the same values that we share: family, faith and integrity."

After media criticism and some complains from fans, the organization offered an explanation for the rally. Again, from the Rocky Mountain News:

Joe Ellis, who is the Broncos vice president of business operations, and Bush are first cousins. Ellis' mother, Nancy, is the sister of former President George Bush. And it was Ellis who arranged Bush's appearance at Broncos headquarters.

"I probably put family loyalty in front of the organization, and I'm not sure I'd do it again," Ellis said. "It was not intended to be a Broncos-for-Bush rally. It appeared as an endorsement, but the intention was only to greet him. It was supposed to be a small rally, with an opportunity for the media to speak with (Bush) in our team meeting room."

Ellis said he felt particularly bad for Shanahan, who has been criticized for being pictured with Bush. The Denver Rocky Mountain News' photo showed Bush accepting a Broncos jersey from Shanahan.

"I asked Mike to do those things," Ellis said. "He took abuse that I don't believe he should have received. But I'm not sure I'd do it again, given the light the organization was put in."



October, 2004: Shanahan apparently decided he would indeed do it again, appearing at a Bush reelection rally near Denver. By this time, his daughter was roommates with Jenna Bush in New York (they met in college), and he had spent time with the family socially.

"I want to thank my friend Mike Shanahan for being up on stage with me," Bush said in his remarks. "I appreciate him taking the time. I said, you got any suggestions? He said, yes, stay on the offense."

The appearance made Shanahan miss his weekly TV spot, despite being rushed to the station in the president's motorcade. Reporters later asked him about the seeming endorsement.

"I've got to do what I think is right," Shanahan said. "I've had a chance to be around him in a little bit more of a family-type atmosphere. I really respect the man, and I respect how he handles himself, his values. That's why I was there."

November, 2004: After the election, Shanahan told the AP that he'd send the President a note of congrats.

"When you get the chance to know people on a casual basis, as friends, and you sit down -- I'm more about people than anything else," Shanahan said. "I'm not big on politics. I do know good people, and he's a great person."

Shanahan also praised John Kerry in defeat, saying "I can respect the effort and amount of time he put in. It's tough to go through that. I know how he feels. It feels like the losses during the season."

January, 2005: Shanahan went to the Bush inauguration.

March, 2006: Shanahan dined at the Capital Grille in downtown D.C. with Jenna Bush and about 10 others, according to The Reliable Source.

May, 2008: Shanahan attended Jenna Bush's wedding. "Very well done. Nice ranch. Couldn't have been better," he said, according to The Denver Post.

July, 2009: Speaking with the Denver Post's Woody Paige, Shanahan described his daughter's recent wedding. Jenna Bush was one of the bridesmaids, and Mike brought in a 20-piece orchestra from New York for the affair. No mention of the President himself being in attendance.


By Dan Steinberg  |  January 11, 2010; 11:57 AM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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Comments

First baby!

Posted by: Rocky420 | January 11, 2010 12:14 PM | Report abuse

Well..... Nobody's perfect?

Posted by: peterandmeredith | January 11, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

So what?

Posted by: LouLewis | January 11, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, I agree- so what?

Regardless of any political affiliation, let's keep sports and politics SEPARATE please. People in Washington that like to read about politics can read about them in, say, the politics section of the post. Thoroughly enjoy the Bog otherwise, but I gotta chime in with constructive criticism where I see fit.

Posted by: PropJoe | January 11, 2010 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I watch sports such as football when I want to return to my unevolved neanderthal instincts. Thus it shouldn't be surprising that those who immerse themselves in such a business would vote for and support unevolved neanderthal individuals like Bush.

Posted by: Jambon99 | January 11, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I've come to accept that nearly every white person associated with pro sports is a Republican. Just the way it is. (I don't mean that in a racist way, incidentally; I'm white myself.) It's no different from accepting that nearly every actor/musician/artist in general is a Democrat.

So am I surprised? No. But if you're upset with the team's Republican leadership, you should first point the finger at Daniel Snyder, who has donated more money to Republicans than any NFL owner except the Spanos family (San Diego Chargers.) The District of Columbia may be 90% Democratic, but Redskins Park is 90% Republican.

Posted by: drischord | January 11, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Just when I thought the Redskins couldn't possibly be any dumber, they go and do something like this... and totally redeem themselves!

Posted by: fushezzi | January 11, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Who cares! If Shanny goes 12-4 next year, he can take pictures with almost anyone he pleases!

Posted by: rich20ssu | January 11, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

No you understand why, Rooney Rule or no Rooney Rule, there will never be a Macaca as the Head Coach of the Washington Redskins.

Sure, maybe interim, or throw another guy out there to do a nice dance for a payback gig, like say Defensive Coordinator.

Posted by: VeloStrummer | January 11, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

Kyle Shanahan and Jenna Bush were close friends at UT-Austin together; thus, the family connection. (One of my former roommates was in the same sorority as Jenna, is how I know.) This is such a non-story.

Posted by: cali_snowboarder | January 11, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

Anoyone think it's a coincidence that a team that sues grandmothers would be Republican. It certainly explains the utter incompetence shown at every level of the organization.

Posted by: bflorhodes | January 11, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm liking Shanahan more and more...

Posted by: sovine08 | January 11, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't care about his politics, I care about wins. Whether he supported Bush or Kerry, McCain or Obama is completely irrelevant to his abilities on the football field.

Ironically, as Al Davis once said, "Just win baby!"

Posted by: hobbes9 | January 11, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Does the GENIUS have a political filter in place when he hires for Head Coach?

Posted by: atidwell | January 11, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Great! Way to get all the liberals in the DC area all riled up and on the hate Shanny bandwagon! I mean really...how easy a target is ANYONE in and around that town that dares to be a Republican or a conservative? I am surprised Feinstein didn't write this. He loves to find a way to drag his left-leaning politics into sports. Maybe it’s the liberal rag you work for that wants you to weave politics into sports. Keep it out! Sports is one of the only distractions left and you and your paper refuse to let us have it as such.

Posted by: refusetogivein | January 11, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

"This is such a non-story." What's a non-story? Do you mean a story without merit? I guess a blank page would be a non-story. It would also be a non-tiger, a non-glue factory, the only thing it would be is a piece of paper. Is a non-story related to nonsense?

With regard to the GENIUS's hiring of Shanahan I hope he hasn't misunderestimated him.

Posted by: atidwell | January 11, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

It could be worse Shanny and the Redskins could have supported Obama. Thank you Mr. Snyder for standing for what you believe in.

Posted by: skinsfaninWI | January 11, 2010 2:07 PM | Report abuse

"This is such a non-story." What's a non-story? Do you mean a story without merit? I guess a blank page would be a non-story. It would also be a non-tiger, a non-glue factory, the only thing it would be is a piece of paper. Is a non-story related to nonsense?
----

Cute; if you're not familiar with the slangy term-of-art "non-story," then, well, go look it up, lol.

Kyle and Jenna know each other, and because of their friendship their parents socialize occasionally, too, would have been the true story, if there was one here. If Steinberg truly wanted to provide "a quick rundown of Shanahan's history with the Bush family," as this article purports, then he should have included the most important detail.

As you were...

Posted by: cali_snowboarder | January 11, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Would be reading any of this is this were not the Washington Post??

Posted by: FlFrank | January 11, 2010 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Well I hope that he doesn't call any Republican plays . . . those have been known to bomb, historically that is.

Posted by: Corvis777 | January 11, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Guess I knew it was inevitable that I'd be accused of liberal and/or conservative bias here. That's why I wrote this:

"I list these episodes not for any particular reason other than we live in Washington and people like to read about politics."

It's the same reason I wrote about Gilbert Arenas's Obama tattoo, and Caron Butler coming out in favor of Obama, and Etan Thomas going to the DNC Convention, and Lorenzo Alexander and Leigh Torrence campaigning for Obama, and on and on and on. I'm interested in politics, and I'm interested in D.C. sports, and when the two intersect, I'm interested. That's it. Nothing more conspiratorial than that. If this is not at all interesting to you, it's likely the last word I'll ever post about it, so don't worry.

And Cali person, I noted the childrens' friendship in the item. I'm still interested, regardless. Sorry.

Posted by: DanSteinberg1 | January 11, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Would be reading any of this is this were not the Washington Post??


Posted by: FlFrank

Would you be writing any of that if you were not a jerkoff?

Posted by: iubiquity | January 11, 2010 2:40 PM | Report abuse

This is a Bush war pun very much intended; I would not mind at all if Shanahan re-declared war on the Cowboys.

Posted by: memyselfI1 | January 11, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

No worries, just in keyboard-warrior this a.m. :P

Posted by: cali_snowboarder | January 11, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

It's a story because it has become apparent that to work for the Redskins you must be conservative and Christian. It seems to be a requirement, as far as I can tell. It's probably why they felt they could hire Zorn, The Danny "saw into his heart" as it were. No John Riggins' need apply.

Posted by: tarquam | January 11, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

So what!!!!

Posted by: davescareer22 | January 11, 2010 3:15 PM | Report abuse

It's a story because it has become apparent that to work for the Redskins you must be conservative and Christian.

Posted by: tarquam

You're absolutely right. Actually, Gibbs left the team because Snyder converted to Scientology a few years ago. I read it on the internet.

Don't worry, I'm just being glib.

Posted by: LouLewis | January 11, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Who seriously cares what someone's political views are? How does that affect his ability to coach a football team in the slightest.

The above photo does make me wince a bit in my soul, but does not affect my opinion of Shanahan the coach in the slightest. I don't want my coaches to agree with me about who they vote for, I want them to win games. I could care less if Shannahan advocated the establishment of a constitutional socialist monarchy (yes that makes no sense) if he makes the redskins respectable again.

Posted by: jbanks979 | January 11, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

No you understand why, Rooney Rule or no Rooney Rule, there will never be a Macaca as the Head Coach of the Washington Redskins.

Sure, maybe interim, or throw another guy out there to do a nice dance for a payback gig, like say Defensive Coordinator.

Posted by: VeloStrummer | January 11, 2010 1:27 PM | Report abuse

it has become apparent that to work for the Redskins you must be conservative and Christian. It seems to be a requirement, as far as I can tell. It's probably why they felt they could hire Zorn, The Danny "saw into his heart" as it were. No John Riggins' need apply.

Posted by: tarquam | January 11, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

It's people like the 2 guys quoted above that are wrong with this country. They see everything through a racial prism and are so quick to throw around/insinuate the very serious charge of "racist" without even the slightest shred of evidence to support this outrageously offensive accusation. "It doesn't matter if you have a black defensive coordinator, a black quarterback, a black secondary coach, etc...we'll still call you a racist owner if we feel like it" is what these two are saying.

Seriously, get a clue you two. Get a clue.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 11, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Let's keep sports, politics AND RELIGION separate! We don't need yet another coach who thinks praying is going to help his team win!

Posted by: Rational_Man | January 11, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

I've come to accept that nearly every white person associated with pro sports is a Republican. Just the way it is. (I don't mean that in a racist way, incidentally; I'm white myself.) It's no different from accepting that nearly every actor/musician/artist in general is a Democrat.

So am I surprised? No. But if you're upset with the team's Republican leadership, you should first point the finger at Daniel Snyder, who has donated more money to Republicans than any NFL owner except the Spanos family (San Diego Chargers.) The District of Columbia may be 90% Democratic, but Redskins Park is 90% Republican.

Posted by: drischord | January 11, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I assure you the demographics in pro sports for republicans are not nearly what you believe. There are a number of high profile white athletes who tilt to the left, from Steve Nash to Andre Agassi, from Lance Armstrong to Bill Walton, to John McEnroe.

On the other hand, there are very few black Republican athletes. J.C Watts and Lynn Swann are the only 2 that come to mind, and Watts never played in the NFL. Barkley flirted with conservatism back in the early 90s but that's over now.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 11, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Slow day for the Cheese Boy

Posted by: MPNangle | January 11, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Excellent reporting. Haunts me everytime i watch them. I know we should be keeping this seperate but there is only so much I can ignore. Taking into account everything Steinberg reports, as well as

- the origin of REDSkins and where it came from (its disgusting). Snyders refusal to consider changing it. big surpise.
- the last football organization to hire a black athlete, and under protest
- Joe Gibbs a Jesus freak and preaching at the RNC, and subtly claiming McCain is GODs choice (I couldn't believe my ears)
- Joe Bugel saying before 2004 election that we'll win and hopefully break the streak of Dems winning when we play sunday before. Don't worry, skins lost - badly.
- Dan Snyder ... There isn't enough room to write here.
- Never giving serious thought to offering an African American the headcoaching job
- hiring Bruce allen, brother of Klan apologist and Republican VA senator making racists xenophobic remarks to win over southern VA crowd.
- all the redneck redskin fans i've met through the years and hearing their xenophobic remarks towards foreigners.

btw, i've been a skins fan since i was 4. and now i just feel like i'm rooting for colors. I only like Jason cambell and fletcher.

Posted by: normalPerson | January 11, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

It's people like the 2 guys quoted above that are wrong with this country. They see everything through a racial prism and are so quick to throw around/insinuate the very serious charge of "racist" without even the slightest shred of evidence to support this outrageously offensive accusation. "It doesn't matter if you have a black defensive coordinator, a black quarterback, a black secondary coach, etc...we'll still call you a racist owner if we feel like it" is what these two are saying.

Seriously, get a clue you two. Get a clue.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 11, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Where in my post did I reference Snyder's racial views? Find me someone Danny has hired who is not super-conservative and/or super-christian and maybe I'll cut him some slack, but he hasn't hired those people. As far as the rest of your "thoughts"...Defensive much? Danny? Is that you haunting the Sports Bog comments?

Posted by: tarquam | January 11, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

You're absolutely right. Actually, Gibbs left the team because Snyder converted to Scientology a few years ago. I read it on the internet.

Don't worry, I'm just being glib.

Posted by: LouLewis | January 11, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Hey! You might be on to something there...

Posted by: tarquam | January 11, 2010 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Nice job compiling all of the info Dan.

As for the connections with Bush, though they do irk me personally, winning games will take care of any complaints. I just hope that Shanahan hasn't decided to emulate Bush's management style, or there won't be many wins.

Posted by: rawk | January 11, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

"Find me someone Danny has hired who is not super-conservative and/or super-christian"

Isn't Snyder Jewish?

Posted by: jj250 | January 11, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

It's people like the 2 guys quoted above that are wrong with this country. They see everything through a racial prism and are so quick to throw around/insinuate the very serious charge of "racist" without even the slightest shred of evidence to support this outrageously offensive accusation. "It doesn't matter if you have a black defensive coordinator, a black quarterback, a black secondary coach, etc...we'll still call you a racist owner if we feel like it" is what these two are saying.

Seriously, get a clue you two. Get a clue.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 11, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Facts are facts. He never gave serious consideration to an African American head coach. And honestly that's not my biggest issue with Snyder, but still a fact. Can you deny it? Oh, and that's funny you can say I look at things through a racial prism when you can easily real off the only black athletes who are republicans. Keeping count maybe?

Posted by: normalPerson | January 11, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"I just hope that Shanahan hasn't decided to emulate Bush's management style, or there won't be many wins."

Well, he won 2 Super Bowls, didn't he?

Posted by: jj250 | January 11, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

More reason to like Coach Shanahan!!

Posted by: Section104 | January 11, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

"He never gave serious consideration to an African American head coach. "

How do you know that? Were you involved in the coaching search and interview process? I believe Ron Meeks had more than one interview the last go-around.

Posted by: jj250 | January 11, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

"the last football organization to hire a black athlete, and under protest"

Is this Snyder's fault too?

Posted by: jj250 | January 11, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

"Find me someone Danny has hired who is not super-conservative and/or super-christian"

Isn't Snyder Jewish?

Posted by: jj250 | January 11, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

I dunno, I only see who he hires for the football team.

Posted by: tarquam | January 11, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Bog readers should click the "report abuse" button next to the comments from "normalPerson" at 4:22 PM. His/her despicable, ignorant comments have absolutely no place on this blog.

Posted by: Barno1 | January 11, 2010 5:12 PM | Report abuse

Um, I think he hired Marty, Gibbs and Shanahan b/c they had a pretty good track record as NFL coaches, regardless of their religous beliefs.

Posted by: jj250 | January 11, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

If we worry about political affiliations of coaches, managers, and players it would drive us crazy! A large majority of them are conservative republicans!! They have it all!! Most don't give a hoot about the fans who can't afford to go to the games!! If the NFL or Major League baseball attempted to field teams that were not republicans there would only be a handful of participants available. Let's indeed separate politics and sports and cheer on our favorite team (from the comfort of our own homes.)

Posted by: johnunion1 | January 11, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

"If we worry about political affiliations of coaches, managers, and players it would drive us crazy!"

Amen! Go Skins!

Posted by: jj250 | January 11, 2010 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Dan, I'm sorry that not many of the readers can handle a story like this. Good work.

Posted by: trolly_time | January 11, 2010 6:31 PM | Report abuse

We all knew Shanny was smart on the football field, now I know he is smart off of it as well

Posted by: feltym5 | January 11, 2010 7:24 PM | Report abuse

what a stupid irrelevant article - go find something notewothy to write about

Posted by: whelms | January 11, 2010 11:23 PM | Report abuse

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