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Donovan McNabb's Washingtonian profile

Washingtonian's cover story this week is an absolutely massive profile of Donovan McNabb by Harry Jaffe, the same man who wrote probably the kindest Daniel Snyder story ever published. Jaffe talked with McNabb for two hours and also spoke extensively with McNabb's parents and others close to the quarterback. Washingtonian evidently follows the novel policy of not giving away their print material for free online, so I had to go to the supermarket and buy a copy. Well done, Washingtonian, squeezing $3.95 out of me like that.

In exchange for my money, I'll post four highlights from the story. You'll have to pay $3.95 to get the rest. Or, you know, stand in the checkout line for a few extra minutes and read it.

Snyder loves McNabb

Jaffe had a few words with Daniel Snyder about McNabb, evidently asking if the quarterback is part of the Deion Sanders, Bruce Smith, Albert Haynesworth progression.

"That's just a perception," Snyder said. "I'm not picking players, scouting prospects, watching film. I just write the checks."

And Snyder apparently enjoys writing the checks for No. 5.

"I've been watching Donovan pick us apart for a decade," Snyder told Jaffe. "I've always liked him. Now I love him."

Growing up

I haven't spent much time reading the in-depth McNabb biography, so some of his childhood stuff was new to me. After a shooting in their Chicago neighborhood when Donovan was 7, the family moved 18 miles away to a working-class town that was having its issues with diversity. Their new house had its windows smashed, and the N-word spray-painted on its walls. Quoting Jaffe:

Donovan remembers walking down his street, cars stopping and people throwing things at him. The kids net door used the N-word freely. "If they didn't like the color of your skin or the way you did something, they might start talking trash and then push you around," he says. "I couldn't stand there and take it. There were times I had to stand up like a man. I needed to put my hands on you so you knew I was for real."

Barkley weighs in

Charles Barkley told Jaffe that it's "a legitimate question" whether Philadelphia's ambivalence toward McNabb had to do with his skin color, with Barkley saying he believes there's "a double standard and a shorter leash for black quarterbacks."

"Clearly, he was a winner," Barkley told Jaffe. "He's done tremendous things in the community. He never gets in trouble. But from game to game, season to season, they wanted to replace him. He got booed from week to week. It's the most amazing thing."

His parents are happy

Sam and Wilma McNabb plan to attend every Redskins game this season. His dad told Jaffe that Donovan is "trying to be as successful or better than he was in Philly." And Jaffe wrote that the McNabbs "will say they are relieved that their son is out of Philly."

"No mother wants to see her son suffer," Wilma McNabb told Jaffe. "He's happy to be a Redskin. We're happy."

Now go buy the magazine, or at least read it at the checkout lane.

By Dan Steinberg  |  August 25, 2010; 9:23 PM ET
Categories:  Media , Redskins  
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Charles Barkley spewing more racial stuff. Can't we all just get along?

Posted by: dmacman88 | August 25, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

"That's just a perception," Snyder said. "I'm not picking players, scouting prospects, watching film. I just write the checks."


And beg for the coach to put in Jeff George instead of Brad Johnson. And send players ice cream and plasma TVs.

Barkley Limbaugh?

Posted by: WorstSeat | August 25, 2010 11:14 PM | Report abuse

Charles Barkley spewing more racial stuff. Can't we all just get along?

Posted by: dmacman88 | August 25, 2010 10:57 PM | Report abuse

That's not just "racial stuff." That's a legitimate gripe. I've been to Philly for Skins games and have been bombarded with the n-word more times than I care to remember. You may not see it nor be able to relate to it, but there is, indeed, a double-standard when it comes to blacks in high-level positions versus that of their white counterparts. Biracial president notwithstanding, this country still has its share of racial problems.

Back on topic, here's hoping McNabb does well in the burgundy-and-gold.

Posted by: stwasm | August 26, 2010 7:19 AM | Report abuse

Philly fans also booed Mike Schmidt for much of his career. I think they hate everyone.

Posted by: doubleuefwhy | August 26, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Philly fans hate the opposing players and fans, but not as much as they hate their OWN players. McNabb, though, is a special case, and while I agree that there are probably some Phiilly fans that booed him because of his race (for a "metropolitan" area, there sure are plenty of redneck crackers up there), my guess is that the vast majority of them booed him because they cretinous malcontents. To hear Philly fans tell it, McNabb has been surrounded by Jerry Rice-esque receivers for his entire tenure there and still never managed to "win the big one."

Posted by: RCBJr | August 26, 2010 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Do Kornheiser and Jaffe sit next to each other in the owner's box?

Posted by: rdpinva | August 26, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

When I lived in Philly I learned real quick. It is a very raciest city, the only way they keep the violence down is that they self segregated more or less at this point, buy race and ethnicity. There's a Irish hood, a Italian hood, black neighborhoods and Hispanic neighborhoods.

Posted by: alex35332 | August 26, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Philly native here, and yes it's a pretty racist town. My mom, who believed "they were happier when they kept to themselves" was considered dangerously liberal on the subject by many of her friends.

Posted by: zimbar | August 26, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Philly fans also booed SANTA CLAUS. Contrary to what his buddy Wilbon would have you believe, Barkley is an irrelevant moron.

Posted by: Barno1 | August 26, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

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