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NFL Network debates John Feinstein

By Dan Steinberg

I realize I'm way past the point of you all being sick of this topic.

Still. Sorry. I find it fascinating to track the Week 2 evolution of this story, driven by John Feinstein. The race angle needed just three days to make it from CSNWashington.com's Washington Post Live Extra to the NFL Network. This came during Thursday night's pre-game coverage; the transcript is via Reader Cindy.

Rich Eisen: "I want to talk to you guys about a story that is brewing in Washington DC right now. John Feinstein, the venerable author and also longtime Washington Post uh, Washington columnist, said essentially -- talking about the Donovan McNabb benching and the excuses or reasons for it that have come out of the head coach, Mike Shanahan and also from his son, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan about McNabb being out of shape and also the rumors that have come out that they've cut the playbook in half for him, saying that he doesn't know the playbook...."

Deion Sanders: "Are you kidding? Are you kidding? I don't know if I can take any more."

Marshall Faulk: "Oh, wow."

Eisen: "Hold on. This is what John Feinstein said on a Comcast television show just today:

I think there's racial coding going on here. And it's my believe that that kind of behavior is worth firing a coach for. [Faulk, Sanders and Steve Mariucci all hoot at this.] Dan Snyder's not going to do it, but I think it's out of control.'

"Deion Sanders , your thoughts?"

Sanders: "Don't play the race card. Let's not pull that. Let's not play that. I just think it was a horrible situation and a situation that couldn't be explained. The thing about a lie...when you tell a lie, you've got to tell another lie to cover up the lie that you just told. And I think it was a mirage of lies. "

Eisen: "Well, what were they lying about?"

Sanders: "Lying about he didn't have a grasp of the two-minute offense. This is Donovan McNabb. He didn't have a grasp of the two-minute offense? Was that the only time that they ran the two-minute offense this season? No, not by any means. That's an insult to Donovan McNabb's intelligence, but I would not play the race card in this factor."

Faulk: "But Mike Shanahan, and when I look at the situation all these things that are going on with the situation, he brought it on himself by not being honest and upfront when we asked at first...'Why was he not in the game? Why did you put Rex Grossman in?' There's no way that you have to cut a playbook in half for a guy that's been running the West Coast offense since he came into the NFL. What has he not seen or learned in the West Coast offense, if that's what they're running?"

Mariucci: "Playing the racial card is the most absurd thing I have ever heard in a long time. I think Mike made some mistakes with his press conferences and what he said. And he finally said something that made sense to me in the third press conference: that Donovan had a hamstring he was nursing, he was unable to practice the two-minute drill for five weeks straight, so the other guy played. I accept that and I can understand that. The other stuff about not knowing it, not being in shape, I don't think he meant to say that at all."

By Dan Steinberg  | November 12, 2010; 8:59 AM ET
Categories:  Media, Redskins  
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Next: Ovechkin scores, Caps fan does John Wall Dance

Comments

I appreciate the fact that the NFL Network can basically trash Junior's dopey insight with out really mentioning/plugging Junior in the context. Well done sirs.

Posted by: WaPoLiveFan16 | November 12, 2010 9:18 AM | Report abuse

1st..Normally, I have a lot of respect for Feinstein and his writings but this is over the top. Also, I love listening to Colin Cowherd and his comments yesterday about John Wall and whose his father was completely uncalled for. BTW, Colin--our President stopped having a father when he was 5 years old. Your pet, Rajan Rondo, lost his father when he was a teenager. These two ppl need to shut their trap.

Posted by: dank32 | November 12, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

1st..Normally, I have a lot of respect for Feinstein and his writings but this is over the top. Also, I love listening to Colin Cowherd and his comments yesterday about John Wall and whose his father was completely uncalled for. BTW, Colin--our President stopped having a father when he was 5 years old. Your pet, Rajan Rondo, lost his father when he was a teenager. These two ppl need to shut their trap.

Posted by: dank32 | November 12, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Each and every single one of those guys are racists themselves so they of course will be covering up for other racists...

Posted by: CapsNut | November 12, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Last NFL team to integrate.
Nickname offensive to Native Americans.
HC uses racial coding.

What's new here?

Posted by: rdpinva | November 12, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Last NFL team to integrate.
Nickname offensive to Native Americans.
HC uses racial coding.

What's new here?

Posted by: rdpinva | November 12, 2010 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully we judge by the content of character, not by the color of the skin.

McNabb is a man of class and a leader.

I Pity those who think otherwise and abhor reporters who bring up race to sell a newspaper.

Posted by: REDSKINRAYINCA | November 12, 2010 10:14 AM | Report abuse

Kudos to all of the analysts for refusing to take Feinstein's bait.

He still accomplished his goal of getting his name mentioned on national broadcasts. However, in a situation full of mistakes and misunderstandings-like the Redskins QB situation, I would at least hope that we are mature enough as a society to not immediately assume there were sinister racist intentions.

If Shanahan had just said "Donovan wasn't playing well and I wanted to give Rex a shot", this all would have died 2 weeks ago.

Posted by: jbanks979 | November 12, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I don't see this coaching/QB situation getting past this. Something has to change; someone has to GO. Shanny has to fire his kid or else DMac has to leave.

This whole team is fractured now and no spin doctoring can fix this.

Posted by: kahlua87 | November 12, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Hopefully we judge by the content of character, not by the color of the skin.

McNabb is a man of class and a leader.

I Pity those who think otherwise and abhor reporters who bring up race to sell a newspaper.

Posted by: REDSKINRAYINCA | November 12, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Mike Shannahan brought this upon himself he opened the race card aspect of this situation by saying Donovan doesn't know the playbook(not smart enough),out of shape(lazy) and can't run the two minute offense(again not smart enough)in addition Shannahan's playing an offensive lineman(Kory "whiff" Litinsteiger) who was out of the league last year over Derrick Dockery who has been a starter most of his career and then there's the case of Joey Galloway a wide receiver who's best day's are clearly behind him. I'm not going accuse Shannahan of racism but the implication's of stupidity are as clear as can be,like i said Shannahan dug this hole himself and yes i'm for firing him, not now but at the end of this season, anybody dumb enough to create this furor over his starting QB should be shown the door.

Posted by: dargregmag | November 12, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Snyder needs to pay off Shanahan and start anew next year!
It's his fault! There was a reason this guy was available. He's washed up! He lost the ear of the team he had in Denver.
Haven't won the big one since Elway.
Seriously Faulk,Mariucci and Sanders work for the NFL. What you thought they would say?

Dan we know why you're still on this topic.
The Hits all about the Hits.

Posted by: shamken | November 12, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Snyder needs to pay off Shanahan and start anew next year!
It's his fault! There was a reason this guy was available. He's washed up! He lost the ear of the team he had in Denver.
Haven't won the big one since Elway.
Seriously Faulk,Mariucci and Sanders work for the NFL. What you thought they would say?

Dan we know why you're still on this topic.
The Hits all about the Hits.

Posted by: shamken | November 12, 2010 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Can we please banish the phrase "play the race card" from our national dialogue? It's so glib. It's a wonder we still fail to treat each other fairly and maturely when we talk about our problems like children.

Posted by: prw46 | November 12, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Good to see everyone still thinks Feinstein is a race-baiting jerk.

Mariucci: "Playing the racial card is the most absurd thing I have ever heard in a long time." Well said Mariucci.

Czaban: "You've lost your mind, John. You've lost your mind." Well said Czaban.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 12, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

Finally, some common sense. The problem is that Feinstein has achieved his objective of attracting attention to himself with his absurd comments. Steinberg shares blame for that.

Posted by: poguesmahone | November 12, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

I guess we all know now if we didn't before where Feinstein falls on the political prism.

Everything can be explained in the context of race or class struggle.

This from a guy that gets $10M to write a book about college basketball.

When was the last time Feinstein joined the rest of us in the real world?

There's only so much you can see out of the limo window....

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | November 12, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Last NFL team to integrate.
Nickname offensive to Native Americans.
HC uses racial coding.

What's new here?

Posted by: rdpinva | November 12, 2010 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Nonsense. You do not get partial credit for getting 1 out of those 3 things right (that we were the last team to integrate). First off, Shanahan did not use any racial coding and suggesting he did is a disgusting and baseless attack. Secondly, the overwhelmingly vast majority of Native Americans do not take any offense to the team name "Redskins". There have been many studies on this, including one by Sports Illustrated and another by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. They have found that upwards of 90% of Native Americans are not bothered by the name.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 12, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

Snyder needs to pay off Shanahan and start anew next year!
It's his fault! There was a reason this guy was available. He's washed up! He lost the ear of the team he had in Denver.
Haven't won the big one since Elway.
Seriously Faulk,Mariucci and Sanders work for the NFL. What you thought they would say?

Dan we know why you're still on this topic.
The Hits all about the Hits.

Posted by: shamken | November 12, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Snyder needs to pay off Shanahan and start anew next year!
It's his fault! There was a reason this guy was available. He's washed up! He lost the ear of the team he had in Denver.
Haven't won the big one since Elway.

Posted by: shamken | November 12, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Gee...let me guess: you're a cowboys fan. Guessing you have never been to dallas either. Please go tie up the cowboys blogs and leave the DC blogs to DC sports fans.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 12, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Note to jbanks979: NO!! the situation would not have died two weeks ago, did you watch the Detroit game? McNabb was getting killed; from the opening snap the Redskins O-Line was getting pushed back into McNabb Donovan's lucky he wasn't seriously hurt Shannahan( father and son) didn't do anything at halftime to help McNabb out(like maybe rolling McNabb out, like maybe running a screen pass or draw plays to slow down the pass rush.

Posted by: dargregmag | November 12, 2010 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Honestly, I can take a lot. But, what Shannahan said struck me as racist. I'm sorry, I'm black, and I'm allowed to feel that way when someone says that a QB who's been in the league 11 years is too stupid to understand the playbook!!! And I don't even like McNabb, and if he would have pulled him out and said "this guy isn't playing right," I would have completely understood.

Secondly, what were Deion and Faulk supposed to say? Really, aren't they appealing to a national audience, and doesn't the public look down on race being brought into the conversation, let alone being told that someone is racist. Professional Blacks have been trained to just completely ignore racism in favor of pleasing their employers.

Lastly, please someone go watch the South Park episode on the N Word. You know what Stan says to Token over his Dad's use of the N word.............. "I don't get it." Can people just say you know what "I don't get it."

Posted by: AWiseManOnceSaid | November 12, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

9 times out of 10 I find Feinstein to be very knowledgable, insightful...interesting. Not this time. IDIOT. To suggest that Shanny should be fired is ludicrous.

Look, what happened here if fairly simple. McNabb has not been playing well, period. Nothing new there...he's been up and down his whole career with Philly, and he's done the same here so far. Shanny I and/or Shanny II were furious by the last INT he threw in the Lions game and they yanked him. In hindsight I think he realizes the timing was horrible and he's done a poor job with damage control (understatement), but that's all there is to it. If McNabb plays fairly well against Philly and we pull out a win this will all (hopefully) go away.

Now on to more important things....we will be wearing GOLD pants on Monday night, yes?

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

"Professional Blacks have been trained to just completely ignore racism in favor of pleasing their employers."

Awisemanoncesaid,

It's pitifully ignorant people like you that will always keep racism alive in this country. Shanahan never said McNabb was "too stupid." No one said anything remotely like that, well except you. Coaches scale back offenses for QBs in their first year in a new system with new terminology ALL THE TIME. And it has nothing to do with race. Your comment that race played a role is a disgusting and baseless attack for which you should be ashamed.

McNabb is in his first year in this offense, Grossman is in his second. That's what this boiled down to. It was still a stupid coaching decision and I would still take McNabb in his first year vs Grossman in his 10th year, but the fact remains that the coach has every right to put in whichever player he wants.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 12, 2010 12:21 PM | Report abuse

9 times out of 10 I find Feinstein to be very knowledgable, insightful...interesting. Not this time. IDIOT. To suggest that Shanny should be fired is ludicrous.

Look, what happened here if fairly simple. McNabb has not been playing well, period. Nothing new there...he's been up and down his whole career with Philly, and he's done the same here so far. Shanny I and/or Shanny II were furious by the last INT he threw in the Lions game and they yanked him. In hindsight I think he realizes the timing was horrible and he's done a poor job with damage control (understatement), but that's all there is to it. If McNabb plays fairly well against Philly and we pull out a win this will all (hopefully) go away.

Now on to more important things....we will be wearing GOLD pants on Monday night, yes?

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

@AWiseManOnceSaid | November 12, 2010 12:12 PM |

Very well said, thank you. For those of us who are not African American, we need to take very seriously the thoughts of those who are when thinking about Shanahan's comments and actions.

Posted by: eric22 | November 12, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

@AWiseManOnceSaid | November 12, 2010 12:12 PM |

Very well said, thank you. For those of us who are not African American, we need to take very seriously the thoughts of those who are when thinking about Shanahan's comments and actions.

Posted by: eric22 | November 12, 2010 12:33 PM | Report abuse

The premise many of you have started with is way, way off. It is not okay to publicly accuse or even merely privately suspect someone of using "racial coding" when there is no evidence nor pattern to support this disgusting claim. "Racial coding" is a phrase that implies racism; when you accuse someone of racial coding you are accusing them of racism--you are accusing them of being a racist. You can't subtly say McNabb is too dumb to play the QB position because of his skin color and not be a racist. There is simply no way to reconcile a man using racial coding without him being a racist. And there are few things worse than being accused of racism.

In 2010, it is not perfectly understandable to believe racism played a role despite the history the Redskins organization. It is not understandable that wounds have been opened. It is not understandable and it is not okay. Let me tell you why. As we all know, there were countless institutions in this country that still exist--including government institutions--that used to discriminate several decades ago. The laws have changed and the civil rights era ushered in a host of new protections against discrimination and a guarantee of equal rights for all. Therefore, in 2010, should a black person who gets disciplined by any government agency assume it's because of their skin color, since 50 years ago that may have been the case? Of course not. It is bologna racial-victim mentality nonsense, it serves no one, and anyone who engages in it should be ashamed. Yet it's been happening a lot this past 10 days because media pundits keep saying it's perfectly understandable. Well, it's not. You are not a victim because your ancestors were discriminated again. I am not a victim because my ancestors were tortured and killed during the Holocaust. And it is not okay to always assume any white supervisor who disciplines a black employee did so because of skin color or vice versa. Not in 2010. We are past that.

We have come so far in this country when it comes to racial issues, yet folks like John Feinstein and Mike Wilbon still do their best to set us back 40-50 years--even if they do it unintentionally.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 12, 2010 12:37 PM | Report abuse

Think it is not racial all you want. he insulted the guys intelligence and fitness for 2 weeks now. the Feinstein comments are not as much about the racial coding as it is Shanahan being a leak and continuing to denounce and demonize his so-called "star" player. fortunately the player has enough respect that NO-ONE buys what the coach was saying. nevertheless, the coach tried to sell a known quantity as being ignorant, of which it has been aacceptable label placed on Black athletes. the shame is no Black people are speaking up for him, not even himself.


Professional athletes are the least racially conscience and active folks of us all as they do not want to risk losing out on money by being outspoken. tiger woods and Michael jordan are easy examples. then compare them to Jim Brown and Bill Russell. when have you ever seen Micael jordan be "BLACK" other than touting himself. recall how dismissive MJ was when folks spoke to him about kids getting killed over his tenniss shoes. MJ did not rock the boat of corporate Nike. Deion sanders is a showboating jerri curl wearing clown. he can never live down being jerri curl wearing primetime, dancing and prancing like a pawn for most of his career. Marshall Faulk is a well spoken guy is from new orleans, Carver high school, not far from the 9th ward. he knows it, but he wont say it on TV. Neither of these guys are rebels to challenge the system based on race.

Posted by: simplewords999 | November 12, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Shut up Barno.

Posted by: mack1 | November 12, 2010 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Mack1, this has been your standard go-to line for about 3 or 4 years on these blogs. Are you really this lazy, that you can't come up with any counter argument other than "shut up"?

Posted by: Barno1 | November 12, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Shut up Barno.

Posted by: mack1 | November 12, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

This became a story because Shanahan is clinically incapable of admitting fault. While I don't think that this is racial coding, I do think the idiotic rationale for sitting him, thrown out to the public as red meat to humiliate McNabb, certainly won't endear Shanahan to his players or to us DC natives. He better win, and fast, or his leash is going to get shorter around here, with these kinds of shenanigans..

Posted by: chop1 | November 12, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

Can somebody explain to me why we should give a ishh what this Feinstein guy says? I've heard his name a lot but never read his book or anything. When I hear his name, I just associate it with being a Redskin hater (I assume he has an ax to grind for some reason).

His comments about "racial coding" (are you fn serious?) don't even deserve discussion.

Posted by: dpkennedy | November 12, 2010 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I guess Mack1 really is that lazy.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 12, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Ah, but can you actually shut up every once in a while Barno? Do you have to be such a reliable source for holier-than-thou, blow-hard pontifications? Can you go part-time with your effort to bore us to death with you predictable, pompous, half-inch deep opinions on everything printed in the sports section? Is it possible? Hell, I even agree with you sometimes, I really do. But your grating tone makes me regret it. So do us all a favor and try shutting up or at least toning down the self-righteousness. Eliminate the need for strangers to tell you to shut up.

Posted by: mack1 | November 12, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

"Can we please banish the phrase "play the race card" from our national dialogue? It's so glib. It's a wonder we still fail to treat each other fairly and maturely when we talk about our problems like children.

Posted by: prw46 | November 12, 2010 10:51 AM"

Absolutely. Let's strike that phrase and replace it with something strictly factual, and a better snapshot of the WHOLE picture.

The new phrase will be [used in a sentence]:

I hate it "when people make baseless allegations about how another person thinks or acts towards a person or people while the accuser has NO legitimate evidence or insight as to the thought processes of the person being accused, especially when those comments themselves border on slander and/or liable, yet those same accusers are able to make such groundless statements with impugnity based solely on the fact that actual acts of discrimination and hateful actions of other people unrelated to the person(s) involved decades ago occurred that have NOTHING to do with the given situation at hand.".

Thank you for your support in this new, and more accurate depiction of the issue at hand.

Good luck, and may your deity of choice (or specific and abject lack thereof, for all you Athiests out there) do whatever it is they should do in a positive manner for or wish to you!

Shanahan said more than he wanted to, tried to cover it up---twice. He's guilty of not saying, " I though Donovan had been beaten on enough and I was going to give Rex some reps.". Period.

Bad judgement and insufficient forethought.

Happy Weekend, Kids.

Posted by: ThinkingMan | November 12, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

DONT CALL ME JUNIOR.

Posted by: sorenoid | November 12, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

Just to play devil's advocate here, wouldn't this study suggest that roughly 10% of those surveyed do find the name offensive?

Conversely, what percent find the name Colts offensive? Or Ravens? Or Patriots? Or Chargers? Just a few examples.

Would it be a stretch to say that Washington has the most offensive team name in the NFL? The moniker may not reach everyone's threshold of offensiveness, but it seems to be found offensive by more people than any other team name in professional football.

-----

There have been many studies on this, including one by Sports Illustrated and another by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. They have found that upwards of 90% of Native Americans are not bothered by the name.

Posted by: JohninMpls | November 12, 2010 2:44 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to AWiseManOnceSaid & also to simplewords999. Just because Sanders & Faulk aren't willing to talk about it on camera doesn't mean that people of color aren't talking about it amongst themselves. And furthermore only too glad for Feinstein to have brought the subject up.

And to those who vehemently protest otherwise, I say what in your personal background makes you qualified to recognize racism ?

Posted by: ubetonit | November 12, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Hell, I even agree with you sometimes, I really do.

Posted by: mack1 | November 12, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

When? All you ever write is "shut up" and "go away". You don't offer any opinions on anything. And you can call me self-righteous all you want, but in this instance, I don't see how calling out Feinstein is self-righteous at all. Hundreds, if not more, of comments on this website have similarly called out Feinstein for his remarks. There is nothing self-righteous about it. If you have a specific example, let's see.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 12, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

I tend to agree with Feinstein on this one.

Question, though. I see Feinstein has a second (?) wife and that his new wife, Chris, just delivered a baby, Jill.

Will all due respect, and trying my best not to read like Pastor John Hagee or Rev. Pat Robinson, what in the hell is the 54-year-old Feinstein doing by reentering the Baby Business?

Feinstein will be just shy of 60 when that lovely child enters kindergarten, a full-blown 70 when she tries to get a driver’s permit, and 76 if and when she graduates from a four-year college.

Most guys have a midlife crisis, cheat on the Missus, buy a sports car they don’t need, and dye their hair. They do not do a sequel to Child Rearing with an added Geritol Twist.

Posted by: MarkinJC | November 12, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

It's all in the tone Barno. Read what, and how, you write. You come across like an ass sometimes. Even when you're right. Like when your defense of Gilbert or occasionally your take on the 'skins. It's the high horse stuff that irritates.

Posted by: mack1 | November 12, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Ok, Mack1, hard to argue with your points. I can't say I'm not an a** sometimes.

Posted by: Barno1 | November 12, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Got to agree with Barno1, if you have a black QB, you can't sit him down for poor play or you're a racist! This and the NFL is becoming a joke... If we could just find the next Peyton Manning, this would not be an issue...

Posted by: delskinsfan | November 12, 2010 5:43 PM | Report abuse

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