There was a point during the summer when the Washington Redskins dropped their name, their owner was making headlines for scandal, and after 50 years of following the team, I wondered if I could keep being a fan.
The notion was unthinkable if you’ve been around me very long. I fell in love with this team at a very young age after seeing Sonny Jurgensen throw touchdown passes to Charley Taylor, Bobby Mitchell and Jerry Smith while growing up in Norfolk, and it has defined who I am as a sports fan ever since. Sunday afternoons have been sacred ever since, and the people I worked with quickly learned if there was an emergency and the choice was to call me at 2 AM or during a Redskins game, the smart pick was to call me at 2 AM.
My family chuckles now at the story, but back in late 1999, a company with headquarters in Tysons Corner called and offered me the job of being president of one of its divisions. The deciding factor for me was the company’s willingness to let me live in Ashburn, have an office in Tysons Corner, and fly back and forth to Los Angeles (where the division was located). Why Ashburn, the company asked? Because that’s where the Redskins were headquartered.
I’ve lived here in Ashburn for the last 20 years because of that job.
The Dan Snyder years have been mostly bad with occasional rays of sunlight, but they were still the burgundy and gold, and they still had the history of Sonny, Joe Gibbs, the Super Bowl years, etc. that made me keep coming back. Not being a fan seemed like divorcing your spouse of 50 years. They were family and it was until death do us part.
I once even told a friend recently I didn't know if I could keep being a fan and his response was "are you being serious? I mean, you were in sales for most of your life so I can't tell when you're telling the truth."
As I've said many times, I need to make better friends.
But I’ll be honest, dropping the name made it tougher than I thought. Perhaps if they had actually picked another name, it would be different. But the whole “Washington Football Team” just seemed like more of Snyder’s nonsense. Plus he had his marketing minions push how wonderful and refreshing it was to do this in the same manner he has urinated on all of us while telling us it’s just rain as the team craters every year.