Redskins

Chiefs owner Hunt: 'So many people are hurting'

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Chiefs owner Hunt: 'So many people are hurting'

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt offered his condolences Sunday to the families affected by the murder-suicide involving one of his players, calling it ``an incredibly difficult 24 hours for our family and for our organization.''

Hunt spoke to The Associated Press on the field before the Chiefs' game against the Carolina Panthers. He said the Chiefs consulted with the league about whether to play the game as scheduled, but ultimately left it up to coach Romeo Crennel and the team captains to decide.

Crennel, general manager Scott Pioli and defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs were in the parking lot of the Chiefs' practice facility Saturday morning when linebacker Jovan Belcher shot himself in the head. Belcher had shot his girlfriend multiple times at a nearby residence minutes earlier.

Hunt said Pioli called him from the parking lot immediately after the shooting, and that he flew from his home in the Dallas area to Kansas City on Saturday afternoon.

``I spent the evening last night at the team hotel with them,'' Hunt said. ``I wanted to be there with the team, with the coaches, to let them know I love them and support them and know what they're going through, and particularly the guys who were present in the parking lot when Jovan took his life. I know this has to be incredibly difficult.''

The Chiefs had several counselors on hand at the team hotel Saturday night. The NFL and the players' association have also pledged their support to the team.

Hunt said that Belcher was ``a player who had not had a long concussion history.''

Belcher was in his fourth year with the Chiefs after making the team as an undrafted free agent out of Maine, and team officials said he was particularly close to Pioli.

``We have a lot of players who were struggling, people who had spent countless hours with Jovan over the last several years, the linebacking group in particular,'' Hunt said. ``I know it's going to be difficult for them today. I told them all we can do in a situation like this is pull together as a family and support each other.''

Kansas City police have not released a motive for the shooting of 22-year-old Kasandra M. Perkins, other than to say the couple had been arguing in recent days. They left behind a 3-month-old daughter, Zoey, who was being cared for by family.

The Chiefs intend to help start a foundation to help the infant later in the life.

``We lost two members of the Chiefs family,'' Hunt said. ``Kasandra was part of our Chiefs women's organization, and had done things in the community with the CWO group. They have a daughter now, Zoey, who is an orphan. I can't imagine how difficult that's going to be for her.''

Some of the Chiefs huddled together in prayer in the tunnel leading to the field prior to pregame stretching. The Chiefs had a moment of silence for all victims of domestic abuse before the national anthem on Sunday. After running back Peyton Hillis scored a touchdown on the opening possession, he ran to the sideline and gave the ball to Crennel along with a hug.

Hunt said that he had a number of conversations Saturday with Commissioner Roger Goodell on whether to play the game against Carolina as scheduled. Ultimately, Hunt asked Crennel to discuss with team captains how they wanted to proceed.

``Of course, the captains had been in conversation with their teammates,'' Hunt said, ``and they unanimously believed the right thing to do was play the game.''

The Chiefs family has dealt before with murder-suicide. Retired tackle Jim Tyrer, a mainstay on the Super Bowl champion team of 1969, was reportedly despondent over not finding a job when he shot his wife and himself in their Kansas City home on the morning of Sept. 15, 1980.

There have been other tragedies that have struck close to home.

Mack Lee Hill, an undrafted fullback who went on to star for the Chiefs in 1965, died of complications following surgery on an injured right knee. The Chiefs later inaugurated the Mack Lee Hill Award given every year to the outstanding rookie.

On Feb. 8, 2000, eight-time Pro Bowl linebacker Derrick Thomas died of a massive blood clot two weeks after he was paralyzed in a traffic accident. He had been thrown onto the pavement when the vehicle he was driving flipped on a slick, snow-covered highway.

On June 29, 1983, popular running back Joe Delaney drowned in his native Louisiana while saving three children from drowning. He had rushed for 1,121 yards his rookie year in 1981, and set four team records, helping the Chiefs post their first winning record since 1973.

``I've spent a fair amount of time reflecting on the other losses the organization has suffered, and no two of them were the same,'' Hunt said. ``Every situation is different, but it's still a loss, a tremendous loss.''

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From impossible to inevitable, Redskins name change seems imminent

From impossible to inevitable, Redskins name change seems imminent

A typhoon of momentum washed over the Washington football organization in the last week and all of a sudden one thing seems quite clear: The Redskins will never play another game.

There will still be football played at FedEx Field and that team seems very likely to still wear burgundy and gold, but after a series of public comments and private conversations with sources in and around the NFL, a Redskins name change is imminent.

Over and over and from different people, one phrase got repeated when asked if the Redskins were actually going to change the team name: "It's done."

The exact timeline remains murky, and there are difficult logistic, marketing and financial questions looming, but too much happened too fast for any other outcome than a name change.

Speaking with numerous sources one misconception emerged however.

While the Redskins publicly announced that the team is conducting a “thorough review” of the team name on July 3, multiple sources explained that internal conversations about changing the name have been going on for some time.

In fact, one source explained that after the murder of George Floyd in May and the massive public protests and demands for social justice that followed, the conversations about changing the Redskins moniker heated up the first week of June.

It’s unclear what the new name will be.

RELATED: COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF REDSKINS FAN-GENERATED NEW NAMES

Redtails and Warriors seem to have the most momentum, but that doesn’t mean either will be the new name. The organization wants to consult with a wide variety of people and resources before finalizing a selection.

The team is proud of its history, understandably, and does not want to abandon all of the team’s success and tradition. What exactly that means will be revealed, likely in the next month or so.

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Let’s be clear - public pressure from FedEx, Nike and Pepsi hastened the call for change.

When FedEx publicly requested on July 2 that Washington change its team name from Redskins, this process got sent into overdrive. The team announced its plan for an internal review of the name the next morning. But conversations, some extensive, had already begun inside the organization prior to FedEx’s announcement.

What once seemed unthinkable now seems inevitable - the Washington Redskins won’t take the field again. 

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Jimmy Patsos believes Howard's Makur Maker could lead a movement within college basketball

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NBC Sports Washington

Jimmy Patsos believes Howard's Makur Maker could lead a movement within college basketball

Makur Maker's decision to go to Howard University to play basketball shocked the college basketball world. It marked the potential start of a new trend: five-star recruits choosing to play at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

And for former head coach and NBC Sports Washington basketball analyst Jimmy Patsos, it could spark a huge movement within college basketball. 

"If one person can lead a revolution, one person can lead a movement, this could be the guy," Patsos said on Friday. "Why not him changing the landscape of college basketball?"

Patsos saw the abilities of Maker first-hand at Steph Curry's Select Camp. He says the 6-foot-11 player can do it all and, even before his monumental commitment to the Bison, had the tools to be a transcendent player within the sport. 

"He does everything. Like, he could shoot the ball, he could handle the ball. He reminds me of a little bigger Luol Deng, who's also from [Africa]," Patsos said referring to Maker's birth country of Kenya.

"He's not just another player. He's a 6-11 guy that does it all. He's not Magic Johnson, he's not going to play the point, but he handles the ball well."

In Patsos' eyes, Maker has a bigger upside than Chet Holgrem - the No. 3 recruit of the 2021 class according to 247sports - who has yet to commit. Holgrem is another lanky center, whose skill set is similar to the new Bison player. Many regard Holgrem as another great high school prospect in the same conversation with the Kevin Durants of the world in years past.

Not only is Patsos high on Maker, he thinks he should be a top lottery pick... for this season... and is better than his cousin, Thon Maker, who plays for the Detroit Pistons.

"Basketball-wise, I had him rated as a lottery pick this year. I would have taken him in the lottery this year myself because I think the draft is a little down anyways," Patsos said. 

On top of his on-the-court skills, Patsos is most intrigued at how Maker can become a star within the game. He's extremely personable, has high character and is outgoing. Especially being the highest-ranked recruit to play at an HBCU, that will be further amplified at Howard.

RELATED: A RECORD JUMP IN KENPOM RANKINGS BY ADDING MAKER

Of all the HBCUs, Howard is the most prestigious. It boasts an incredible position in academics and a storied law school. While the Bison may have a modest basketball program even for HBCU standards, the school is the flagship. 

"You say Howard, it's like saying Harvard," Patsos said. "I think it's a credit to the city and I think it says a lot about what Howard has done. Howard, academically, is fantastic but the rejuvenation of that area of Washington D.C., I think he had a fantastic visit. You know there is a lot going on in Washington right now, clearly. It's just a world-class city. But I'd say the most important reason was he's decided to put historically Black college on the map for basketball."

Second-year head coach Kenny Blakeney also deserves a ton of credit for navigating this recruitment of Maker. Spending time to cater to the rising college freshman, ranked No. 17 in the 2020 class, who traditionally would not even consider the school given other offers is not an easy task. 

Often, it results in wasted time and resources where another recruiting target could be elsewhere. With Kentucky, UCLA, Memphis and others trying to lure the center, it further amplified his decision. 

"You've got to give Kenny Blakeney an unbelievable amount of credit for hanging in there ... It would have been easy to say no, hung in there and showed the young man the possibilities of a fantastic time at Howard, even if it's only for a year," Patsos said. 

The ripple effects of Maker going to Howard will not be seen immediately, Sure, the Bison will be favorites in the MEAC next year and if all goes well has a really good shot at not being in a play-in game for the NCAA Tournament. But Maker will likely go pro once eligible after he plays his first season and be a one-and-done. How he plays at Howard, how he's embraced and what Maker will do at the next level is how the recruiting game could change at HBCUs.

This is something that has never happened before. While many historically Black schools have a history of NBA players (Charles Oakley, Ben Wallace, Earl Monroe), no recruits had the hype of Maker. 

"This could be revolutionary and changing the way players look at historically Black colleges, which is great," Patsos said. "Everyone knows where Howard is, who's been there, it has this fantastic reputation, as it should. But, this could change it as a landscape for kids hoping to play basketball there. And I applauded him. He answered the bell. The BLM movement is real and it's necessary."

"I can't wait to see what happens."

Coronavirus permitting, Maker will likely take his first steps on Howard's campus as a member of the program in August. Until that day, Blakeney will likely be sweating until he sees him show up for the first practice. And once Maker does, everyone will just watch and wait for how and if HBCU basketball programs will forever be changed.

"Is it a one-time thing? Or does it change everything?" Patsos said. "Everyone's going to be watching... This could be revolutionary,"

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