Washington Football

Quick Links

Michael Wilbon rips Washington's statement, calling it 'annoying' and 'tone-deaf'

Michael Wilbon rips Washington's statement, calling it 'annoying' and 'tone-deaf'

Washington's football franchise released a statement on Monday that announced the official retirement of the name 'Redskins' and logo, ending an 87-year era of the name. The announcement came just 10 days after Washington stated it was conducting a formal review of the moniker.

Washington's statement caused plenty of reactions from both people inside and outside the sports world. Former Washington great Darrell Green said he is embracing the team's next step, while D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the name is hardly the only issue.

ESPN analyst and longtime D.C. resident Michael Wilbon weighed in on the matter as well on Monday evening, ripping the team and owner Dan Snyder for what he called a "tone-deaf" statement.

"The statement was just sort of annoying and bogus, as things that come out of that camp usually are," Wilbon said on Pardon the Interruption. "It was bogus. It was tone-deaf. It didn't acknowledge anything. It didn't acknowledge anything but try and pat itself on the back."


While the statement itself clearly bothered Wilbon, he said that the fact that it annoyed him doesn't come as much of a surprise.

"So, the statement annoyed me, but probably everything the Washington football franchise does has annoyed me for 10-15 years at least," Wilbon said.

Additionally, Washington announced that the team has yet to finalize a new replacement name, stating Snyder and head coach Ron Rivera are "working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition-rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years."

For Wilbon, he doesn't want the process of coming up with a new name to be drawn out in the slightest bit.

"Just get a name already. I don't need to chronicle this every day," Wilbon said. "I know there is a need to update it as a news story and it is that, but I don't need to follow every inch of this. When you get a name, I don't want finalists, I don't want quarterfinalists, I don't want to hear all that. Get a name, put it out there, and let's see what it is."

With Monday's announcement, Washington is officially moving on from the name 'Redskins' just seven years after Snyder said he would "never" change the name. That's quite the 180-degree turn.

What Wilbon is looking forward to in the coming months, more than finding out what Washington's new moniker will be, is finding out what caused Snyder to ultimately change his mind on the name.

"What I want to find out later on, somebody is going to do great reporting on this, and it's going to tell us Snyder's real reaction around him instead of these stupid statements that everybody puts out now, which is just junk and somewhere between spinning and lies," Wilbon said. "I want to find out what was going on behind the scenes, and what did they have to do? Did they have to sudate Snyder to get him to understand that the name is gone, and that you're going to go along with this?"

To finalize the segment, Wilbon reiterated how unmoved he was by the team's statement.

"Again, that statement that the team released today was sort of embarrassing," Wilbon said. "Then again, most of the things that franchise does is."


Stay connected with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.


Quick Links

Dwayne Haskins believes he gives Washington best chance to win, even if Alex Smith can play

Dwayne Haskins believes he gives Washington best chance to win, even if Alex Smith can play

While many expect Dwayne Haskins to be Washington's quarterback in Week 1, head coach Ron Rivera has yet to formally name a starting quarterback and has preached "pure competition" between Haskins and Kyle Allen.

The battle for the job has the potential to take an interesting twist in the coming weeks if veteran Alex Smith is able to return from the active/PUP list. In a media session with local reporters on Monday, Rivera said Smith is "going to be in the throes of this competition" if he's able to return.

However, even if Smith is healthy enough to compete for the starting job, Haskins believes he's the best man for the job. 

"All respect for everyone in that room, but I feel like I give us the best opportunity," Haskins told Julie Donaldson, Washington's Senior VP of Media and Content. "I look forward to showing it."


Haskins had his growing pains as a rookie but really started to show flashes of his potential towards the end of the season before an ankle injury prematurely ended his first season as a pro. Over his final six quarters, Haskins finished with 394 passing yards on a 72 percent completion rate with four touchdowns and zero turnovers. 

Since Rivera took over as head coach in January, he's challenged Haskins to take command of the job, and the quarterback has responded. Haskins has dropped close to 20 pounds this offseason and said he is in the best shape of his life. He's spent the bulk of his offseason training and learning from numerous NFL stars, most notably Deshaun Watson, Cam Newton and Odell Beckham Jr.

Although Rivera has yet to name Haskins the starter, he's taken notice of the 23-year-old's progress and has publicly praised him for it. In a media session last week, several comments the head coach made sounded as if he was ready to move in the direction with Haskins as QB1.

While Haskins and Smith may be directly competing with one another, the two have a strong relationship.

Haskins has said multiple times how much of a help Smith was to him as a rookie. On Monday, Haskins said he looks at Smith as a "mentor" to him.

"He's a great teammate," Haskins said. "Somebody in the meeting room that we look for answers and questions and everything he's been through in his long tenure as a professional quarterback in the NFL. He's someone I kind of look to as a mentor in that sense."


Smith's journey is remarkable, and the fact that he's even close to playing after suffering the gruesome leg injury he had in November 2018 is already impressive enough within itself. And of the three quarterbacks, Smith is by far the most proven and experienced.

But Washington is currently in a rebuild, and Rivera has said multiple times that the 2020 season will be crucial in determining who he sees as core players on his roster. So, starting a 35-year-old Smith over Haskins, a second-year player who the team invested a first-round pick in just one year ago, wouldn't make much sense.

Yet, if Smith does end up being healthy enough to compete for the job, Haskins is ready to embrace the challenge.

"I'm extremely happy and excited for Alex. Having watched him train last year and him just getting into the position to try and play this year...I can tell how much work he's put in," Haskins said. "I'm excited for him. Hopefully he gets back to where he needs to be, and I look forward to competing with him and everything of that nature."

Stay connected to the team with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.


Quick Links

Dan Snyder's attorney raises conspiracy questions with defamation suit

Dan Snyder's attorney raises conspiracy questions with defamation suit

Washington Football Team owner Dan Snyder wants to clear the air about a series of slanderous rumors that his attorney believes were part of a wider campaign to spread misinformation and defame his character. 

"There's a lot of things going on in Washington right now regarding the club and there are people that may have some motives to falsely attack Mr. Snyder," attorney Joe Tacopina, who represents Snyder, said in an interview with NBC Sports Washington. 

The center of the issue comes from an article that ran on meaww.com - a website owned by India-based company Media Entertainment Arts WorldWide - alleging Snyder had personal involvement with financier Jeffrey Epstein, the convicted sex offender who killed himself while in prison last year. 

"Dan Snyder has nothing to do with [Epstein] and had nothing to do with him," Tacopina said of the article. 

That article, shared repeatedly via social media, deeply bothered the Snyder family and now the owner wants to do everything in his power to clear his name. 

In the process, Tacopina alleges that a former employee was spreading the disinformation at the behest of a financial backer. Snyder is taking legal action against former Washington employee Mary Ellen Blair in an attempt to prove she intentionally spread lies and was told to do so by a third party. 

"We believe there are obviously people behind that had their own purposes for doing it," Tacopina said. The lawsuits aim to "to uncover who’s behind the scenes, who’s pulling the strings."


In a New York Times report, Blair is connected to Dwight Schar, one of the Washington minority owners looking to sell his shares in the team. The article contends that Blair dealt with financial hardships and lives in a building that Schar's daughter's real estate development company owns.

Asked if the misinformation and defamation lawsuits have anything to do with Washington's minority partners looking to sell 40 percent of the team, Tacopina would not speculate, but he did respond. 

"I think common sense will sort of play out. I think the evidence in this case will present us with who’s behind this," Tacopina said. 

Tacopina has an impressive and high-profile legal track record. He worked with Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill to end his decade-long legal saga and multiple jail visits. He also lists Alex Rodriguez and Jay-Z as clients. 

This looks to be just the beginning of a series of legal actions that could unclose a significant conspiracy against the Washington Football Team owner. Then again, it could be nothing. The legal process will play out.


Stay connected to the team with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.