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Kevin Blackistone on Dan Snyder: 'He’s either got to change the name or get out of the league'

Kevin Blackistone on Dan Snyder: 'He’s either got to change the name or get out of the league'

Following Washington's statement on Monday that the current team name would be retired, The Washington Post Columnist and ESPN panelist Kevin Blackistone shared his problems with the release on Twitter.

On Monday during an interview on ESPN 92.9FM's Jason & John Show, Blackistone elaborated on the issues he took with the statement.

“My first thought was ‘Where’s the apology?’ My second thought was, ‘This is disingenuous because you still got the letterhead on here with the name just glaring,'" Blackistone said.

Blackistone, who is also a professor at the University of Maryland, had mentioned the non-existent apology in his tweet. The fact that the team name and logo which are being retired were still used in a release describing the change that was coming made him believe that the team truly didn't care. That is something Blackistone feels became even more evident when one considers how the new team name is being chosen.

Among all the options for Washington's moniker -- which is meant to honor the heritage and tradition of the franchise -- that have been considered, Blackistone noted that to his knowledge the Native American community has reportedly not been involved much in the decision.

"And my third thought was, ‘What do you have to say about the name that you’re considering given that you haven’t even given voice to, or given an ear to, the native folks who you’ve insulted since buying the team 21 years ago and having the opportunity to do this before,'" Blackistone said.

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Blackistone was not along in taking issue with the statement. The Sports Junkies felt it answered no questions, ESPN's Michael Wilbon called it "annoying" and "tone-deaf" and ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio saw it as "one final act of defiance" by team owner Dan Snyder

The combination of all the missing elements from the statement made it less impactful for Blackistone. Despite it being a big moment, there wasn't much to take away from the team's announcement

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That's something that Blackistone believes comes from the reasoning behind the name change in the first place. Washington has heard the backlash about the name for years, but it wasn't until big-name sponsors took issue that impacted the monetary situation of the league that real moves were made. Blackistone sees that as a symbol that Snyder's decision to change the name has nothing to do with right vs. wrong.

“There’s nothing altruistic about what’s going on," Blackistone said about Snyder. "He’s being forced at the point of bayonets to change the team.”

“Basically sponsors, not individual team sponsors, but sponsors for the team via the NFL," Blackistone said. "Which means, now it’s just not your pockets, but the other 31 owners pockets that are starting to be hurting. That’s why the move is being made." 

All Blackistone had to do to understand Snyder's true opinion on the name change is look back to what the owner has said about the situation in the past. The only difference to Blackistone now is that if Snyder continued to speak in the same manner, some believe it would result in Snyder losing the team.

“This is a guy who seven years ago infamously said he would never change the name, and you could put ‘never’ in caps," Blackistone said. Well, never has come home to roost and he’s either got to change the name or get out of the league.”

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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."

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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."

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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."

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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."

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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.

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