Off Script: An Editorial

The opinions I express in the following editorial are my own, and do not necessarily reflect those of the site owners or other writers on the site.

The Redskins name change debate that has heated up over the past year is beginning to boil over. Before becoming the latest cause célèbre, it was rarely mentioned, let alone noticed, by anyone outside the local DC media. Now folks are coming out of the woodwork to decry Daniel Snyder and the team name.

I find the incredulity and outrage of these heretofore oblivious name change proponents laughable, at best. Where have they been up to now? Probably waiting for the bandwagon to drive by.

Even more annoying than this sudden concern for, and acute awareness of, Native Americans is the shaming rationale these do-gooders employ: “The R-word is as awful as the N-word!”

No. Wrong. Back up.

Ives Goddard, in his article, “”I AM A RED-SKIN”: The Adoption of a Native American Expression (1769 – 1826),” gives a thorough accounting of the term’s derivation. He calls redskin “…a genuine Native American idiom…” He describes its first use as a way that Native Americans identified themselves to and distinguished themselves from the Europeans with whom they were beginning to come into contact more and more. The term was adopted and used by whites through communication with Native Americans. By all accounts, use by whites was not seen as an affront.

Contrary to the term redskin, the N-word did not originate with African Americans. It is not a term, at least in American culture, that whites adopted as a means to communicate positively with African Americans. It very well may be a term that the African American community has reclaimed, but it is still not seen as anything other than pejorative in our society. Just look at the Paula Deen debacle.

How is it that there is so much controversy over a team name? Because alarmists and the (conveniently) politically correct must have someone at whom to point a finger of judgment and disapproval. According to these illuminati, the Redskins owner and fans are responsible for racist actions throughout history; Snyder, by virtue of the fact that he refuses to spend millions of dollars to rename and rebrand the business he owns, and fans because we support our football team.

A growing number of media outlets and sports writers are refusing to refer to the team as the Redskins. That’ll show Dan Snyder! Refusing to use the team name will retroactively honor all the treaties that the United States government failed to fulfill, and will bring back all the Native Americans who were slaughtered in the name of manifest destiny.

All the Redskins need now is a new name. Maybe the anti-Redskins bandwagon hoppers can tear themselves away from writing letters demanding amnesty for Leonard Peltier long enough to deliver one…

In the interest of full disclosure, @dvnmsm is a life-long Washington Redskins fan. She has attended Redskins games for decades, and gleefully sings “Hail to the Redskins!” whether with fellow fans at FedEx Field or at home. She owns Redskins jerseys, Redskins shirts, and purchased, in a moment of dire necessity, a Redskins scrunchy. Don’t judge. A woman attending a preseason game in 70% humidity who’s having a hair emergency will do what she has to…

Peyton’s Excellent Adventure

Football fans can’t wait for the day in April when their team’s upcoming schedule is released. It’s become the event that signals that the Draft is coming, camps aren’t too far behind, and that the countdown to opening day is around the corner. Even when they don’t involve our favorite team, there are some games that football fans recognize as must-see matchups. Three of those games are on tap for the Denver Broncos this season.

Peyton and company will travel to Met Life Stadium week 2 for what the media has dubbed the “Manning Bowl.” This meeting will be the first since the Giants’ two Super Bowl wins, and since Peyton’s return to football after missing the 2011 season.

The Mannings have faced off only twice in their careers. On September 10, 2006 the Colts bested the Giants by a score of 26 – 21, and on September 19, 2010 Indy pummeled New York 38 – 14. Giants fans will tell you that the outcome will be different this year, because Eli is now a 2-time Champion whose confidence and talent have finally developed. Broncos fans will counter that Peyton’s multiple award-winning talent and additional years of experience will win out yet again.

No matter how gracious and complimentary the brothers are of each other in the media, and despite Eli’s claims that there is no sibling rivalry because he won’t let one develop, there is bound to be some truth to this.

Week 7 takes the Broncos to Lucas Oil Stadium, better known to many as the House that Peyton Built. There is no doubt that there will be much hype and sentiment surrounding this homecoming, and that the fans will welcome the man who led their team for 13 seasons with quite an ovation.

The Broncos/Colts series began way back in 1974 when the Colts were still in Baltimore. The first game between the Broncos and the Indianapolis Colts was in 1985. Denver leads the series 11-10, but since Peyton was drafted the Colts have won 8 out of 10 matchups.

Peyton will face off against fellow 1st overall draft pick Andrew Luck, who is not just the man who took his place, but had, aside from completion percentage, a much better rookie season than Peyton had with the Colts. Luck even got the Colts to the first round of the Playoffs as a rookie.

This game is not only a matter of pride for Peyton, it’s one in which he wants to drive the point home that he hasn’t lost a step. Manning had to stand by on the sidelines and watch in frustration as his team struggled through mediocrity in the 2011 season. Although he was healthy, the Colts weren’t willing to risk another losing season, and chose to release him to make room for a younger QB.

The Washington Redskins travel to Denver week 8. This game marks Mike Shanahan’s return to Sports Authority Field at Mile High since he was fired back in 2008, He’ll face the quarterback to whom his (then) Broncos lost back to back Wild Card Playoff games in 2003 and 2004.

Denver and Washington have played a total of 12 times since 1970. The series is tied 6-6, and Washington won the last game in 2009 by a score of 27-17.

For the second week in a row, Peyton will face a standout rookie who was selected high in the draft in Robert Griffin III. Griffin will be in the midst of a comeback season like Manning was the season before. If the Redskins are playing well and RGIII has improved on his already impressive rookie performance, this will be a great mid-season matchup.

Mark these three games on your calendar; they’ll offer more than great football. The first may very well be the last time we get to see the Manning Bowl, and the last two represent the official changing of the guard in the NFL at quarterback.

Find me on Twitter @dvnmsm

Performance Enhancing Drugs in the NFL

Last season the NFL had its largest group of players test positive for PED use ever. Allen Barbre, Brandon Browner, Winston Guy, John Moffit and Richard Sherman were all caught using banned substances. Their compatriot, Bruce Irvin, is the latest of the fan-dubbed “Seadderall” Seahawks to test positive.

While the agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA prohibits releasing details about a positive drug test, the player involved may opt to speak openly about the test and results. Those of us who have ever seen a sports report, though, know that there are plenty of “sources close to the team,” or “individuals with direct knowledge of the situation” who will spill the beans for his favorite reporter.

Pardon the phrase, but according to league and team sources, the list of banned substances is clearly posted throughout team facilities for all players to see. The League and players’ union seem to have similar regulations to the Labor Department when it comes to posting relevant information for employees – think OSHA or EEO information posted in your office.

It isn’t – or shouldn’t be – a surprise to any player that there are certain substances they cannot use. Players should also be well aware that any player can be tested up to 6 times in the offseason. Just ask Kirk Cousins, who was tested at his Grandmother’s home back in March 2013. During the regular season and the playoffs, up to 10 players per team can be drug tested on game day. Any prior offender can be tested more frequently.

No player should be either shocked to be drug tested, or horrified to learn that a substance he knowingly used was discovered during such a test. They shouldn’t be, yet they are. We’ve all seen our fair share of reactions, from the “…What had happened was…” defense, to finger-pointing at the drug-tester or facility involved, and then my personal favorite, the feigned “How in the WORLD did THAT get in my system??!?!” response.

There are many who believe that players are copping to Adderall use because it is, in the long run, better PR for them to have taken an ADHD drug than a steroid. I happen to disagree. One is a long-term physical enhancement that will work for anyone, and the other is a short-term mental and physical enhancement for those who use it outside of its intended purpose.

Adderall is allowed for some players who have produced the documentation and gone through the arduous process of getting the okay to take the medication, based upon a diagnosis of ADD or ADHD. Some may claim that, since this is the case, Adderall can’t be both an approved and a banned substance. But they’re wrong. Here’s why…

Adderall is a combination of 4 amphetamine salts that stimulate the brain. Once it hits a patient’s bloodstream, it stimulates the production of hormones associated with attention and behavior, and slows the absorption of those hormones back into the body. The result for those who have ADD or ADHD is that it slows them down, corrects their lack of focus, and corrects their hyper-alertness. No advantage there.

For those who do not have ADD or ADHD, Adderall speeds them up, increases their alertness, concentration, and motivation, and can also result in a reduction of fatigue. What’s more, drinking sugary beverages or energy drinks while taking Adderall can temporarily boost these effects for someone who is taking the drug who does not need to. With or without the beverages, that’s a clear, unfair advantage. A performance enhancement.

Players are made well aware of the do’s and the don’ts regarding substances. Their bodies are their money, so they are keenly aware of what they put into them, whether it’s food, drink, supplements, or prescription medications. So while some players would like us to believe that they are victims of bad drug testers, that they were slipped a drug unknowingly, or that they didn’t know they were taking something that contained a banned substance, thinking fans know that their explanations are sometimes not exactly on the up and up.

If I had certain players’ ears, I would tell them that whether it’s a steroid or Adderall, stop using it. I’d remind them that they made it to the NFL because they had the talent to make it, and they should rely on that and that alone.

Twitter: @dvnmsm