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Dear Redskins Fans: It's Not Your Fault

Should fans of under-performing teams be labeled "enablers" by other fans who have financially and emotionally severed their ties with these teams?

Patrick McDermott

To my fellow Redskins fans:


There seems to be a sentiment out there that we, as fans of the Washington Redskins, are somehow partly responsible for the shenanigans at Redskins Park. Some believe that because we purchase Redskins apparel, gameday tickets and other team-related products, we are enablers. The argument goes that if we all decided at once to not spend a penny on the Redskins or attend games, somehow Dan Snyder would "get the message" and change his ways. I don't share this view.

At its core, the idea is not utterly preposterous. As a self-proclaimed lifelong fan himself, I am sure Dan Snyder would take notice of the actions of 100% of his burgundy and gold brethren...but that's never going to happen. It's not even that we are divided in our angst over some of the things that have transpired at Redskins Park. It is more that we are split on how to best deal with what many among us consider to be the philosophical shortcomings (put nicely) of the brass in Ashburn.

The notion that we can somehow put a dent in Dan's wallet in order to "teach him a lesson" is likely misguided. Thanks to revenue sharing rules in the NFL, Dan Snyder will hardly miss your money. The league shares between 50% and 75% of ALL revenue (national and local) equally between the 32 teams. In case you have not been following things, the NFL is doing rather well, meaning Dan Snyder is doing rather well, and will continue to do rather well.

The notion that if diehard fans stay home, the silence at FedEx would force Snyder into action is also probably poorly reasoned. First of all, that would likely result in more fans than there are already are for the road team, and secondly, there would probably be as many empty seats as there already are today. All of these would constitute black eyes for the organization, but it is unreasonable to assume this would force anyone's hand.

It would be easier for us to show our solidarity by uniting in support of something, as opposed to against something. After all, what we all have in common is that we love the Redskins. What we don't have in common is a universally agreed upon plan for how to make things right in Redskins Nation. I recall when thousands of Orioles fans paraded out of Camden Yards on a night I was in attendance to protest a move Peter Angelos had made (or protesting many moves he had made). I am not advocating for this kind of thing, but it got me thinking that it was a far greater show of unity than random people not buying team gear. At the very least, I would suggest that people in attendance are there to root on the guys in pads and helmets. I have never seen anyone wearing a "Snyder" jersey. That is something we might all be able to get behind, and maybe that would just be the start.

I just think it is unfair to label people who spend their hard-earned money the way they want to as "bad fans" or "enablers." I think we should all feel perfectly fine with rocking our team's gear at home games or just at home. Hell, if anything should prevent us from buying Redskins apparel, it would be that a sliver of the proceeds find their way to Jerry Jones' wallet! I also think that people who want to pull back financially and emotionally are entitled, as long as we are all realistic about the effect. It will make you feel better, but it won't force change. I understand that exercising your passion on this team has taken its toll, but now is not the time to give up. (That opportunity came just after Steve Spurrier's press conference in Osaka, Japan.)

This is what the Revolution was all about. This is why we Viva'd the crap out of the Revolucion (read with a Spanish accent) a couple years ago. Maybe it should be re-viva'd?

I remember my Good Will Hunting moment. I can just see Robin Williams' character (Sean) opening a folder containing pictures of my face after countless torturous affairs at FedEx Field.

Ken: My team was a train wreck. A mean, hot mess. Used to come home and get hammered in front of national audiences, by double-digit scores. The front office still had tickets to sell, and the "Waiting List" was an easy target to beat on. So I had to provoke them, calling them first before they got to people supposedly on the "Waiting List." They always made a big deal about their rings.

Ken: They put a one-year deal, five-year deal and ten-year deal on the table and said, "Choose."

Sean: Well, I gotta go with the one-year deal there.

Ken: I went with the ten-year deal.

Sean: Why?

Ken: Cause f@#k me, that's why!

My fellow Redskins fans, the problems that exist for the Washington Redskins aren't our fault. Depending on how strongly you feel one way or the other, you are either forced to live through it, or you have emotionally detached yourself from it. Either way, we live in a world where Dan Snyder's actions affect us way more than our actions affect him.

It's not your fault.