Let’s start with the facts.
The Washington Redskins are stomping toward another “flaming bag filled with dog crap” of a season. One year removed from winning the NFC East, they are 3-10. Star quarterback Robert Griffin III has been benched with three games left in the season, demoted to third-string status. Coach Mike Shanahan seems to be simultaneously feuding with owner Daniel Snyder, offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan (his son) and anyone who looks at him cross-eyed.
This is what us sports insiders/advanced stat mavens call “a clusterfuck.”
Let’s talk about another fact: in the past year, numerous Native American and civil rights organizations have in unprecedented fashion asked the team to change its name. They have argued that “redskins” is an ugly racist slur that speaks to the darkest chapters of US history. They have pointed out that the team was named by an owner, George Preston Marshall, who was an open racist and that it is past time for the team to join the twenty-first century and change the damn name. Snyder has been belligerent in response, calling the name “a badge of honor” and refusing to meet with Native American leaders to even discuss it.
Given how terrible the team has been not just this year but over the last two decades, the question has been raised in The Washington Post about whether the team is in fact cursed. Yes, cursed. Mike Wise of the Post wrote an entire column devoted to the question. He gave a platform to Jay Winter Nightwolf, who called Wise to tell him about the curse he placed on the franchise. In 2000, Nightwolf was hosting his talk radio show on DC's Pacifica station, WPFW, speaking about the racist history of the name. A “fan”, called Nightwolf’s radio show and sang, “Hail to the Redskins” to rub it in Nightwolf’s face. The Buffalo Ridge Cherokee told Wise that in response he said on the air, “Great Spirit, you have always been the beginning of Creation and you will be the Father at the end of Creation. Your children ask that you remove the racism that plagues all of mankind. And, in particular, would you please do something for this team not to win anything of real merit until they change their name, including an NFC championship and a Super Bowl?”