Redskins Coach vs. Redskins Quarterback


Tony Dungy and Donovan McNabb

I don’t know if “issues of race are often discussed head-on” in D.C. (unless the writer means “among people of the same color”) but I was glad that one of you sent me this story about our local NFL team: “Is Coach Shanahan Racist or Just Dumb?

Here in D.C., in Obama’s so-called post-racial America, issues of race are often discussed head-on, and talk of the strained relationship between McNabb, who is black, and Shanahan, who is white, have dominated conversations in barber shops, offices and sports bars across the city – and across the country – for the past 14 days.

“Indications are now that the Shanahans, father and son, don’t much like the way McNabb prepares for games,” Michael Wilbon, a prominent sports columnist, wrote in The Washington Post. “Mike’s assertion makes it sound like McNabb is some dummy, an ominous characterization he’d better be careful about, lest he run into some cultural trouble in greater Washington, D.C.”…

This is not Denver, Shanahan’s last coaching job. This is the nation’s capitol, nicknamed “Chocolate City,” a place where scores of highly-educated African-Americans cheer for the Redskins – and the team’s black quarterback – every Sunday…

And so Shanahan’s humiliating insinuation that McNabb cannot intellectually absorb the complexities of the Redskins offense after 11 successful years as an NFL quarterback was taken as a collective insult to many black Americans in D.C. who viewed McNabb’s demotion – and the way it was handled – as discriminatory.