From a bunch of you
What about the Redskins scandal?
The Washington Post has reported a story of the toxic culture of the workplace around the offices of the Washington Redskins.
One woman went on record and 14 other women made anonymous statements to Post reporters about a slew of sexual harassment charges and incidents over the years. It's clearly a big deal and a story that no one condones.
But there's always a but around these parts huh? (Wait, what? Remember, that's one 'T' not two Spy.)
Couple of random thoughts here:
> With the build up of this story reaching Bigfoot levels of hype, this story — while terrible and certainly worthy of discussion and demanding of change in the Washington organization — was not anywhere close to as bad as I thought it was going to be. The pre-story build-up even reached levels of sex trafficking (Jeffery Epstein was linked too), paying referees, drugs and just about everything else imaginable was mentioned.
> I'm not even sure this will ever even reach Daniel Snyder. Yes, the toxic culture reflects bad leadership, but is that news? That Daniel Snyder is a bad leader surprises whom exactly? It did not bag Mark Cuban when the Mavericks had a very similar set of allegations a few years ago. And yes, it got Jerry Richardson from the Panthers, but Richardson was directly charged by numerous women in the organization.
> Is it time to do away with NFL cheerleaders in scantily clad outfits? I ask earnestly. They are not there leading cheers like say the cheerleaders in front of student sections. I know they do it willingly and almost assuredly love it. Curious on your thoughts.
I hate that these types of working scenarios are out there but the biggest takeaway from the Post story was, "Wow, that's bad. I thought it was going to be so much worse."
From Frank H.
Jay, Thanks for making my drive home. Press Row is great so I began reading your morning blog. How do you find the time to do it all?
I know you have a Friday thing where you answer questions from readers and if your full I understand. I know you guys talked about this on the show but I had to leave the car so I missed it, but with all the stuff around the Redskins and the Indians, do you think the Braves are going to be forced to change their name too?
Thanks and keep up the great work.
Thanks for the kind words, and congrats on a) making the mailbag, and b) for doing the unthinkable
I have no answer here.
I really do not know, because I do not think they will come for 'Braves' but who knows. Heck, I could almost understand the Braves preemptively just saying, "Forget it, let's be the Atlanta Traffic. Get graphics on the blower. We need some Gridlock imagery."
So good luck Frank matching your Beastie Boys-level-of-debut-excellence in your next mailbag question.
Totally agree about trying not to think about baseball. If I don't get my hopes up, maybe I won't be disappointed. But here's my thing: even if they play the whole season, will a World Series title have an asterisk? Like, I can see for once maybe the Braves could win and then everyone say, "Well, that wasn't a real season. The other teams didn't have all their players, it's not a real World Series, they won the corona World Series," in this really condescending voice.
I don't think there will be an asterisk, at least not long-term.
Consider this: The 1981 season was cut short in the middle when the players went on strike from June 12 to July 31, so baseball was divided into two halves. The Reds had the best record in the NL West over the entire season but did not win either half so they did not make the playoffs.
And you know what people remember? The Dodgers beat the Yankees in the World Series.
In fact, I can see this having an asterisk that could even be positive for finding a way to find success in the most extraordinary of circumstances.
And I know this, be it MLB playing 60 games or if the SEC (fingers crossed, fingers crossed) only plays eight games, if the Dodgers or the Auburn Tigers win it all, I will not give two bleeps what anyone else has to say about the scenarios.
I will celebrate titles.
Jay— Since you're so intrigued with the drama around Mariah Carey's ex, you might want to read "Nick Cannon's show got canceled. That's not 'cancel culture,' it's consequences," an essay by Mikki Kendall out today.
I had never heard of Kendall, but her essay helped me grasp this "cancel culture" phenomenon you keep referring to, to my puzzlement. I'm betting you'll disagree with some of it, but it'll make you think. Use that big brain of yours.
She says in 2014 she was "canceled." She says being "'canceled' felt huge at the time, but it is a blip in my rearview mirror now."
She admits consequences in the age of the internet "can be disproportionate to the actions or your role in society." But here's her main point. Do you agree?
I completely agree with the premise that often it's consequences rather than cancel culture. And maybe the name is dated.
And in terms of consequences, well, I believe that is a fair description for Nick Cannon, Roseanne and even Colin Kaepernick. (Yes, Kaep too, because even if the prism has changed five years later and a vast majority of the NFL will kneel this fall, you know if they actually play games and play the anthem before games, no one was challenging Kaep's freedom to kneel, but the consequences came calling regardless.)
And the celebs are the easy ones to recall and much easier to debate.
I'm good with changing the name; heck I'd be great if we changed the entire idea of ending the culture, which does exist beyond the powerful and famous.
And those are the ones that scare me the most.
I'm not famous, but I run the risk of consequences/being cancelled every day by trying to be truthful and at times funny here and on the radio.
Those are the ones that scare me, because unlike Kaep or as the writer your referenced claims about Cannon, I lose these jobs, it's doubtful I get another swing. (Unless of course I go full rogue and embrace the anger and divide like Clay Travis and Fox that placate a certain demographic just like some ESPN folks and CNN preach to the other side.)
And I think her twisting the "beef is with U.S. labor law rather than other people's ability to point out what you say sucks."
Here's my issue with that: We are far too often in a one-strike, and you're out scenario. And forget the three big names I mentioned before, because not unlike Stephen Jackson, they said or did controversial things over and over and even doubled-down on them, so it was not a one-time mistake as much as a pattern.
And there is a whole other chapter of this discussion of this for stand-up comics, don't you think?
There are a lot of examples — the kid at Iowa with the GameDay sign comes quickly to mind — of someone that quickly rose to some form of notoriety or celebrity and then some enterprising young muckraker learns about some mistake that neo-celeb has in the closet. Poof.
And that's not even getting into the cultural side items that have to be cleaned and scrubbed — everything from pronouns on university memos to Halloween costumes to Gone With the Wind. Critque the movie if you wish — heck, I think it is wicked overrated — but cancel it? PUH-lease.
And, while you know that I loathe the "Yeah what about" rebuttal in almost every discussion because it's a dishonest attempt to distract from the point 90 percent of the time rather than an honest attempt to further the conversation.But the writer makes a noble point with these words: "The marketplace of ideas has always worked best when there is an open and honest exchange, no matter how fraught those exchanges might feel."
I love that idea. Truly. But one of the big rivers that floods our national valley that has created this massive divide is that idea above — "the marketplace of ideas has always worked best when there is an open and honest exchange, no matter how fraught those exchanges might feel" — feels like a one-way street these days.
Can I offer a pro-Trump opinion into that marketplace and expect an honest exchange or an intense outrage that could cost me my job? Asking for a friend.
As for your point about Trump being the King of Cancel Culture, I can see that but I offer a slightly different view. I think he is the worst-case product of the cancel culture, and he preyed upon it during the election. Because so many across middle America were afraid of the stories that became mythological horror stories of the big bad cancel culture, they turned to Trump, who vowed to fight it. Smart politics that wins elections and further divides nations.
It's funny, because on Press Row on Thursday, Paschall and I were talking about something non-sports-related — I have a tendency to go on tangents — and I said, "Man it's lonely in the middle in America these days."
I firmly believe that. And then got two immediate social media notes:
> "If you think the middle is lonely now, wait till Joe Biden is president"
> "Screw you you're not anywhere close to the middle Trump-Boy."
Wow, this got long and I'm not entirely sure I answered your question per se, but I enjoy the discussion.
I'm all for changing the name 'cancel culture' but I'd be a bigger fan of changing the culture entirely, because to say it's simply consequences ignores a great deal of the aspects of the culture in which we live, in my opinion.
First, when is Phil Steele not just straight up money? But when he talked about the lack of talent Pruitt inherited in Knoxvegas, I got curious, seeing as how the one thing Lyle did well was recruit. So the four classes prior to Pruitt's 2018 arrival ware ranked thusly by 247sports:
2016 — No. 7 nationally, with 16 4 stars. You get that many 4 stars you ought to invade somebody.
2017 — No. 4 nationally, with 2 5 stars and 14 4 stars
2018 — No. 14 nationally, with 10 4 stars
2019 — No. 17 nationally, with 1 5 star and 4 4 stars (Editor's note: Class was finished by Pruitt, so there's that, and it was poised to be better than this before the coaching turnover.)
That means, at face value, Pruitt took over a team that had accumulated 3 5 stars and 44 4 stars. That's a two-deep, and change, of nothing but 4 stars and better. So then the questions that are begged:
1. Was Lyle bad at player retention?
2. Were Lyle and staff bad at player development?
3. Is the recruiting ranking system just a game of darts?
For what it's worth, Oklahoma's recruiting rankings from 2014-17 were: 14, 15, 19 and 8. They seem to have done OK.
You have broached the biggest unanswered question about the failed Butch Jones experiment.
He brought in highly ranked talent, as you note. Retention was OK; development was below average at best.
Decision making — from using Alvin Kamara as a spell back to his indefensible conversion decisions — was down right infuriating.
Personally, I think two of the under-discussed failures of Lyle Jones were a) the fact that he was completely full of (bleep) and b) I believe he recruited to rankings more than any SEC coach anywhere.
More than any SEC coach in recent memory, Butch's lack of confidence and charisma was staggering and that directly affected his leadership almost across the board. So looking for approval, or something to hang his hat on, he recruited for the rankings.That meant he was highly regarded as a recruiter but the great recruiters — and I think Jeremy Pruitt has a chance to be one of those guys (Nuke, could be one of those guys, but you don't give a bleep, Meat I'm sick and bleeping tired of you calling me Meat. You wanna step outside?) — find the guys they want and recruiting rankings react.(Yes, there are some conspiracy theories out there that the top recruiting sites — those of the schools with the most fans who pay for monthly access — jack the rankings when a player commits. I believe some of those instances exist, but if, and we've said this before, Nick Saban offers a dude, we can assume said dude can play.)
In the end, Butch's biggest issue was, I believe, was he was a terrible leader. You can be a good leader and not be a very good football coach, but in this day and age with the size and scope and responsibility on the dude running a major college program, I do not believe you can be a good coach without being a very good leader.
Great week gang, let's close it with this week's Rushmores
Rushmore of football coaches with college and NFL success — Jimmy Johnson, Pete Carroll, Dick Vermeil, Paul Brown
Rushmore of quotable movies — Caddyshack, Bull Durham, Animal House, Ferris Bueller's Day Off. (It was really tough for me to leave Fletch, Anchorman, Raising Arizona and so many others — and yes, Jules Tommy Boy was on that list too — off this list, friends.)
Rushmore of nicknames of people from the Ol' West — Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane.
Rushmore of well-known sports owners in the modern era (post-1980) — George Steinbrenner, Mark Cuban, Jerry Jones and Ted Turner. (Yes, I was tempted to include George W. Bush, who was part owner of the Rangers back in the day, or even Derek Jeter, who is certainly super-famous and owns a piece of the Marlins, but no.)
Have a great weekend friends.