As published in The County Times (countytimes.somd.com), July 2020
By Ronald N. Guy Jr.
Bi-weekly status check: it has been 134 days since the
NBA shut down, but its Orlando bubble re-start begins July 30. MLB’s opening day is a week early earlier –
July 23, the day this screed goes to press.
The NFL is charging along, business as usual, toward a full season in
the fall. Meanwhile, college football is
gradually scaling back its pending season.
I suppose it is harder on the conscience to expose amateur athletes lacking
union representation to a potentially vicious pathogen than it is to nudge
well-compensated professional athletes into the viral playground of close contact
and heavy breathing. Our dual realities
continue to coexist. Nevertheless, let
us hope – with prayers, rabbit feet, crossed fingers, horseshoes, four-leaf
clovers and whatever other good luck sorcery you subscribed to - that this all
No amount of luck can overcome the organizational buffoonery
of D.C.’s now nameless football team. As
if a begrudging re-brand wasn’t embarrassing enough, The Washington Post came
off the top rope with a lethal finishing move last week: a shocking piece by Will
Hobson and Liz Clarke alleging long-term and uncontrolled sexual and verbal harassment
of female employees by male co-workers. The
timeline for the allegations was lengthy – 2006 to 2019 – the number of sources
citing misconduct was startling – 15 former female staff members – and several
high-ranking members of the organization were involved, including Larry
Michael, the team’s suddenly retired radio voice, and Alex Santos, the now
former director of pro personnel.
The Post’s piece reads like something from 1960s
corporate America or a documentary on outrageous fraternity behavior. The women reported salacious texts,
inappropriate touching, men on lower floors looking up glass staircases as
women descended, requests that female employees wear tighter clothes and office
pools over whether female colleagues had had breast augmentation.
How is this possible??? What kind of clown show is Dan Snyder
running? I thought this team was just
awful on the field; it is worse off of it.
If the world of professional sports was a municipality, the Washington football
club would be the sewer. I applaud Sean
McVay, Kirk Cousins, Kyle Shanahan, Trent Williams and every other player or
coach who escaped this awful institution with their dignity and careers intact.
Three questions – ones that often apply in life’s ethical
and moral crises – will decide Snyder’s future as owner: what did he know, when
did he know it and what did he do about it?
At best he truly didn’t have a clue.
If that’s the case, he is stunningly incompetent. If he had even a hint something was up, then
he’s complicit and should be forced to sell the team and live with the stain of
this sordid episode on his already dreadful reputation. So which is it? The King of Incompetence or The Complicit
CEO. Place your bets. I know where I’m laying my chips.
In addition to the women who courageously shared their
stories, the other power-player in this is The Washington Post. Hobson and Clarke gave 15 women the outlet they
never had within Snyder’s perverse organization. Dogged, relentless journalism exposed this
story. The recently mocked, maligned and
vilified free press – an “enemy of the state” some have said - put the spotlight
on a corrupt boys club that had existed in darkness for over a decade.
If you doubt the importance of a free press, watch the
movie “Spotlight” or “All the President’s Men”.
Or consider these words from late Senator John McCain, “Journalists play
a major role in the promotion and protection of democracy and our unalienable
rights, and they must be able to do their jobs freely.” Or these from then outgoing President Barack
Obama when urged the press to maintain its tenacity, “...to do the hard work of
getting to the bottom of stories…and to push those of us in power to be the
best version of ourselves and to push this country to be the best version of
itself.” Or better yet, just pull up The
Washington Post’s online addition and read the heading: “Democracy Dies in
Today Dan Snyder is staring into a blinding light.