S1: The following podcast contains explicit language. Hide your children.
S2: Hi, I’m Josh Levine, Slate’s national editor and the author of The Queen. This is Hang Up and Listen for the week of July 6th, 2000 and 20. On this week’s show, we’re going to talk about the renaming of the Washington NFL team, which appears imminent, as well as the potential for the Cleveland Indians to no longer be the Cleveland Indians. We’ll also discuss all the athletes were opting out of playing as the nation’s various sports leagues slowly cranked back up. We’ll be joined by the newest analyst on ESPN NFL Life, the living legend Mina Kimes. This is the point of the show in which I remind you to listen to Slow Burn. Season four, Episode four of our season on David Duke is out on Wednesday. This is also the point where I welcome in my neighbor the not yet a state of Washington, D.C. It is Stefan Fatsis, author of the book Word Freak and A Few Seconds of Panic Kellow. Stefan.
S3: Hi, Josh. I’m announcing my candidacy for the Senate. When D.C. becomes a state right here right now, I’m not going to say you have my vote.
S4: I need to hear the different platforms, but know you’ll start with a healthy lead. I think so. With us from Palo Alto, California. Slate staff writer. Host of Slow Burn Season three, the great Joel Andersen. Joel, just so you know, when you said the words Aaron Brooks on last week’s show, my elbow started tingling.
S5: Oh, it is. You know, it’s funny, too, because they’re like three famous Aaron Brooks Brooks’s to you, you know, like so there’s Aaron Brooks, the little point guard that played out Oregon and kind of found around the NBA for a little bit. And I feel like there’s another Aaron Brooks that I may just be making up because I can’t think of another one.
S4: I just got kind of stuck in the middle of that sentence.
S5: And, yeah, I kind of got to know what to do with that. It just took the travel call. But, yeah, those were the much darker days for your saints.
S4: Josh not dark at all. Aaron Brooks led them to their first ever playoff victory. And we will always love him for that. Really? At least I. Well, that’s what Aaron Brooks did seriously. That’s what he did. And nobody will ever be able to take that away from him before you take down the Benson statue.
S3: Put one up to Aaron Brooks. There you go. I was told that I neglected to mention last week in my after ball that the Statue of the Saints honor there is one and should come down put up one of George Benson.
S4: Wasn’t the note that you got, Stefan, that there is a statue of Steve Gleason blocking the punt?
S6: Yes. So it filled both to the categories in my after ball one, awful people who don’t deserve statues and sports and two action statues as the only good statues.
S7: Here, here.
S8: In 1933, George Preston Marshall renamed his Boston football team from the Braves and hired William a Lone Star Dietz as Coach Dietz signed to Native American players. But The Washington Evening Examiner reported that wasn’t enough for Marshall before a game against the Bears. Marshall dashed down to the nearest store selling theatrical supplies. The paper reported that the players were the reddest crowd of Indians. You ever saw this side of the Sioux reservation? The boys had dowsed their faces with a generous application of grease paint and were gorgeous in their coppery skins. I tell this story as a reminder of how retrospectively and often contemporaneously icky this NFL franchise has been. Dietz wasn’t Native American at all, but spent his life passing as one. The team for decades claimed it was named to honor Dietz, but news accounts at the time show that Marshall changed the name to avoid confusion with the National League Baseball team and talent. Marshal, as we know, was a segregationist who refused for decades to sign black players. And finally, through his 21 year ownership, long after appropriating Native American imagery, was considered harmless. Dan Snyder doubled and tripled down on the mythology and lies about respect and heritage in the team’s name and history. At long last, the word Redskin as the name of a professional sports team appears to be dead. Team’s sponsor FedEx started it with a statement last week. Nike and Pepsi followed. Roger Goodell came aboard. Even the team’s new head coach, Ron Rivera, was given permission to say that it would be awesome if a new name was in place before the season. Josh, this can still go sideways. Snyder could fight back or stall or try to rename the team something native at J. Center, like the Warriors. But for now, I am enjoying this moment of justice and also schadenfreude. What about you?
S1: The main thing that comes to mind for me and I don’t in any way mean to minimize the decades and decades worth of hard work by native activists who’ve been pushing for this. When I say the following, which is this was really easy. Like all they. And now they’re saying, well, we can come up with a new name before the 2020 season even starts. Like FedEx says, they don’t support the name and they should change it. And, you know, now they’re going to change it. They could have done this last year, the year before. The year before that, the year before that, all the way back into the 1930s. They could have made this decision. And for, you know, ever since Dan Snyder took over the team and before that. But let’s focus on Snyder for a second. Just the level of obfuscation of lying about the origins of the name of claims about how you know that it would be throwing away a tradition of claims about how wouldn’t be possible. It would be too difficult to change it. It’s just all hope bullshit. None of it was ever true. And, you know, the other thing that occurs to me is there are all these conversations going on constantly now about, OK, this person supported the Iraq war. So should we pay any attention to what they are saying now? Should we, like, let them kind of tell us about what you know, what’s going on in our world today? Oh, you know, this this person supported Donald Trump and now they think Trump is bad. Should we, like, welcome them into the tent or should we reject them? I think the analogy here is that Dan Snyder is John Bolton, like when it mattered when there is an opportunity to do the right thing. He didn’t do it. And he should get no credit for doing it now. When the time has long since passed for this to have happened, he missed his moment. It’s obviously a good thing that this is happening. But let’s give credit to people who deserve to get credit. And let’s not let this change what Snyder’s legacy is. And, you know, let’s not forget how long this name was allowed to stay in place.
S5: We talked about this a couple of weeks ago about what Dan Snyder’s legacy might be if he changed the name or if he didn’t. And, you know, whether or not he might go down, you know, along the lines, George Press and Marshall. And I think what you just said there, Josh, is why I thought that he might never change it is because, A, he said that he would never change it. Seven years ago. But, B, he really had nothing to gain by changing it. Right. And because clearly there are some financial incentives to changing the name and just like making business easier for himself. But he was so dedicated and so dug in on this name that I thought, well, there’s no reason for him to change because he’s not going to even really get credit for changing it. Under these circumstances, not from us at least, yeah, right. Right. I don’t think there’s anybody out there that’s really I mean, all the contemporaneous media accounts that we’ve read this week. I haven’t seen anybody, like, praise Dan Snyder for having a change of heart or when considering this issue at all. So I don’t think it’s going to change anything about his legacy or the narrative about this or anything, right?
S6: No, God, no. I mean, especially when you think about how crassly and dismissively and disrespectfully that Snyder treated native groups that protested this name since the 1990s. But as soon as as soon as sponsors complained, as soon as one of his minority partners, FedEx, the chairman of FedEx, complained, that was it. That was enough.
S9: You know what is doesn’t really know that that was the instigating event or was it?
S6: Well, we don’t we haven’t seen the tick tock yet, but certainly the first public statement was by FedEx issuing that one sentence, saying that that they had asked the team to change the name.
S1: That was the first public kind of break in the wall.
S6: Yeah. So we don’t know what led up to this. And I am eager to read The Washington Post’s 7000 word story about this when it is finally put together, because you know that Snyder went down kicking and screaming here.
S5: Yeah. And I also think about this because I actually don’t think this is easy to ask. I guess I agreed with you and I pointed out to you I disagree with you. Right. So the reason that I disagree that it’s been easy because it was easy. It would have already happened. You know what I mean? Like, I don’t know. What about this moment? And that’s something we’ve talked about with George Floyd in the national uprisings now. Like what is different now? Why? You know, why is everybody sort of coming to this point, having this moment where we’re all like realizing, oh, maybe we need to reconsider, you know, people’s feelings when it comes to systemic racism and discrimination and just, you know, blatantly offensive iconography that we know that we have here in America. And the reason that it’s not easy is because it’s something that is still a priority within like the American system, is that we prioritize the sensibilities of angry white people over and over again, from Mascotte to kneeling protest to the continued soft ban of calling counterattack. Right. Like, there’s still this belief that angry white people are the people who must be deferred to. It all turns cause it doesn’t even make sense. Like, I refuse to believe that people are this attached to Mascotte names. I live in Palo Alto. The school right up the street is Stanford. They’re known as the Cardinal. I did not know that many years ago. They were known as Stanford Indians. And like we changed it. They changed it out here. And no, I don’t hear anybody talking about oh, man, I miss the days when we were there were known as the Indians. You know, there’s a cardinal now.
S6: They changed it in 1972.
S9: Yeah, well, that’s the missed opportunity for Washington, right. It’s this idea that the nickname, the slur is bound up with tradition. No, the thing that’s that’s been a bit of tradition. You know, the thing that people remember fondly as a winning franchise. And so what if all the Super Bowls had come under a different name, then people would be attached to that name. And this is what you know, it could have been like the Golden State Warriors, where they had a caricature of a Indian mascot and nobody remembers that. This could have been ancient history, but they wouldn’t allow it to be. They just dug in and dug in and dug in to the point now where everyone rightly sees this franchise as being abhorrent. And on the wrong side of history, that’s, you know, what they they’re reaping, what they sowed here. And you just just to be clear on one on one point. You know, Joel, what I meant by it’s easy is that they’re saying now this just came out last week. They’re saying they could change this before the 2020 season starts. What I meant by it, by easy is like if they really wanted to change the name, they could have done it in a week or a month. And so all this, you know, idea of like, oh, we need to study it.
S10: And what do you think? They did it? What did they do it now? Yeah, that’s a good point. Why haven’t they just gone ahead and done it already?
S11: It’s trying to buy a little time. Is is, I think, what’s happening.
S6: Right. Well. And then that to me shows that they didn’t come into this thinking this was a fait accompli that this really did seem to gestate in the last couple of weeks, because if they had been spending like if they had read the tea leaves, even like on the day George Floyd was killed, they could have by now come up with a full marketing campaign, a full statement, and looked that they weren’t being on, that they weren’t reacting to pressure. But Dan Snyder is not capable of that. Dan Snyder ultimately is not a very sophisticated business person. And, you know, in in response to what you were saying, Josh, about sort of are jol about the sort of catering to white people. I mean, this is the sort of whatever the percentage of Washington football fans is that clings to this name as if it’s some sort of, you know, personal. Deeply felt collective identity for them. That is just bullshit. That’s what we tell ourselves in order to justify the continued repression, continued maintenance of these terrible, terrible symbols. I mean, it really and we’ve had this conversation on numerous topics, right? It’s like if people had the strength to just say this is wrong and we need to change this and educate their fan base, then they would be much, much simpler. And I think that’s what’s going to happen here. What’s going to happen now? They’re going be people complaining that, you know, the fans that are locked into this name will continue to bitch about the liberals winning and blah, blah, blah. And ultimately, the name will change. They’ll buy new gear and some small percentage of the fan base will try to, you know, cling to the old name in whatever stupid ways they can. And ultimately, they will be vanquished. They will disappear. Yeah.
S5: And I mean, we’ve been talking about this throughout the week. And what keeps coming up, in addition to all that, like none of this would matter, none of the fan, you know, none of the fan reaction, the tenor of the country right now would matter so much if the organization that Dan Snyder runs wasn’t a complete mess. And I think that, like one of our emails is like this organization is a mess. And, you know, I just I just want to for a second, I read one of the breakdowns of, like, all the things that have gone wrong with Dan Snyder’s organization.
S10: And it said he had retained bluechip strategists such as Ari Fleischer, Julia Payne, Lanny Davis, Frank Luntz, among others. Like if you want a sense for why there has been so much resistance to a name change. There you go. This is like a who’s who list of Republican PR flurry’s, you know, I mean. So that’s what in another recent adviser works at a firm with a guy who is part of the Clinton administration, but was most recently giving advice to Trump on re-election strategy. That’s 20-20.
S5: That’s a guy that Dan Snyder is leaning on right now. Right. So you can understand, like, if to the extent that we talk about, you know, people, you know, deferring to angry white people, they are made up of angry white people who make their living catering to angry white people. And that is why we haven’t seen so much of it of a change. And that’s why we can see why it’s been so ham handedly handled. What a mouth twist.
S11: Director Ham handedly handled, baby. I like it. I mean, Dan Snyder is going to bring in the people who tell Dan Snyder what Dan Snyder wants to hear. Right. Like that. These are the people he wants around him are the ones that coddle and affirm his views. But let’s talk about the Cleveland Indians, because in a lot of ways, I think this is a more interesting case. And I think it’s easy for me to be, you know, all like, you know, they should. But with the Washington thing. You know, we’ve been saying this for years.
S9: They should have done this a long time ago. A lot of people have been saying that we shouldn’t have any Indian names or mascots we have or just speaking for myself. I have not necessarily staked out that position for years like I have. That’s not something that I have said. And so it’s interesting to see that the conversation has moved to this place where it’s now kind of pushed beyond let’s get rid of the obvious slurs where it’s now like kind of the mainstream view or the view from this major league franchise that, you know, even having the name Indians is no longer acceptable. What do you make of that, Stefan?
S3: I think that’s a fine place to be. I mean, why do we need to name teams after, you know, oppressed ethnic minorities in America?
S11: But we weren’t saying that, like, you know, it seems so right now, but we were saying that six months ago. So.
S6: People saying that one man, there’s been a fight over that cartoon caricature. Chief Wahoo and the Indians did get rid of it as a secondary logo for the team. I don’t think this is new. You know, they’ve been on the list of of other native nicknames that that have been you know, there’ve been calls to come on, you guys, where you got a lot of the same level.
S9: Oh, you guys would not have anticipated six months ago that the Cleveland Indians would put out a statement saying, we’re revisiting our name right now.
S10: Oh, no. I mean, there’s no way to predict anything about our world six months ago. I mean, I bet. But there has been a steady drumbeat of opposition to all of these names from the Florida State Seminoles to the Fighting Sioux and University in North North Dakota. You know, the Cleeve Indians, like there have been people that have been activists pressing for the changes that we a lot of people have chosen not to hear. And I mean, it’s the same thing. Like just this weekend I found out the Edmonton Eskimos. I never even thought about. I just thought about Eskimos like just a cartoonish, you know, caricature of whatever. I don’t know. You know, I never even thought of it as a native person. Right. And then I read the story. People are protesting about changing the name for the Edmonton Eskimos. And I’m like, oh, yeah, change it. Get rid of it. Like, who gives a shit? Like, why are you attached to that? That’s the same way I sort of feel about that.
S5: But then I feel like there have been a bunch of people all along saying, oh, the Cleveland Indians thing is wrong. I just think now everybody realizes this is the moment to strike.
S4: Well, so far, the Atlanta Braves and the Kansas City Chiefs are kind of sitting this one out and twiddling their thumbs and hoping the moment passes. Right. I mean, there are certainly questions have been asked and raised. But you know that Kinzie chiefs, they just won the Super Bowl and they have not released a statement yet. It is not, I think, gotten to the point. Maybe it will this week, maybe. Well, next week, maybe it won’t get there. Where these teams are all being pressured by their FedEx’s by their fan base is where it gets to the point where they have to change or by their commissioners.
S6: And now it’s if if the Indians goes down and baseball realizes that this is a smart move and that there are plenty of great new potential nicknames out there that fans will scoop up the march of, then it’s going to happen and it should happen and pushback be damned. Finally, you know, do something that is just right. It’s not that hard to do. You know, the chiefs some some portion of the Chiefs fan base is going to say, well, the team is actually named for the nickname of the mayor and had nothing to do with Native Americans. But all of the iconography they adopted, mascot, logo, et cetera, is the Braves will say it’s harmless. And look, the Seminole tribe approves of Florida State using it as their nickname and mascot. So there will be dodges here. And the question is how powerfully the fat AXA’s and the leagues and fellow owners who start to see this shit come down are going to react and how strong a position they will take to to compel teams to change their names.
S9: Yeah, and the thing that I think is important to think about and I’m glad you just brought it up.
S4: Stefan, is that like when you have one of these nicknames, there’s all the other stuff that comes along for the ride, the associated iconography, the songs, the chants, the face paint, and it’s sort of think it’s sort of like an ode in a blog post that like it’s just like a super you know, when you when you establish a tone and something that you write or something that you say and all the people in the comments or in their replies, that just sort of follow along and just, you know, want to go with the crowd like that. It’s just a really bad blog post. All these all these teams, they’re they’re inviting all of this stuff that I think, you know, that the Indians are we’re trying to. And, you know, I thought I honestly thought that they would succeed. They’re saying, like, we can separate out Chief Wahoo, we can separate out this icon and this caricature and we’ll be fine. We’ll like, you know, keep the good part and get rid of the bad part. But I think what they’re finding now is that it no longer seems fine.
S3: I mean, Terry Francona, the manager of the team, said it’s time to change the name.
S6: There’s going to be momentum here and there will be this is what will happen. These things happen gradually and then suddenly. Right. Twenty years of activism and lobbying and protests outside of FedEx Field led to this moment that was catalyzed by external events in America. Same thing is going to happen with some of these other teams.
S4: And just I think this will be maybe a little preview of our bonus segment. But Ron Rivera, the coach of the Washington team, person of color, has talked publicly about wanting to change the name. And he said he wants. Come up with a name that honors the heritage of Native Americans and also the military like. This is not going to go. I’m not super optimistic about this going ahead in a great direction. And like, why not just go in a totally different. Totally different way. But you know, Dolf, Marina.
S5: Yeah. If you were going to start up a league today, like MLS, WNBA, whatever some of the newer leagues NWSL like, they don’t have these problems. And it’s shown that, like, fans don’t really give a shit about mascots, man. You know, I mean, ultimately the games are what matter.
S6: You know, to change the mascot bitch for a short time. Right. And I can go watch the games. Right. So just change it. Right. Bigger. Right. And we’ll get into some of that and potent possibilities in the bonus segment. There’s some really obvious ones for Cleveland and the Indians. Washington is a little more wide open. But again, because of the people that the. I mean, for couple reasons. One, because, as Rivera said in one of The Washington Post pieces over the weekend, that he and Snyder alone were coming up with names and had narrowed it to two that they really like. That doesn’t bode super well. And you mentioned this. The thing about native heritage and military honor that was in the team’s statement on Friday in which it used the name of the team like 10 times. So, hey, really moving on there. So there are, as I said in my intro, there are ways for this to go sideways. But you have to hope and feel that if Goodell puts his thumb on this, there’s a possibility that Snyder will be talked out of doing something that will only reignite the criticism and allow this debate to go on.
S4: Last week, the Colorado Rockies, Ian Desmond posted a long and heartfelt essay on Instagram about his journey to the major leagues. The racism he’s experienced along the way and everything he wants to do to make baseball more welcoming for black players at the end. He explained that he won’t be playing this season, saying that with a pregnant wife and four young children who have lots of questions about what’s going on in the world. Home is where I need to be right now. The Los Angeles Dodgers David Price announced he won’t be playing either. And a bunch of NBA and WNBA players, including Avery Bradley, Victor Oladipo, DeAndre Jordan, Natasha Cloud, Renee Montgomery and Liz Kambakhsh have said that they’re opting out of their respective pro basketball bubbles. Stefan, different players are sitting out for different reasons, some because of health. Some for a family. Some to focus on advocacy work. Some for a combination of all of those reasons. But overall, I find this movement heartening. And I wonder what it suggests about how athletes will take on decisions about whether to play or not to play when we are not in a pandemic.
S6: I think we saw some of that even before the pandemic. You think of my team were taking a break from her career to do activist work to help a guy who was imprisoned unjustly and was released. Her work paid off. That just happened recently. So it is heartening and it does, I think, help athletes put life into perspective and career into perspective. But at the same time, this is clearly an option that is not for everybody. There is wide unease, I think, among players to go into these bubbles or to play. We’ve seen that from players like Shaun do a little of the Washington Nationals. There’s going to be pressure to play. Some players have job security, some don’t. Some need the income more than others. So while I think that, you know, that’s seen some players drop out, sends a good message to players who have to reevaluate their lives going forward. I’m not so sure that we’re gonna see a trend here when play resumes under normal circumstances.
S5: Yeah, I’m probably sound like a broken record at this point, but I always come back to this. If professional athletes with unions and collectively bargain contracts are ambivalent about playing under these circumstances, imagine the pressure that college and high school athletes must feel. Think of all the stories we’ve read of all these positive tests at LSU and Clemson and Kansas State and so on and so forth. Plus, you add in all of the, you know, players that are speaking up now about like sort of the I am basically abusive atmosphere is that a lot of them work and where they just don’t have a lot of power to speak up and say what’s going on. Surely those players have some concerns for any number of reasons, whether it’s underlying health issues, being in contact with elderly or immunocompromised relatives. And we’re not hearing nearly as much about them as we are professional athletes who do have some financial security that others don’t. But that’s what I always sort of I mean, if you’re a player and you can decide not to play, that’s great. I mean, that’s that’s a beautiful thing that you you you have some degree of influence over your career like that. But there’s so many other athletes that don’t. And it just you know, it just speaks to me the larger irresponsibility of trying to soldier on in the middle of a pandemic, man.
S12: Yeah, that’s a great point. And looking at the NBA players and the WNBA players, I think is particularly interesting, because the guys that I mentioned, every Bradley, Victor Oladipo, DeAndre Jordan, have all made their millions. They’re going to be losing salary by setting out, but they’re set for life. Their families are set for life and they’re not in a position where they’re forced to choose between their livelihoods and their health and their family’s health. But, you know, as so often has been the case, you know, these WNBA players, I think, are put in that position and are making harder choices. And there are a lot of players that are choosing to sit out, whether it’s for health reasons, whether it’s for advocacy and activism. As you know, folks like Natasha Cloud are doing.
S4: I guess in one sense, they’re not making barely anything. And so what do they have to lose? But, you know, that’s a you know, I don’t actually mean that. It’s an incredibly difficult decision. And just like what you’re saying, Joel, it’s a decision that has been forced on them by leagues, I think by us in some cases, not Joel Anderson. But by now, I don’t want you to play by people in the world who are excited about these games happening, who want something to watch, who want a distraction from all the stuff that’s going on in the world.
S12: And so, you know, there are these these sorts of tears and players and a particular tier of pro athletics of college of high school are being put in this position where they have.
S6: She’s well, the professional athletes particularly, I mean, the window for your career is really short in most cases it’s really small. I mean, the average NFL career is, what, less than three years now? I think the pressure to play is enormous. The responsibility to play to your family and to yourself and to the people that have helped you come up. And also the desire to play. Let’s not discount the fact that athletes want to play. They want to be out there and weighing risks is part of their daily existence. I mean, it’s not as if NFL players don’t know that just playing the sport is incredibly dangerous to their future. So you’ll throw on top of that playing this insanely dangerous game in the middle of a pandemic and not knowing what the long term health outcomes for. Just playing football, period, but then contract covered as an athlete, maybe a black athlete with a higher rate of of susceptibility, maybe a black athlete with a higher rate of susceptibility and underlying conditions like sleep sleep apnea or obesity or whatever. These are really difficult decisions to make. And the leagues, I think, that are going out of their way to include the players in the deliberations and giving them the option of sitting out are the ones that are going to look better in the long run. I mean, I’m not comparing the NFL to the NWSL here, but that league did tell the players, look, you don’t have to play. We will still pay you for the season. And very few players sat out. And in fact, the only notable players who sat out were three of the biggest stars of the national team. I actually was damning with Diana Matheson yesterday, a Canadian national team member. She’s in her mid thirties, coming off of a surgery last year. Kept her out of the World Cup. And she said that she strongly considered not playing. But the way the league included players in the decision making and the fact that she’s on this team and loves playing are what swayed her to come back. She also said, I don’t see how anything but a shorter format in one or two locations could work right now without being socially irresponsible.
S10: Yeah. And I mean, you know, you talk about, like, the danger. So CBS Sports, I think, was Dennis Dodd had a report a few days ago that talked about just and this was just limited to college. And I guess, you know, I’m a college head, so that’s why I’m so fixated on that, that if they played college football this season under circumstances as they presently are, which is very hard to predict out, you know, three or four months from now, but just under you know, under these conditions, with the expectations of how the virus interacts with people, that as many as seven players could die, you know, just just from playing football, you know, like under these circumstances that we we risk as many as seven college football players dying. And obviously. So, I mean, we’ve you’ve got to presume that there will be a similar risk for professional athletes if they wanted to do it. And I just I just like I just keep saying this. And I’m I’m probably not being as articulate or as thoughtful about this as I could be, but I just cannot believe that we’re we’re talking about this. And I mean, I think the other thing to this is that we talk about this in terms of just the athletes, like the athletes are at risk. And so we’ve got to protect the athletes or the athletes. You know, health must be prioritized above all. There are other people around these teams that are not playing. I mean, there are coaches, there is essential staff who, like Dusty Baker, is 71 years old. Mike D’Antoni is 69. Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll is 68 years old. They’re all at a high risk of if they were to contract this virus. Things could go really, really wrong for them. And so, like, it’s like it’s like even even if you just think outside of the game for a second, it’s just seems deeply stupid to do this.
S12: There’s a WNBA coach, Dan Hughes, who’s not going to coach because he has a greater risk. Sixty five years old, he was also diagnosed with cancer last year. There are other are there coaches who are not going to go into the NBA bubble?
S1: Circling back to what I said in my intro. I think the reason that I kind of started the conversation with this idea that it’s important for athletes that are wealthier and more famous to be making this decision to sit out. It makes me kind of go back to this normalization of paternity leave that we’ve had in pro sports only very recently. This idea that it’s not only okay, but it is actually normal, verging on good for players to see the birth of their children. We’ve seen Gordon Hayward talking about how he’ll leave the bubble if his wife gives birth and the Celltex are still in playoff consideration. But I just think, you know, Ian Desmond and Avery Bradley. Guys who, you know, might have the opportunity to opt out financially that other other people down. But anything that makes it seem more normal and acceptable to contextualize sports in such a way that, like your life and your family and your health are more important. I think that’s good. That’s hazardous. There’s a social good attached to that. I’m not messages a minute. It will kind of carry into other kind of walks of life. It will make it more acceptable for other players to do it. And maybe other people in there like work and professions. We’ll see like an athlete doing it and say maybe my concerns about this are more acceptable, even in something as narrow as the pandemic.
S6: It’s a positive thing. I mean, we’ve seen Mike Trout, the best player in baseball, not only say that he’s concerned about being in the non bubble of Major League Baseball for the next few months. He’s got a wife who is pregnant. He is speaking out and using this platform to basically educate founds about the risks that not only players, but the entire teams and that the entire process exposes. And he was photographed over the weekend working out in a mask. That’s enormously important as a message to the general public. And sure, some people might just look like, oh, look at that guy, showboating virtue, signalling a mask.
S13: He’s flipping. He’s hitting a homerun and flipping the mask, flipping.
S5: I mean, it’s not as Zion may have been showboating when he had his mask on and this didn’t work out.
S3: That’s a good point. But regardless of how people interpret that, some people are going to see that and understand that there will be a synaptic connection. And I’ll firing that says that. Look, if Mike Trout can, whereas this, you know, wear a mask while he’s running the bases, I can wear one when I go to the grocery store. Not super optimistic. That’ll be widely accepted, but someone might see that and interpret it that way.
S9: I have a question for you, Joel. This kind of reminds me of the conversation we had a while back about the move to add games to the NFL season and the tension there around increased risk of of short term and long term debilitating injury for players. But in this universe, when guys are not having very long careers, it also increases earning opportunities for guys who are on the fringes. And that could potentially be life changing in a positive way to get this kind of money. And so how do you think about that question around let’s just use baseball as an example? The talking point for the union is like, tell us where and when. They’ve said publicly that they want to play. They want this money that will be just be lost if there’s no season and minor league baseball is already been canceled. And so those guys are gonna be really struggling. Oh, yeah. And so it’s going to be beneficial for a certain group of players to get the service time to get the money that will come from that. And so how do you balance that? Like if you were in the players union, if you’re the head of the players union or just a member, that this will actually be good for some people in the membership, while it might be overall kind of detrimental to society or just. Or just to a certain other group?
S5: Yeah, I mean, I totally understand that tension, right? That, you know, there are a lot of people who livelihoods on the line here and can’t afford to miss too many paychecks. I mean, that is a price also.
S11: The stadium staff and people who will be harmed by not having games.
S5: Yeah. I mean, that is an issue that is widely shared throughout America. Like, we’re all sort of going through it, like right now, just here at our company, we are going through a tremendous financial difficulty and we’re having to make, you know, concessions to that. And so, you know, far be it for me to tell people, you know, don’t play if they want to play. And there’s an opportunity to play because I totally understand that. I mean, just want a base level as an athlete. Like, you only get so many game days in the course of your life. There’s still going to be training, but they’re still going to be working out and doing everything like the way they live their lives is not going to change. The only thing that’s gonna be missing is the games in the paycheck. So I totally understand why they want to get back out there. But I think as a society like this is a sacrifice that we need to be willing to make. But the problem is that our government has not stepped up to to honor our sacrifice and to honor their sacrifice. It would probably be easier if there was some sort of mechanism where people got paid and their needs were met. And, you know, we could get through this and everybody would be willing to sacrifice for a very short amount of time, wear their mask, socially, isolate themselves. And then we could have games. And then people, you know, things could get back to going. But like what is happening right now is a symptom of a broken society. And so when that happens and when people’s lives are at risk, I think the greater good is for us to say things are so bad we’d need to stop.
S6: Yeah, tell that to the 24 year old, you know, who’s on the free agent bubble in the NBA. You know, Victor Oladipo goes down and that’s my job. That’s my job. This is my chance to have a career. If I can get signed and do something during this bubble window and I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and I’m going to believe that I am young and healthy and that the team in the league are doing everything to safeguard my health. And if I should contract the virus, that I’ll be cared for well. So athletes are always willing to take risks.
S9: And it really is incumbent our all bad at assessing risk, all of us, especially when we’re young and feel like we’re bulletproof.
S6: Right. And then the people who are in charge of ultimately making the decisions on how much risk is acceptable have this tremendous financial interest in getting everybody everything back to the way it was.
S9: You know, there was this kind of brief moment when we were all talking about the funny tweet from Patrick Beverley about if LeBron wants to play. Right. But it’s not to put. It’s not LeBron is fault that this is happening. But, you know, Mike Trout is Mike Trout. I mean, he’s not LeBron James. And so what he says carries some weight. But in our broader kind of culture and society, it’s like it’s going to resonate with his peers and with baseball fans, but not with the world. And so, you know, just imagine an alternate universe in which LeBron James said, you know, this is not a good idea. We’re not going to do this. But, you know, the point I’m making is like you have guys like Avery Bradley IV, guys like Ian Desmond. But at the top of these sports with the guys who are most secure, our most famous, most rich, best, most talented you are. You’re seeing the vast, vast majority of them still say we want to play. We want to do this. And so that’s important right there.
S6: Hasn’t there been no statement opt outs yet from huge influential superstars?
S5: I mean, Kyrie, I mean, Kyrie wasn’t gonna play anyone here. But you know, I mean that’s sort of been Kyrie thinks that he is. Kyrie thinks he made a huge statement. We could, we could make a difference.
S6: I mean you, you I think arguably the biggest athlete star athletes that are not playing in their leagues are the three women in them in soccer. Kristen Press, Tobin Heath and Megan Rapinoe. But they’re not going to move the cultural needle the way LeBron would, obviously. So what you’re seeing is, as we talked about at the beginning of the segment, our players who were in that comfortable upper middle tier, you know, Wilson Chandler’s made his money. DeMarcus Cousins has made his money. Trevor Ariss made his money. They have the flexibility to be able to make this decision, to not come back and not really risk anything to their careers.
S5: They don’t care if they do. I just can’t believe. Again, why does anybody want to see this? I mean, there’s not going to be fans there. It just I, I, I get it. I get like, maybe the curiosity factor. You weren’t watching the basketball tournament on ESPN over the weekend. That was on. You know, people kept tweeting about that. And I was like, there’s something on. I had no idea, but I did not know that golfs with golf was on.
S14: I’m watching a lot of Premier League soccer. Oh, man. Yeah. I mean, the women’s soccer highlights where, you know, there is a good. Backyard Lake Fit, like Twitter, is becoming like a place for sports highlights, again, like people, people want to watch this stuff. I mean, I was watching that Jeffrey Epstein documented.
S5: Even if we don’t have football this fall and Manisha, it doesn’t seem like we will. ESPN still has a lot of programming slots to fill. Which is why ESPN will relaunch the show NFL Life starting in August. The show will feature the likes of former NFL star Keyshawn Johnson, then our Lafsky and Marcus Spears. But among those stars is a star in her own right. Mina Kimes. In fact, I looked it up. Mina has nearly one hundred and twenty thousand more Twitter followers than her former football player co-host combined. Did you know that? I mean, I didn’t know that. Yeah, see? And it’s an obvious understatement to say Menagh, a Yale grad and a business reporter by trade, took a non-traditional route to the seat next to Keyshawn Johnson since being at ESPN. She’s been an award winning magazine writer and a regular panelist on Around the Horn and highly questionable. Plus, she’s a host for her own football podcast with her dog Linae, who I’ll be addressing later and ESPN Daily. But a very strong case can be made that she owes her incredibly successful career to our own Josh, who asked her to write for Slate in 2014 about her love for the Seattle Seahawks. So let us consider this her hero’s welcome home, Mina. Do you a think we’ll have football this fall? Be really love football this much to dedicate your career to it like this?
S15: Well, see, first I got it. I got to correct the record here. Josh didn’t commission his. I wrote it on my personal Tumblr and he asked to republish it. So, yeah, you’re not I don’t want to call him a bandwagon editor or anything like that, but recognize talent when I see it. I do think probably the piece got a lot more eyeballs on Slate than many times that Tumblr dot com.
S3: I’ll give you that plug, though, for the Tumblr. Thank you. Is it still up? There’s a selective.
S15: I think I shut it down, actually, but yeah. No, Josh is like the Bill Belichick, you know, finding the undrafted quarterback or a seventh round draft pick, I suppose. Yes, I am comparing myself to Tom Brady. That’s how much I. So much. I hope we have football, man. It feels weird to talk about any sports happening in the fall or at any point right now with any degree of certainty. But I sure hope we get NFL. I guess that’s predicated on a much more important dream, which is that I sure hope our country is in a place where we can have the NFL.
S1: So, Mina, how do you think about your position on this panel show and the fact that you are an analyst? I mean, it’s very cool. There are these retired players. That’s typically where we get our national supply of football analysts from the sidelines of football games. So, you know, I think it’s it’s great that we’re gonna be able to watch you in this role. And do you think it’s that important to, you know, be in this position? Like, do you think it’s like a milestone kind of thing?
S15: I love talking about myself and milestones in my own importance. Josh? Yeah, I’m I’m excited about because I just love my football. I love and analyzing the game. Right. Which is important to this role. Rather than being a host or even a reporter. Actually just breaking down matchups and teams and players is what I love most in the world, is what I do on my football show me cam show featuring Lenny. So the chance to do that all the time is an absolute dream and a fantasy. It’s not something I thought I would ever do. Certainly not when you plucked me from obscurity. The Belichick of editors. And I guess I do like the idea that, you know, my presence on the television screen, that state Keyshawn Marcus stand maybe will make it a little bit easier for someone else to have that dream. But really, when our time was the most important thing, I guess the greatest significance of me in turn representation being there, which is it’s a victory for small people, man. I mean, if you’ve seen Dan, dude is like eight feet tall. Marcus is a human giant. Keyshawn is huge as well. I’m talking out of five, six. You know, maybe our lady doesn’t tell, but I’m a I’m like maybe one third the size of a Marcus Spears. So we’re really not talking about that kind of representation enough because that’s huge, I think, for the small community.
S3: Congratulations. As a small person who also stood next to large people, while it can be intimidating, I’m just warning you, I know you’ve been in their presence before, but, yeah, they are that the physical intimidation factor that you have already shown the ability to overcome is very impressive. Thank you. Thank you. Tell us about your growing into the role of being an analyst. I mean, how much of a difference is it from just being a fan who talked about the Seahawks and the rest of the NFL, too? I don’t know. Do you feel pressured to, like, watch the all 20 to be able to sort of sling lingo and play formations and playbook stuff with these other with these former NFL players? Or is that already?
S15: Something that I’ve been doing, it is already something I’d be doing, it’s all I do, short answer, all I do in my free time is study and take notes and go back and watch. You know, coaches say from last year, talk to people were smarter than me about concepts. I think sometimes people don’t understand the amount of my football podcast is really goofy. Right. And we’re doing division previews now, and it’s called Hosted by a Dog. And his face is on the logo. But a single division preview. I have about forty five pages of notes that go into it. And I spent all week going back, looking at the depth charts, pulling statistics, thinking through that kind of thing. So, you know that that’s the sort of work that goes into this. It is work that I really enjoy. I mean, I can’t tell you how exciting that is when you’re kind of pulling numbers on a player and you got the sound so pathetic and you come across a statistic that simply take your look. Well, wait, you mean to tell me the Seahawks defense was actually better at defending the passant base? So everybody’s information to me, like that’s how I feel. So, you know, the chance to do that is crazy.
S5: Why isn’t this boring to you? Because, I mean, is somebody that you know, I you know, I played football in high school and college briefly and like that was the most boring part. Yeah. I got a little bit of a career. I have year in high school, but we don’t talk about it anyway. But I mean, like, that was the most boring part. Like, I don’t understand why this is interesting to you. I just want a base level because like watching film is like one of the most boring droning things that any human can do. And like, you seem to eat that up.
S15: I think it kind of stems from the same aspect of just being a reporter that I liked so much, which is I find the world a lot more interesting when you kind of see it like Neo in The Matrix, right? I find football a lot more fun. And it’s I realize this is not true of everyone, but I find all sports. But I just feel football here a lot more entertaining when I understand why things are happening and what they mean. And the more time I can spend sort of marinating in that information and thinking about it, the more I actually enjoy watching the game. It’s fun, man. It’s fun to watch things when you actually understand them and kind of pick them apart and see the seams. I don’t know. I think it’s one.
S5: Was there a light bulb moment for you at all when you just would like, you know, when some of this acquired football knowledge? Right. Because you grow up with it like this. This is required now. It’s it was our moment when it came together for you when you’re just like, oh, I’m watching this. I don’t understand the mesh point of something like that.
S15: You know, for me, a big thing. I tell this a lot of people when I’m sort of explaining the game to maybe people who haven’t thought about it and just kind of enjoy it as a casual fan. But once you just start realizing it’s about just trying to create numbers and size advantages at various points on the field, and then you just kind of watching. It really does feel like that weird, beautiful mind type moment where you’re suddenly just looking and you’re like, oh, that’s there are three guys there and four guys there or oh, that’s that’s a that’s a linebacker on a wide receiver and he’s a lot faster than him. And then once you kind of start seeing it like that, it gets really exciting. I think it gets really beautiful because that’s what we talk. You know, my head coach right now is Kyle Shanahan, and all we do is think about that. Why is he so good? Why is why does his running back averaging seven yards per carry? Well, it’s because Kyle Qiana is like masterminded these matchups. Right. And he created this like split second of confusion and created this advantage here. And once you start seeing that’s really exciting.
S12: So the main conversations around the NFL right now are the same kinds of conversations rapping about everything, about are they going to play? Should they play around how they’re responding to the social justice protests? We did a segment about Washington and potentially changing the name. Do you feel like of the stuff around to kind of got to the game and how the game is played? Does that feel like a thing that like we’re going to be excited about talking about that in August or September? It just feels. I mean, all of this just feels like the conversation that we’re having now just feels like it’s on a faraway fantasy land to me right now. And maybe it’s like fun to live in a universe, but it just it just doesn’t feel like super important as it as we’re sitting here.
S15: The question of whether to play or whether or not we’ll be having these conversations about racial justice is football.
S1: I guess just the question of like the mesh point and, you know, Tampa to an and all. Yeah. And all of this stuff.
S15: I mean, like, no, I get that completely.
S1: I’m I’m interested in why you have to say now. Unlike highly questionable about like these kind of like macro issues about. Yeah. The world, that word that we’re living in. And yet there’s like a huge audience and people are hungry for like X’s and O’s stuff, too, because, like that’s an escape for people. I mean, it’s just like a really hard.
S15: Yeah, no, I, I, I think it’s a great question. I was so when the Cam Newton news broke to the Patriots. I was so thrilled for, like four days, just thinking talking about what that offense would look like. Right. Like what? It’s Judgment Day. It’s got to do with Cam Newton or they get to read. The triple option is you get a R o from the twenty eighteen or turn it off as all that’s. And then at the same time, of course there’s this like weird, not weird, but very real, much more foundational question underlying all of this is it is actually gonna happen. Right. And then you start one. It might even delusional to be asking this second level question. Well, we haven’t even gotten past the first, I think about that. I spent all weekend preparing the NFC West. Right. But yesterday I finished studying the Rams and. I think I tweeted something like, oh, man. NFC West is crazy, is the best division football. I think somebody wrote, dude, we’re not gonna have football. I get that. But, you know, sometimes it does feel a little bit like kind of like putting your head down and just plowing forward in the face of, like, you know, an absolute catastrophe unfolding around us. But. We have to do we got to do to get by, and I don’t mean that’s putting your head down because I keep my head up, as you said, and various platforms. We are talking about the public health issue. We are talking about what’s happening with the protests in sports and how it’s affecting these teams. And we are talk flu about this very, very real possibility that none of these sports will happen. But I think we can have these two conversations at the same time. I think people crave it, frankly. I know I crave it, judging by my reaction to the Cam Newton thing, and you can call it delusional and call it irresponsible. I think, you know, it is possible to hope and think and want it to happen. But I got it. I will say it is a little bit. I know there’s a bit of exhaustion amongst sports fans not hearing. You know, just hearing every day, OK. Is Brian going to happen? I don’t know. I feel like I’m maybe I sound a little bit wishy washy, but I’m just being honest. That’s how I feel like I do want to have both of those conversations.
S3: Well, I wonder if you’re going to have to have them simultaneously when we get going to and whether that’ll change the sort of nature of the conversation that a show like NFL Live has and how much, you know, you’re pushing for that to happen.
S15: Something that occurred to me with these positive tests as they come in right now for baseball. They’re not even getting the test, which is bananas. Is it is this happened during the season. It’s going to dramatically affect games and betting in fantasy and all that shit. All right. Oh, my God. Imagine if a Philip Rivers. I read somewhere it was on a call this morning at a union calling. Raise the question, what if a quarterback test positive for this role? Like, what you gonna do? You know, are you really going to sit a guy?
S14: They said, yes, unless you can get two negative tests or something similar to that question of what would happen if a quarterback gets a concussion before the Super Bowl. I mean, we’ve we’ve had to, you know, deal with these these questions. You know, that’s a similar kind of framework.
S15: And there’s a similar, I think, response to allow this, which is, well, these athletes are accepting the risk. Right. This is a big decision that they’ve made. The difference, of course, is that a concussion can’t cause other concussions to other people. So to go back to your question, we are going to have to talk about this as it happens. And that’s going to be really strange. It’s like it’s foreign terror. It already is challenging territory. I think discussing real health and social issues as we talk about sports and some shows and programs have done a better job of integrating those discussions. I think you guys do a terrific job. I hope to bring that to the NFL show. But this is this is like a new level of that that none of us really know how to do.
S5: I mean, don’t you think this is kind of a really interesting time where the NFL could just blow shit up and try different things? Like I think about how the NBA is basically organizing like a round robin tournament. Right. And so now you hear players talking about, oh, we don’t want to play preseason anymore and maybe not do 11 or 11 in practice anymore. Like, don’t you think that like, in addition to the idea that maybe we should not even be talking about having football in the first place, but if we’re going to have football in there, an opportunity to just do some cool, unusual shit that like we have not seen before in terms of like structuring the league and playing games and all that stuff, I think the problem is with the NFL, most of the cool, unusual things like aren’t don’t pertain to schedule, you know, and most of the things like we talk about other sports going straight to the playoffs or maybe, you know, I don’t know.
S15: Only playing in one division or region or going to Canada, which frankly, like every sports you probably do at this point, cannot afford to come. So. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. I get it guys. But I think with football there just aren’t that many. I would say like you’re seeing little things at the margins, like drastically expanding practice squads, having more active things that teams have wanted to do anyway. But I don’t think any major changes are in the cards just because most of them aren’t things that the teams actually want or players.
S1: Why haven’t we heard about any NFL players saying they’re going to opt out? Is that because we’re just too far from the beginning of the season? Or is there something actually about the NFL and kind of the top down way in which these teams are run? That’s going to make it less likely for, you know, a guy like, you know, like what we’ve seen with every Bradley or something like that.
S15: Yeah, I think it’s a mix of things. I think one you’re right, a lot of it’s just calendar and schedule. And I think as we get closer, it might happen more, but it’s not happening or I think it’ll happen less for the same reason that. An NFL strike is not likely to happen, nor players, we always criticize the union when so much of the lack of power can be attributed to structural reasons. Right? Because these players careers are so short. Most of them cannot afford to miss a season and most of them cannot afford to opt out. I mean, no, these basketball players and baseball players, a lot of them, the ones who are opting out financially, it makes sense, doesn’t make it easier decision by any means, frankly, you know. It does make it an easier decision. I really like you think an NFL running back, for example, is going to opt out of a season and a year of pay when median careers are like, you know, barely over three years. Not a chance.
S3: And it’s not only that the careers are short, but it’s that you are forgotten when you are gone in the NFL. The risk of just not being brought back for another chance after you’ve been, you know, disloyal to the team by not showing up, even though you’re healthy and you’ve tested negative, probably would not be looked on as favorably as they would in other sports necessarily. I mean, that’s just the culture of the NFL, the patriarchal structure of these teams. So where should the you know, the Washington to your name is going down the tubes? That can only mean that Colin Kaepernick will be signed. Where should he play?
S15: I’ve been saying Tennessee needs him the most. Kids, basically, he should play for a good team that has an entrenched quarterback that needs a veteran backup. That makes the most sense right now. So you’re looking at your Pittsburgh’s your Houstons or Kansas cities. But when I was doing this, you know, head down, climbing forward exercise or doing division previews, I was shocked to see that Tennessee, which has a quarterback and Ryan Town, has had some pretty devastating injuries, didn’t have a veteran backup. His backup is a seventh round draft pick who was cut by the Bengals in twenty eighteen. So that struck me as a team that could use Colin Kaepernick. And it seems to me to be the appropriate role for him at this point.
S5: So this is in salute to morning roast homies. You know, Clinton, Yates, Dominique Foxworth, you have me on every Sunday to do the one got to go. I mean, I mentioned as a condition of her coming on here. She wanted me to do a one. Got to go. What for? So Mina one got to go, OK. These are Hall of Famers here. All right.
S16: I like Barry Sanders. Jerry Rice. Lawrence Taylor. Deon Sanders. This is cruel.
S5: This is your job now. So I’m sure it’s going to come up on and enough alive at some point.
S1: This is very like kind of NFL analyst kind of question. This is like, what’s your Mount Rushmore?
S5: I mean, it’s Mount Rushmore.
S15: I hate this. I hate I hate this so much. I hate this. OK, it was Sanders, Rice, LTE and DEA.
S15: I got to go, Barry. And I hate I hate it. Wow.
S5: Oh, wow. So I thought I think you are interested in your presentation of the small. What happened. What happened to being a failure.
S15: You know, I hate running backs more, man. I’m a nerd through and through. I love Barry Sanders. I do. But, man, I can’t cut it. He cut. Jerry, I can’t cut the open cut deal.
S5: Oh, cut it out. Wendy, Wendy, Wendy. On play, there was a legitimate debate as to whether or not he was even the best quarterback that lead.
S15: All right. I see. I’m looking at Deana’s more than football, though. Maybe that’s my mistake.
S10: You look at him as an educator for the school.
S15: I’m looking at him as as a, you know, a figurehead. What do they always say to the Hall of Fame? You can’t if you can’t tell the history of the NFL. It’s like the Eli Manning justification. Right.
S11: This is like kind of a rings argument here.
S15: You’re right. I don’t know. I just love Deon SWAC. He’s a swaggy swankiest player, man.
S5: I know that’s tough. I mean, I think the thing is we all agree that Jerry Rice and Lawrence Taylor can’t go so. Right. That’s important.
S9: No, I think I think that Diane is the right answer. I’m glad. All right. Thinking hang our panelists.
S3: I mean, really, this defense, how can you cut a two sixty three hitter from the Football Hall of Fame? There you go.
S5: Make sure to check out Menagh as a recent fan of hers. Point out her skinny arms, NFL lives and her podcast, The Meta Chyme Show with Linny, that terrible slow dog and all the other ESPN programming they liberally sprinkle her on.
S16: Thank you, Mina, for joining us today. Thank you.
S12: Now it is time for after balls and just kind of digging a little bit deeper to my responsibility for Mina Kimes as explosive and enormous media stardom. This story that she wrote there was republished on Slate in 2014, Believe, which reads. I remember when things got weird. I was 15 and my father was teaching me how to drive. We lived in Arizona where the road stretched as wide as football field and everybody calls cars, trucks. I had inherited a 1995 Dodge Caravan, an ugly green box that smelled like shin guards. It was my second time driving with with a permit. So my father was there needling me every few minutes. But the angle of my mirror and the speed at which I braked so scared, enticing you a little bit. You have to read the rest to learn more about Menas love for the Seattle Seahawks. It’s a great story about her and her dad.
S4: But that 1995 Dodge Caravan. That is what we’re here to honor today. The talisman of Amena kind of life. Stefan. What is your 1995 Dodge Caravan?
S8: I spent part of the weekend going down various newspaper database rabbit holes about George Preston Marshall. One of my discoveries was that he showed up occasionally in the syndicated column of Damon Runyon, one of the most famous sportswriters of the Times. The first mention I found was in October 1929, one day before the Black Monday stock market crash. Runyon described the 33 year old Marshall as a Richie Rich, who had prospered from a chain of laundries and briefly owned a basketball team called the Washington Palace five. Over the years, Runyon labeled Marshall the big wet wash man, the big laundry man and the only surviving Boulevard D.A. in Washington whose real racket is crushing the buttons on the longe array of the Washingtonians. In a 1932 column of invented dialogue and details, Runyon had Marshall boasting about his car, his chauffeur, his stores, his doorman and his apartment inlaid with mother of pearl with 18 karat gold furniture trimmed with Burma rubies. Runyon portrayed Marshall as a wealthy blowhard, but conceded that he had the money to spend on the new football franchise. He had just acquired the Boston Braves in 1933 after Marshall renamed the team, Runyon’s started a column like this. Professional football said Mr. George Marshall is in its infancy. I completed. Yes, said Mr. Marshall. How did you know? I’ve heard you mention it 900000 times. But Runyon believed in the future of the pro game. It was far better than college because it focused on offense and opened out the forward pass. Prettiest of all football plays. I used to hear folks say a couple of years ago that professional football wouldn’t go, Runyon wrote in 1933. Well, I am told that one club owner took down eighty thousand for profit in his club last year and another sixty thousand. If this gets noise, the bout will have big businessmen looking for franchises in 20 years, Runyon predicted. The financial figures on the first professional football World Series will probably amuse the sports writers know little. One problem, though, was that pro football was playing in baseball yards, which are not well adapted to football, Runyon said. And cost teams a large percentage of gate receipts in rent. In 1953, though, they might instead be playing in one of Mr. George Marshall’s celebrated all weather stadiums. It turns out that Marshall and a DC architect named Jewelz December applied for a patent for an all weather stadium capital, a capital W capital S.. I found the patent online. The stadium would have a rolling roof that would open and close with an electric motor. It could be used for any and all sports with the exception of baseball. It would even have a swimming pool beneath the surface. Runyan was impressed. I mean this, he wrote. Probably because he had spent so much ink making fun of Marshall. I believe that Mr. Marshall has a great idea. The Oval Stadium would seat sixty two thousand four football. Seventy two thousand for hockey and seventy seven thousand for boxing or wrestling. But the sport Mr. Marshall has in mind above all others is football, Runyon wrote. He believes the stadium will especially solve the weather problem for professional football and make it the greatest of all sports in the matter of gate receipts. According to Runyan, some very distinguished New Yorkers were interested in building the stadium in Manhattan. The project reportedly was set to go when principal financial backer General Motors backed out in a few years. Runyan would go from boosting Marshall’s idea to mocking his grandiose vision. In those days, Runyon wrote in 1940, if George Preston Marshall had ever fallen in the river, he would have been. Carried to the bottom by the weight of the architect’s plans that he always lugged around with him. In conclusion, George Preston Marshall reviled, segregationist, foppish, ego, maniac, domed stadium visionary.
S16: Football’s weather problem. That’s great.
S3: Have a weather problem. Football’s weather about them is that they play indoors. They should always play in the weather. I mean, that’s what that’s what people say. Yeah, but credit credit to George Marshall, doomsday visionary, visionary. Clearly. Josh, what’s your 1995 Dodge Caravan?
S17: As you may know, I’m currently working on season four of the podcast series Slow Burn. It is about David Duke’s rise and Louisiana, which took place when I was a kid in the late 80s and early 90s. And the first episode I talked about seeing Duke working the crowd at LSU Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. It’s a thing I remember very distinctly, and I remember finding it incredibly disturbing, especially given that a lot of the people at Tiger Stadium seemed to really like the guy. Then in the second episode that started with College Temple Junior, the first black basketball player at LSU whose time on campus coincided with Duke’s and who gave us a first person account of Duke’s racist and anti-Semitic speechifying at LSU is free speech. Ali, I say all this to demonstrate to you that I am not at all shy about smuggling LSU sports content into this ostensibly non sports based podcast. But even I have my limits. Or do I? I’m going to talk about an LSU thing that I am not putting in slow burn, but I am putting it here, so I’m not sure where that leaves us.
S3: You’re allowed to smuggle sports content into a sports podcast.
S17: Thank you. We’ve got a bunch of tapes for slow burn from a public radio reporter named Gary Corvino, who did a two part audio documentary on Duke in 1991. That was the year that the ex Klansmen slash neo-Nazi nearly became governor of Louisiana. On one of those tapes, as a conversation Duke had with a talk radio host about some campaign fundraiser. He was hosting. There was one bit of chatter on that conversation that caught my attention.
S13: Then Curley is going to give a lot of people some what seemed to people nightmares. And that girl is going to be a good coach.
S3: Aigo, losing more of us is a good coach.
S17: Curley, the David Duke was talking about there is Curly Holeman who LSU had just hired from the University of Southern Mississippi. Curley was not, in fact, a good coach. He would go 16 and 28. And four years at LSU, leading his team to an incredible zero bowling ballgames, zero and a bunch of ignominious defeats. So, David Duke, in addition to being wrong about literally everything is wrong on knowing which football coaches will be good. But Curley Holman was not just bad at coaching football in advance of an LSU home game against the number one team in the nation in October 91. That was in the midst of the governor’s race. Holman was asked what he thought about David Duke. His answer. I’m a football coach, not a politician. I’m worried about Florida State. LSU blew a 13 to nothing lead, lost the Florida state 27 to 16. Spoiler alert. David Duke lost the governor’s race. So currently, Holman was useless on all counts. Thanks for nothing, Karley. Damn, my friends. A comprehensive preview of what you will not be hearing in the upcoming weeks on slow burn season for David Duke’s thoughts on Curlee home and had my thoughts on David Duke thoughts on early on. Although I cannot and will not promise Joan Stefan that there will be no more Elisha’s sports content on slow burn. So stay tuned.
S5: More Colace Temple, more Carlos Temple Love Constantia.
S13: That is our show for today. Our producer is once a Kaplan Tilston a Pasha’s and subscribe or just read tab. Go to sleep dot com slash hang up. You can email us a thing up at Slate dot com. If you’re still here, you might perhaps want even more. Hang up and listen in our bonus segment this week. We’re gonna suggest some new names for the Washington NFL team.
S3: Senators, everyone hates the Senate. Why the fuck would you want to name your team of senators today? I mean, ineffectual old white dudes. I mean the referees. Then how about the refs, don’t you? I feel like the refs would be pretty cool. Got a hipper sounding out cadence.
S13: Terror, doesn’t it? The Washington taxation without representation. I see. Yep. Yep. Yeah, that’s on there. To hear that conversation joined Slate plus just thirty five dollars for the first year can sign up at Slate dot com slash hang up. Plus poor Joel Anderson and Stefan Fatsis. I’m Josh Levine remembers. I’m OBD and thanks for listening.
S4: Now it is time for our bonus segment. Firstly, plus members, we talked earlier in the show about the imminent seemingly I’m in a name change for the Washington NFL franchise.
S17: When FedEx speaks just the morals, they just they just bloom the morality. Stefan. But, you know, it’s not when you change a name. I found you also have to pick a new name. It’s part of the process. There’s been a lot of names floating out there. You’re gonna be our guide during this bonus segment. So I will hand it over to you. Take it away.
S3: All right. Happy to be the guy. Yeah, because I wasted much too much time over the weekend. Not a whale. We’re gonna we’re gonna pick. I’m repurposing that wasted time now and transforming it into a non waste. I spent a lot of time looking at what people were saying on Twitter about names for the Washington football team. So I created some a little taxonomy. I grouped names by various categories, and then I came to my own conclusions. So I think we can look at sort of what some of the ideas are, what would actually make good names and what’s likely to happen, because I think the Venn diagram is not going to be as overlapping as we would like it to be. So some of my categories were related to the franchise that as it has existed, Native American style birds, because everyone loves birds, DC, things that no one will understand except for people who live in DC. DC related things that people might understand, but there’s no way that people will will endorse them. And then you’re terrible. The worst grouping, politics, government, journalists, journalism journalists are the worst. So where should we start? Pick a category. We’ll make it like Jeopardy!
S17: Can I just start by saying that in 2015, James Bowie wrote a piece for Slate. He’s a sociologist about actually this question about what kinds of names are chosen after a native name. Right. Exactly. And so what he wrote is fearful of controversy and hamstrung by committee decision making processes. Often the names who gets elected are bland, generic, uninspiring and lacking in distinctiveness. He said birds are a typical choice. And this was in the data. Here was Division one college ghoul’s. The dropped Native American nicknames, 39 percent, one with bird mascots. That’s an enormous percentage. Four out of 10 said Mays. Only 15 percent have bird mascots. But this was thirty nine percent. And also, he said, colors are also popular. Half of the names that are post Native American have some reference to color, whereas just seven percent of other schools nicknames. So like Redhawks is like kind of the like on a curl up in a lab it.
S5: So. All right, Joel, why don’t you pick a category? All right. Yeah. Let’s go with Bird since we were talking about because I actually have a great bird.
S3: You got to go. All right. The bird ones that I saw. We got herons, crabs, Marillyn, crabs, ospreys, crabs.
S14: Very, very well-known bird.
S3: The crab, the crab. Get away. That’s not a bird. It’s got on the wrong letter. It was my animals last time I put it on the wrong list. And bald eagles. Oh, that’s where a bald eagle is great. That’s a great one, don’t you think? Bald eagles. I have good neck written next to Bald Eagle on my list.
S14: You’re gonna have to do a little bit more explanation there, Joel. Why is that a good name?
S5: Oh, I mean, just to antagonize Philadelphia.
S3: I just think it’s but it’s also a terrible name because it it’s jingoistic. Right. So it’s going for the satisfying the jingo crowd.
S5: Right. Right. I mean, you know, I don’t mind giving them a little bit of, you know, you know, sprinkle a little bit of something for the races that, you know, need a little something to grasp on to.
S14: So, you know, I love that. Oh, Jules, would you think it to Philadelphia? Blinded them of honor. Consideration. Civility. People would be mad.
S3: The crowd like it. So that’s the ball.
S5: I’ll be the bald eagles, basically. Like a big. Like what pigeon? Basically. Right. Like it’s like a filthy a scavenger bird. It’s not even, you know, like particularly majestic.
S14: It’s a mean ass bird. All right. One got to go bald eagle, Uncle Sam Moore and Abe Lincoln. All right. What’s the what’s the next time?
S3: Next categories are you can choose from. Let’s see. D.C. related. Let’s save the politics because it’s the worst D.C. things no one will get or franchise related. D.C. related. Let’s do that. All right. Later. On my list, the 50 ones or the 50 winners?
S14: First, good, good for like the kind of UFO nine alien crowd.
S3: Also for demographics, the cherry blossoms. Man. OK. And my friend Dan Wachtell suggested the gates, as in the Watergate affects.
S3: You’re leaving out some of the more common ones, like the monuments and the right, well, those were in the terrible category of the obvious category, the ones that are on by everyone. Let’s run through those.
S14: What are what are in the obvious category that are the obvious categories.
S3: They’re actually even been like odds placed on the likely names. Presidents, generals. Lincolns, Americans. Kings. Memorials. Capitals, veterans. Jefferson’s Roosevelts Monuments. Arlington. Zaya. Martin Luther King.
S14: Oh, got it. Thursday night we thought we were against having your cake. I thought that’s what the whole America thing was about. I understand. What do you guys think about back in the day when it used to be like the St. Louis Football Cardinals and the St. Louis Baseball Cardinals? Ruby. Ruby into that? Or is it like come up with it? Definitely, because they could just be the Nationals.
S5: Yeah. For Washington football nationals. That’s not bad. I was thinking even the Federales like the old USFL team.
S3: Mm hmm. I think they’re going to want to avoid any overlap. The idea is to create your own branding and your plate.
S14: So. So since when are you since since when do you care about what they want to do?
S5: Yeah, right. This is art. This is our imagination. I’m sorry. Okay. Do you know who has the best D.C. related name, by the way, that like is already in use, the G league team where they had the go.
S3: That’s in my list of D.C. related things that no one else will understand. The Washington metro is the go is the half smokes the beltway as half smokes from the dome is horrible. That is definitely not going to happen.
S9: But like, okay, Stefan, the two, the obvious one, like, why would the senators or the Americans be bad like you? If it’s obvious, that doesn’t know. I mean, it’s bad.
S3: It’s just boring. I mean, I think senators, everyone hates the Senate. Why the fuck would you want to name your team, the senators today? I mean, ineffectual old white dudes. I mean, is one of the referees. Then how about the reps, don’t you? I feel like the reps would be pretty cool. It’s got a hipper sounding cadence to it, doesn’t it?
S14: The Washington taxation without representation. I see.
S3: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s on there too. I mean, I think Lincoln’s is funny because it’s two names, but it would just revive the Washington Lincoln. Yeah. Yeah. The Washington Lincoln debate over the Lincoln’s legacy. The Georgians also would what would work category two, I think I mean, the pretty ones, the fifty ones I think is interesting.
S9: Like there’s been a lot of I don’t know if you’ve seen Joel, but there’s been like a lot of mirch that that’s come out recently around fifty first state stuff like masks you see around here I’m seeing demerjian fifty one.
S11: Yeah. But there’s, I mean obviously Dan Snyder is going to embrace DC statehood like his politics likes to get. That’s going to. Sure. Be it be a strong move for him, but that would get a lot of love in our part of the world.
S3: I do like monuments on the grounds that like team names should be the corniest cliche associated with the city or a person whose name derives from the city. So like if I were putting a team in London, they would be the towers of London. If I were putting a team in New York, it would be the New York Mets. So, like, I like embracing the cliche. The Boston Tea Party is the Berlin Wall, the Miami.
S11: And he’s got a point. You got a point from. I know. Joel on the New York minutes.
S14: Yeah, I like that. I like. I get it. I like to go back. Right. A really. Yeah. Yeah. What about the New York pizza? I feel like that would be the best in a test. Yeah.
S3: Yeah. Now. Now. So that leaves us with the terrible journalist category. No. David Lenhart of The New York Times started a thread on Twitter. He wrote Monuments, Senators, Justices, Supreme’s, Potomac. And then it just became like every Washington reporter. The super PACs, the recess appointments, the stinging rebukes. I mean, these are like things people actually wrote. Jeff Goldberg, I love you. But the senior officials oh, Tarago, the Georgetown cocktail parties, this went on for far too long. And I’m sorry for even committing some of these to to sound.
S11: I feel like this segment has lingered too long on the and the names that you don’t like, the ones that you like.
S3: Okay. What I like things I like. I like the 50 ones. I like the hogs. As a reference to Washington football team’s history offensive line from the glory days, fans still dress up as pigs. I like the pandas because I think you could really do some good iconography, but it doesn’t feel like an NFL team name. And the Bald Eagles was my fourth, actually. So the hogs probably would be if I were like gaming it out. Like the one team related name that has a shot would be the hogs, though also on that list, which we didn’t get to where the pigskins and the skins. But I think both of those don’t they just. The problem?
S11: What about Warriors’ and Redtails? There’s been some speculation that those are the two that are gonna be the most likely pick.
S8: Yeah, Red Tails and not Toño, the Tuskegee Airmen, the African-American military aviators that’s been thrown around for a long time as a substitute. And there’s some great logos and uniforms that have already been designed. It’s scan’s like the old name. It’s got the same first letters.
S3: So you’re Hail to the Red Tails would still work for their dumb ass song Who Keeps Red in the name, which I find it to be problematic in all of these Native American redos, because it reminds people of the cliche of the Native American as the red man. But it also pretends to honor a group, which is something that I’m sure Snyder wants to try to do here. Warriors’, I think, is, you know, it’s like probably the likeliest and the worst just because it’ll just keep people talking about it. Right. As a Native American, I actually don’t think the Potomac is terrible.
S5: I mean, well, the reason I say that is because that was the name of one of the old Negro League teams in Washington back in the day. And I think, you know, I could kind of see Potomac. You know, it’s not too bad. And I’m personally I’m going to just speak up for reps.
S3: I really think that this is creative. I you just think of that on the spur of the moment. You know, that’s impressive. The Indians, by the way, are the worst. Can I just tell you, the worst one that I saw was a tweet from Tim Alberta, the journalist writer. He suggested the Washington tribe, you play off the tribal nature of the nation’s capital where Rs and DS belong to warring sects. I do want to hear. Oh, my God, that’s terrible. I’m not gonna lock that guy when I’m off of here. Jesus, the Indians for a moment. Let’s talk about the Indians, because the options there are unbelievably great. Oh, yeah. Go for the Spiders was one of the original names of the team. The logo for the spiders man would be awesome. Buckeye’s was the name of a Negro League team. Mm hmm. Dhobis after Larry Doby, the first black player in the American League signed by Cleveland. Those are great. The fellers, even Bob Feller. He’s kind of an asshole. But, you know, spiders is good.
S11: Let’s go spiders. But I don’t say that to diminish Larry Doby in any way. But like the the idea that you’re going to redress this historical wrong by now, like doing like a good version, like honoring a group or honoring a person, it’s just like naming came to like Raptor’s or something. It’s like right there.
S5: So, see, I. I have a great one for Cleveland, you guys. All right. You guys ready? Yeah, I’m ready. All right. Right. The Cleveland bone now. OK, so get it. So, of course, Secludes is one bone. Yeah. Cleeve about it. Solute. It’s it’s it. Bring a recalls the Cleveland Browns. You know the dog pound and bone thugs and harmony. One of their most, you know, iconic rap groups out of Cleveland, the Cleveland Bone. Let’s get that going. I really like. The Cleveland Kings after LeBron.
S11: I think Bone is really good because also, you know, like how people were that like White Sox Sox hat because it kind of like sex. You’ll get some of the double entendre business.
S3: You like that. And. And the Browns have the dog pound. The the new team could have the bone yard. Yeah. See, look at that. Have you all heard of that yet. Does anybody have Cleveland. No. Some columnists for CBS Sports guy writing for CBS Sports suggested the Crows, which is also a great name for us. Well, I feel like we didn’t soar.
S9: We had some false advertising and promoting the segment. I feel like we didn’t solve the Washington issue.
S14: Richard Branson’s good ones is good. Hogs, I think, is fine. I think it’ll probably worriers.
S8: I think in about areas, Americans, veterans, some bullshit like that.
S11: But I say I feel like we’ve solved the Cleveland issue kind of way. I wasn’t anticipating that. But sometimes, you know, well, let’s settle.
S3: Let’s settle. Let’s settle on both. Let’s pick one for Washington. Let’s narrow it down. We got 50 ones, raps and hogs.
S11: Well, Joel has already said he wants reps. I want reps.
S3: Stefan, I mean, reps also as a football analogy. Right. If you’re really inside football, how many reps?
S11: You know, I have I have jaw dollar goes to for two.
S3: I mean, I’m on board with I can see it steps as reps about which starts with being a domineering here.
S5: We’re done here in a new profession next week.
S6: Kansas City in Atlanta.
S1: Slate plus members, thank you for your membership. We’re back with more next week.