12/14 22:09 CST Column: Washington's NFL team does its best to Be Worst
Column: Washington's NFL team does its best to Be Worst
By PAUL NEWBERRY
AP Sports Columnist
You've gotta hand it to Washington's alleged NFL team.
There's the offensive nickname. Not to mention claiming a player off waivers
not long after he allegedly beat up a woman --- again. And let's not forget the
organization's unwillingness to pursue a legitimate quarterback --- yes,
there's at least one out there --- with the playoffs on the line. Oh, and while
we're at it, quietly trying to push through a plan for a new stadium that would
undoubtedly serve as another raid on the public coffers.
Let's go ahead and give this bunch a new moniker: the worst franchise in sports.
Washington's NFL team has some stiff competition, of course. There are horribly
run franchises all over the sporting landscape.
Even within its own league, it's hard to dismiss the not-long-for-Oakland
Raiders, who had the gall to announce they were bolting for a financial
windfall in Las Vegas a full three seasons before they actually planned to skip
town, smugly counting on the good people of Oaktown being nothing more than
silver-and-black-clad suckers willing to support a lame-duck franchise. Now, it
looks like the team might be homeless in 2019 after Oakland officials filed a
lawsuit to recover some of the tens of millions of dollars they've invested in
the team and its current stadium.
The Raiders deserve to be banished to a season of aimless wandering after
turning their backs on Oakland for the second time, trading away two of their
best players, and handing the keys to the franchise to
broadcaster-masquerading-as-coach Jon Gruden, who has guided them to three wins
in his first 13 games.
But we'll still go with the Washingtonians as the ones most faithfully
following the path of Be Worst.
A brief recap:
--- Reuben Foster, a troubled young man arrested not once but twice this year
on suspicion of domestic violence, was claimed off waivers by Washington
shortly after being released by the San Francisco 49ers. While we have little
faith that any NFL team really cares all that much about dealing with this
scourge on society --- see: Kareem Hunt and countless others who've had similar
brushes with the law --- Washington turned the cynicism meter up to full blast
before ripping off the knob.
--- While giving Foster what amounts to a fourth chance (he's also got a
marijuana arrest on his rap sheet), Washington wouldn't dare consider giving
even a second look to a quarterback who had the gall to kneel during the
national anthem as a protest against racial injustice. Again, Dan Snyder & Co.
are hardly alone in the two-years long blackballing of Colin Kaepernick ---
see: 31 other NFL teams --- but the hypocrisy really stands out in the nation's
After all, this team was in the hunt for the playoffs when it lost starting QB
Alex Smith to a gruesome leg injury and backup Colt McCoy to a broken fibula.
Last week, Washington trotted out the carcass of Mark Sanchez, whose last
glimmer of relevance came toward the end of Barack Obama's first term. A 46-10
loss to the woeful New York Giants (who could've seen that coming, except
everyone?) led Washington to make another change for what could be their last
shot at making the postseason.
Exit Sanchez, enter Josh Johnson, who has twice as many NFL employers (this is
his 12th team) as career starts (Sunday's game at lowly Jacksonville will be
his sixth, and first since 2011). Johnson gave Washington fans plenty of reason
for hope when he declared "just a week ago, I was at home in the hood, chillin'
with the kids, chillin' with my family and thinking on the couch that I might
never play in the NFL again." Also, he prepped for his new gig by playing the
"Madden" video game . Washington would probably be better off just playing the
game's namesake, 82-year-old John Madden, at QB.
--- While Snyder's horrific reign as owner --- see: only five playoff
appearances since buying the storied franchise in 1999, dwindling attendance at
the FedEx Mausoleum, the RG3 fiasco, the embarrassing reign of coach Mike
Shanahan, and so many other missteps that a full documenting would require
transforming this column into book-form --- he's keeping up the push for a new
stadium that, like so many others landed by his socialist-loving brethren,
would surely require the taxpayers to turn over a hefty chunk of what occupies
The Washington Post reported last week that Snyder is working with the outgoing
Congress and the Trump administration to pull off an underhanded maneuver:
getting a provision in a new spending bill that would allow him to build on the
site of team's former District home, RFK Stadium. A very Snyder-like move,
--- Finally, let's never forget that awful nickname, the one that Snyder
steadfastly refuses to walk away from and won't be typed out on this keyboard.
I checked again with Merriam Webster. Yep, that word is still "very offensive
and should be avoided."
Much like Washington's NFL team.
The worst franchise in sports.
Paul Newberry is a sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at
firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963 . His work can be found at
For more AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL