Posts Tagged ‘National Football League (NFL)’

Cheeps and Chirps — belated July 2016 Democratic National Convention edition!

August 12, 2016

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 12, 2016

Yep — have some more Twitter!

• Comedy!

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Here’s an intriguing possible new name for Washington’s football team

June 4, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
June 4, 2014

A couple of months back, I wrote a lighthearted post suggesting some possible new monikers for the National Football League franchise in Washington, D.C.; I refuse to use the current name because many consider it to be a racial slur. Some of the suggestions in my piece more serious than others.

The other day, I happened to stumble upon an article penned by Clinton Yates on The Washington Post’s website. Yates was raised as a fan of the Washington football team, but a few years ago, his father announced that the team’s nickname and image would be banned from the family’s household.

Yates was initially shocked by the declaration, which seemed to him to be an abrupt turnabout on the part of his father. But Yates came to agree with his dad’s point of view, which boiled down to this: “We don’t propagate racist imagery in this household.”

I mention this not so much to share that anecdote but to spread the word about a suggestion for an alternative team name that Yates favors. Kevin Gover, director of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian, has proposed calling the team the Washington Americans.

I’m not yet convinced that the Americans is the best of all possible replacement names. But there are a few reasons why this name works well, including the fact that it’s not a racial slur.

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Dated ‘Outrage’ attempts to grapple with closeted politicians who harm gay people

May 13, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
May 13, 2014

I visited some friends the other day, and we ended up watching a movie. After some wrangling over what would be acceptable to the three of us, we settled on Outrage, a 2009 documentary picture of which I had never heard. The film, written and directed by Kirby Dick, examines — and frankly condemns — closeted homosexual politicians in the United States who vote against gay rights.

The movie’s rather dubious thesis is that there is a conspiracy amongst politicos and journalists to keep the public in the dark about the sexuality of gay officials. One such man, allegedly, was Ed Koch, and we are told of threats of the financial ruin that supposedly thwarted a former lover from publicly talking to reporters about his intimate relationship with the New York City bachelor-mayor. Koch, who died in 2013, was a congressman at the time of this affair, which we hear about from friends of the supposed lover. Rather infamously, Koch ignored the initial outbreak of the AIDS epidemic, which devastated gay communities in New York and across the nation.

We also see footage from a 2006 Larry King interview in which Bill Maher outed Ken Mehlman, who led the Republican National Committee as it distributed anti-gay campaign during the 2004 presidential campaign. Maher’s naming of Mehlman was omitted from repeat broadcasts of the program.

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Would that which we call ‘the R–dsk–ins’ play as badly with any other name?

April 6, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
April 6, 2014

A recent controversy centered around the Twitter hashtag #CancelColbert, which was a reaction to a skit and tweet from Stephen Colbert’s satirical TV news program, “Colbert Report,” which was prompted by Daniel Snyder founding the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, which in turn was — deep breath here! — a response to the ongoing controversy over the name of Snyder’s NFL team, which many people (myself included) take to be a vicious slur.

Personally, I would love to see the name changed. But I don’t own the team; the owner is Snyder, who has proven to be a reprehensible human being (not to mention a lousy NFL owner, at least when it comes to fielding a winning team). And it’s Snyder’s right to keep or replace the name as he pleases.

Unfortunately, the immensely stubborn Snyder has declared in no uncertain terms that he will never change the franchise’s name. So while I applaud and sympathize with those who protest the name, and while I tend to avoid using the team’s moniker, I don’t plan to expend much energy calling for a change.

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Postscript: Two meetings, three vignettes

March 13, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
March 13, 2014

On Sunday, I posted about two encounters I had at Stanford football practices. Today, I offer three codas to those two meetings.

Vignette the First: Stanford hosted Northwestern in 1992, beating the Wildcats of Evanston, Ill., by a 35-24 score. The Cardinal finished that season with a 10-3 record, including a dominating 24-3 victory over Penn State. (This was the first and last time that Joe Paterno, the now-disgraced dean of East Coast football, coached against Bill Walsh, the still-revered figure credited with popularizing what some call the West Coast offense.)

But 1992 was the last time Walsh would post a winning record. The team devolved to a very disappointing 4-7 record; that included a loss in the Big Game against traditional rival cal (lowercase c intentional).

Still, Stanford started the 1994 season with high hopes. The team opened in Illinois on Sept. 10 with a game at Northwestern. This turned out to be a wild and woolly affair. It ended in crushing disappointment — not with a Stanford loss, but in a 41-41 tie. The Cardinal was in position to win, but kicker Eric Abrams (whom I’d tried to interview mid-practice a few years ago) badly missed on a fairly close 23-yard field goal try with three seconds to play.

Abrams, who is left-footed, told reporters that he was bothered by the ball being placed on the left hashmark; he would have preferred to kick from the right. “Before I kicked the ball I knew there was a problem. I didn’t do a good job of adjusting,” Abrams said.

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Practice imperfect: Two anecdotes

March 9, 2014

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
March 9, 2014

Despite my becoming a passionate football fan in college, and my having a few stints, strictly part-time, as a sports reporter, I’ve attended football practices only on rare occasions.

My knowledge of the sport is strictly that of the layman — someone who has never played the game or studied it seriously. Practice drills likely wouldn’t provide me with much insight into the quality of a football team, its members or its plays.

I distinctly remember attending two Stanford football practices, however, in that long-ago time when I was a student and would-be sports reporter.

What I believe was the second such occasion was on a cloudy, damp autumn or fall afternoon, presumably definitely in 1992, when I somehow had reason to interview record-setting Cardinal kicker Eric Abrams for a student radio or newspaper story that is now long forgotten. (Update: It was definitely 1992, when Abrams was a freshman.)

There’s no question why this episode sticks in my mind: Because I made a gaffe and embarrassed myself.

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