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SBD/September 3, 2014/FranchisesPrint All
ESPN dedicated a special hour-long episode of "Outside The Lines" last night to the ongoing controversy over the Redskins name. Team Owner Daniel Snyder continued his pattern of defending the name when he was asked why some people considered it a racial slur. Snyder said, "You're going to have some people that feel a certain way, absolutely, and we respect those opinions. But I hope they respect our opinion." ESPN's John Barr noted Snyder "repeatedly fell back on one word, 'truth,'" during the interview, which lasted more than an hour. Snyder said in snippets of the interview, "As my father would say, 'The truth's on your side.' … We've traveled and we've seen the truth. … Nobody in Washington, D.C., wants to talk about the truth. … So the truth is on our side." Snyder later in the broadcast said, "I've met thousands of Native-Americans. I've yet to meet one out there on a reservation that comes up to me and says, 'I don't like the name of your football team.'" He added of other teams changing their Native American mascots, "When you have political pressure ... that type of thing will happen." Barr said, "If they were starting a football team today, it would be unthinkable for the football team to be called the 'Blackskins' or the 'Yellowmen.' So why is it okay to have a team name that refers directly to the skin color of a certain ethnic group?" Snyder: "We live in the present and from that standpoint what we really feel, and I hope you respect, is the fact that that the name of our team is the name of our team and it represents honor, it represents pride, it represents respect."
LEAVING MONEY ON THE TABLE? ESPN's Peter Keating reported most analysts agree that Snyder "has an opportunity to generate substantially greater revenues by rebranding his entire franchise, including its name," rather than keeping the Redskins moniker. Forbes' Michael Ozanian said while it may cost $5-10M "to implement the name changes, I think the amount of revenue in terms of selling merchandise, team licensed products and from additional sponsorships would far exceed those costs." Keating noted Snyder "says his decision to keep the Redskins' identity is not based on financial considerations." Keating: "It's very hard to argue that, during this period that Dan Snyder has been fighting to cling to the team name, that Washington has been doing as well financially as it should, even though the team is valuable."
MORE THAN POLITICAL CORRECTNESS: NBC's Bob Costas and former Redskins TE Chris Cooley later in the show discussed the name, with Costas noting the issue to some extent has become a "media cause célèbre." Cooley said, "All who have any questions or objections about the Redskins name are motivated by political correctness, and some may be. But for many of us that has nothing to do with it. … Political correctness generally is dopey. It gets in the way of honest and fair debate. It silences people of goodwill who fear being mislabeled and imposes a kind of orthodoxy of thought and speech that isn't healthy." But Costas stated, "Redskins is a dictionary defined slur and insult. Not by one dictionary, but by every one I have consulted." But Cooley, a co-host for a show on the Snyder-owned ESPN Radio 980 DC, countered, saying, "I just don't feel that the intent or the context of the team Washington Redskins is to be disparaging any in way. The team Washington Redskins is meant out of respect, it's meant out of honor, it's meant out of integrity." Costas noted, "I don't think there's any maliciousness in Dan Snyder's position or that he's intentionally disrespecting anyone, at least up until now. But the tide is shifting a little bit. Eventually the reason I think the NFL and Dan Snyder should come around on this is not because of coercion, not because of legal action, not because of overblown accusations of racism, but because reasonable arguments persuade them that it's the right thing to do" ("Washington's Nickname: An NFL Dilemma," ESPN2, 9/2).
WHETHER TO SAY THE NAME OR NOT: While several prominent NFL voices, including CBS' Phil Simms and NBC's Tony Dungy, last month stated they will not say the Redskins name on air, CBS' Boomer Esiason will not be joining their ranks. He said, "I'm an announcer, I'm a broadcaster and I'm not going to not use the name Redskins. As long as the Washington Redskins are known as the Washington Redskins and the companies that I work for -- whether it be CBS or Showtime or anybody else -- uses those names in their graphics, then, as a professional broadcaster, I will use their name." He noted he has "felt the wrath of those people that find that it is offensive, but I also have gotten the support of those who feel that the name should remain." Esiason: "We’re all caught in a quandary of what to do here. I’m doing it my way, you guys are doing it your way, and I can appreciate it." Simms said, “I’ve heard a lot of positives about it when I said I wouldn't use their nickname when we do a game in Washington or even on this show. Most of it positive, but I've heard some negative comments. People say, ‘Well, why do you do it when the NFL says you can and all that?'" ("Inside the NFL," Showtime, 9/2).
OUR POLICY: SBD/SBJ Exec Editor Abraham Madkour writes the publications "will continue to use the Redskins name in our editorial coverage." Madkour: "We understand the name causes offense to many people, but as a trade publication that covers the business of sports, we will follow the marketplace. As long as the NFL, the league’s teams, the sponsors, and the licensees and media companies that align with and use the team’s intellectual property refer to the team by its current name, so will we" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 9/1 issue).
49ers GM Trent Baalke yesterday said that the team has "spoken to the NFL Office, but the organization is taking the lead on how to deal" with DE Ray McDonald following his arrest for domestic violence Sunday, according to Matt Maiocco of CSNBAYAREA.com. Baalke said, "They're guiding us, but they're not telling us exactly how to handle this matter. And the matter will be handled by the organization." Baalke said that he could "not answer whether McDonald will play" in Sunday's opener against the Cowboys. Baalke: "We're still in the fact-finding mode, trying to get as much information as we can." Maiocco noted the 49ers in '13 allowed LB Aldon Smith to play "two days after he was involved in a single-vehicle incident and was arrested on DUI charges." But Baalke said that this incident "did not set a precedent that will be used with McDonald" (CSNBAYAREA.com, 9/2). Baalke yesterday said that he, coach Jim Harbaugh and the organization are "united in their stance against domestic violence," but added that "no decision had yet to reached" about McDonald’s status with the team (MERCURYNEWS.com, 9/2). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser noted Harbaugh "has been so loudly out there about his disdain for domestic violence that you would think he wouldn't allow" McDonald to play this weekend. ESPN's Michael Wilbon said Harbaugh is "going to come off as a complete and utter hypocrite" if McDonald plays ("PTI," ESPN, 9/2).
MAKING THE CALL: In San Jose, Tim Kawakami noted Baalke "decides what the 49ers' rules are, not Harbaugh." Kawakami: "I presume owner Jed York could decide team policy but to this point he has ceded all control of that to his GM and all evidence is that York will continue to do this." Meanwhile, Harbaugh said that there are “'two principles at play here' -- the 49ers and Harbaugh personally will not tolerate domestic violence and also they believe in due process." Because of Harbaugh's intolerance for domestic abuse, if McDonald is found guilty, it would "follow that the 49ers would not want him on the team" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 9/2). Also in San Jose, Mark Purdy wrote the 49ers are "trying to walk a very fragile line." They want to "convince people that they are uber-sensitive to perceptions about being soft on players who are arrested ... while at the same time wanting to retain every possible advantage when it comes to winning games." Purdy: "I would suspend McDonald while the investigation of his alleged actions is ongoing. But I didn’t just write him out a check for [$2.645M]. And I think it is naïve to believe none of that plays a part in how this is all playing out" (MERCURYNEWS.com, 9/2).
The Yankees will host "Derek Jeter Day" for Sunday's home game against the Royals. Starting Sunday and through the remainder of the '14 season, the team will wear a patch depicting Jeter's final season logo on the left sleeve of their uniform and cap. Meanwhile, New Era launched a limited-edition Derek Jeter Collectible Cap Set, consisting of three hats commemorating his five World Series titles, his 3,000 hits milestone and his upcoming retirement. New Era made only 2,014 units, which are available only at Yankees team stores. Also, a limited-edition Derek Jeter commemorative issue of Yankees Magazine will go on sale Sept. 18 (Yankees). Steiner Sports President Brandon Steiner said that the baseballs with Jeter logos to be used during Sunday's game, and the Yankees' uniforms "used in the game and throughout the rest of the season will be sold" by his company. New Era Cap President Pete Augustine said, "We've never seen this much interest from a player perspective, and I'm not sure we ever will." New Era has "more than 50 Jeter products for sale." Augustine said, "We literally can't keep product in stock." Rovell wrote that Nike is "seeking to further capitalize on its spokesman by trademarking 'RE2PECT,' which it is already using on gear sold in stores" (ESPN.com, 9/2).
If the WNBA Chicago Sky win tonight and reach the WNBA Finals, their home games "will not be at Allstate Arena" due to a scheduling conflict with a Garth Brooks concert, according to Brian Sandalow of the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES. The conflict means the Sky "would host Games 3 and 4 of the best-of-five series at the UIC Pavilion." Allstate Arena is booked tomorrow through Sept. 14 for shows by Brooks. Due to "popular demand, an unprecedented 11th sold-out show was added to Brooks’ stop as he starts his comeback world tour, and it was something the building couldn’t pass up." Allstate Arena Exec Dir Patrick Nagle, who has been booking events at the facility for 18 years, said, "It’s a tough thing to do to a home tenant that’s based here, but it’s a once-in-a-career booking." The Pavilion "seats 6,958 and has a full capacity of 10,075." The Sky’s court from Allstate Arena "would be used instead of the one on which UIC’s men’s and women’s basketball teams play." Sky President & CEO Adam Fox said that the franchise "looked into different venues in Chicago and the suburbs." The Sky played at the Pavilion from '06-09 (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 9/3). The facilities are 18 miles apart (THE DAILY).
The AP's John Wawrow reported at least three groups, including one led by Sabres Owners Terry and Kim Pegula, "have entered final negotiations" to buy the Bills. Sources said that a group headed by Donald Trump and a Toronto-based group led by Jon Bon Jovi "also have received formal documents in advance of a deadline for bids to be submitted by Monday." Former Sabres Owner Tom Golisano "is not prepared to submit a bid." The bidding process "will remain open for groups to increase their bids until a candidate is selected" (AP, 9/2).
BUC-ING THE TREND: In Tampa, Greg Auman reports the Buccaneers are "working to move back up" the NFL standings in a "key area: attendance." Bucs CMO Brian Ford said, "From a business model standpoint, everything we're trying to do is to add value outside of wins and losses." The team in the past month has "opened ticket offices in Orlando and Sarasota." Group-sales programs "reach in every direction -- discounts offered to military personnel, Crossfit enthusiasts and the LGBT community." More than 10,000 tickets "were sold last year through an ongoing fundraising program that gives area schools $5 from every ticket their students sell." Despite a 4-12 record in '13, the Bucs' average attendance rose 7% to 58,818, "sliding up two spots in the league rankings" (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 9/3).
ON A WING AND AN AD: The Eagles' new anthemic campaign for the start of the NFL season is up and "Silver Linings Playbook" star Bradley Cooper does the voice-over. A two-minute version of the work from the team and agency 160over90 is up on the team’s flyeaglesfly.com website. Eagles Senior VP/Business Ari Roitman said the long-form ad will be cut into three 30-second spots, the first of which will break on TV in the Philadelphia market during Thursday's Packers-Seahawks NFL opener. The ad also includes music from John Legend and The Roots (Terry Lefton, Editor-at-Large).
NEW YORK STATE OF WALLET: In New Jersey, John Brennan cited TiqIQ data as showing that the Giants tickets on average this season are "going for $317.11" -- down 8.5% from this time last season. As for the Jets, the number "is up" 2.4% from last season -- but "only to $190.83." The Giants currently rank 6th in the NFL, while the Jets rank 16th "in terms of highest average ticket price" (NORTHJERSEY.com, 9/2).