SBD/July 7, 2017/Franchises

Williams Nears First Season In Charge Of Redskins, But Will Bosses Allow Free Rein?

Williams has the highest-ranking job attained by an African American in Redskins history
As Redskins Senior VP/Player Personnel Doug Williams begins his new role leading the team's front office, the question becomes whether his bosses will "give him rein to do it," according to Liz Clarke of the WASHINGTON POST. It is "easy to view Williams’s promotion as mere window dressing designed to placate alienated fans, many of whom responded" to former GM Scot McCloughan’s ouster "with a #FireBruce social media campaign," in reference to Redskins President Bruce Allen. It is also "easy to view it as largely symbolic -- designed to make the Redskins front office look more like a high-functioning organization and less like a two-man fiefdom, while conveying little autonomy." Williams "crafted his own job description, including his title, spelling out responsibilities that give him control of the Redskins’ personnel department." Williams: "I’ve never been a 'yes guy'. ... I know [coach Jay Gruden] well and Bruce well. And I know there are going to be times when we may not agree." Clarke notes Williams was "named to the highest-ranking job attained by an African American in the history of the Redskins, the last NFL team to integrate." Former NFLer Jeff Bostic, Williams' teammate in the '80s, said, "He’s now in a position where he can make a huge impact on this football team.” Williams will be the first one "given latitude to do so" under Owner Dan Snyder and Allen, who have a "history of overruling, undermining and undercutting their own coaches and personnel executives." DC-based lawyer Cyrus Mehri, legal counsel of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, "pushed back on speculation that Williams was promoted for largely symbolic reasons." Mehri "pointed to the fact that the Redskins adopted Williams’s own plan for restructuring the team’s front office and characterized him as 'one of the most observant, insightful people you’ll ever be around'" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/7).

DEBATE OVER NAME CONTINUES: The Redskins and Snyder recently "won a fight with the federal trademark office to retain patent protection for the team’s name," but the WASHINGTON POST editorial board wrote before he "takes another victory lap, Snyder would do well to reflect on what exactly it is that he has 'won.'" The team’s name is "still as hurtful and offensive as ever, and the controversy it stirs will likely only intensify, not go away." Snyder can "call his football team anything he wants without fear of losing the valuable trademark protection that is key to merchandising revenue." But just because the First Amendment "gives him the right to use a racial slur, that doesn’t mean he should" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/4).
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