We're a step closer to the mindway point of the season, but have you noticed almost nothing has clarified? Certainly, the Atlanta Falcons are the class of the NFL right now while the AFC is, by and large, pretty awful.
I don't expect any clarity next week either, but that's actually good. It keeps things very interesting.
Take the NFC North for example. I love covering this division, because it has yet to prove itself boring. Sure the Lions are not playing well, but who expected the Vikings to be in the hunt for the division title?
Even as optimistic as I was, I can't lay claim I thought they had a shot.
That, along with Crazy Jay Cutler, make the league interesting.
Speaking of interesting—
I had an interesting pair of back-and-forths regarding the recent decision of a Washington paper to cease calling the Washington Redskins by their very obviously racist name.
At some point I seemed to become the bad guy in the situation. Maybe it's because my point is this—it's an empty gesture.
I mean, don't get me wrong, it's a step. However, unless the paper is making it a jumping-off-point to get the name changed, it's pretty hollow.
That we even need to have this discussion in this day and age is insane. How Dan Snyder hasn't looked at it and said 'wow, that's bad' is beyond me. Maybe he has and maybe he's worried about angering the fanbase which seems to not care or maybe he's clueless. I can't say.
I can say this—not using the name is a nice gesture and not nearly enough.
If the paper is truly offended, it needs to do something about it. Heck, I'll sign on. Got a petition? Is there an email campaign? You want more suggestions? Let's get this done.
However just not saying the name isn't going to do much of anything. One thing which was brought up to me yesterday was, if papers and media stop using the name, people may stop buying gear with it on it—that perhaps folks will realize it's not different from wearing a jersey with any number of other racist words on it.
I don't think it's likely to happen. It's a nice idea, but I don't think 99% of the jersey-buying public are worried about the name on a jersey unless it says 'Rex Grossman' not RG3.
Nobody will boycott jerseys UNLESS and UNTIL a big effort is made to educate people. Not saying the word isn't going to do that on a large enough scale. You need to writers and editors hammering out columns about it, heck, you need columns like this raising awareness.
It should end up a story on Sportscenter.
You need to 'shake the pillars of heaven', as Jack Burton once said in Big Trouble in Little China.
Maybe I'm cynical, but small gestures like these get forgotten. How many people remembered the first paper to do this in Kansas City (which, by the way, still refers to their team as Chiefs last I knew)? Probably not many before this story came up again.
I do applaud the editors and papers for taking a stand. I really do.
I just think they shouldn't be stopping there.
As a sidenote, it occurred to me that I wouldn't be writing this today without that paper doing what it did, and I hesitated writing 'Redskins' for this and other work.
So perhaps I should put aside my cynicism and consider maybe it does make a difference, even in the smallest ways.
Are you going to tell him he's wrong?
In reality, he was. I know Vegas is angry and I get that on the surface it makes little sense. With the safety, the Niners had a nine point lead and there was no way the dropsies infested receivers of the Seahawks were scoring nine points.
Unless they did.
So from the start, we have to acknowledge anything can happen and in the NFL, often does.
Aside from that, Harbaugh had to be concerned that his team avoid any injuries. Frank Gore was banged up (XRays say his ribs were bruised not broken)and in the likely scrum coming from an almost inevitable onside kick, there's a chance someone on the 49ers could get hurt—perhaps badly.
Even if it's a less than .0001% chance, Harbaugh can't take it.
Finally, on some level Harbaugh might have known what we all knew watching the broadcast—that was a terrible flag.
As for your concerns he shaved points, Harbaugh had something to say.
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