Washington Redskins: What Does John Feinstein Have Against the Shanahans?

Josh McCainSenior Writer INovember 12, 2010

Yesterday evening as I drove to pick up my son from day care, writer John Feinstein was on The Sports Reporters on ESPN980 in Washington D.C., this morning I drove my son back to day care and Feinstein was on  The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan.

The common theme of both interviews?

Mike Shanahan used racial coding when speaking about Donovan McNabb, and that either Kyle Shanahan or Mike have been leaking reports to Adam Schefter and Chris Mortenson of ESPN to under mind their quarterback.

For those of you who don't know what is going on let me take a moment to catch you up.

Two weeks ago coach Shanahan benched quarterback Donovan McNabb in the final two minutes of the Redskins' loss to the Detroit Lions.

What followed were a string of excuses that ranged from Donovan not knowing the playbook, to not being cardiovascular fit to run the two minute offense, and finally his hamstrings were too injured.

Now, only Mike Shanahan (and probably Kyle) know exactly why he pulled McNabb, but I'm pretty sure I know why too.

Donovan has played rather poorly this season.

So after McNabb's benching the gauntlet had been run by reporters constantly trying to find out what the hell was going on at Redskins Park.

Then earlier this week John Feinstein (who hasn't met a microphone he didn't like) went on Washington Post Live on Comcast Sportsnet in Washington D.C. and claimed that Shanahan saying McNabb didn't know the playbook and was not physically fit enough to run the two-minute offense was racial coding.

And since Feinstein with all of his integrity put words in Mike Shanahan's mouth, let me do the same for him.  Feinstein is basically saying that Shanahan said that because McNabb is black he is too stupid and lazy to run the two-minute offense.

Now Feinstein has said several times that he doesn't believe Shanahan is a racist, but also keeps saying Shanahan should be fired for making comments (that aren't in anyway racist), because he John Feinstein, perceives those words to be racial coding.

Now for a moment, let's take a step back.

Racism is a very real and disgusting thing.  It was very prevalent in our own government for more than 150 years up until the Civil Rights Movement.

Even after Dr. Martin Luther King J.r.'s "I have a dream speech" and the election of the countries first black President, President Barack Obama, racism is still alive.  Sometimes in the dark corners of this country, and sometimes right out in the open.

What allows racism to be so blatantly out in the open are the many false cries of racism that cause most of us to turn a blind eye when ever we hear someone talk about it.

If you look hard enough you can find racism or racial coding in anything.  For instance take this sentence.  "Wow, that Michael Vick sure is fast."

That sentence seems harmless enough, it's just stating that the speaker believes Michael Vick is fast.

But wait, there is a stereo-type that all black men are fast, so is the speaker being racist or using racial coding?

How about this sentence, "Look at Pedro's garden, it might be the nicest in the neighborhood."

See a compliment that could be taken as racist because it's said about an Hispanic person and there is a stereo-type that they all work for landscaping companies.

Now granted what Shanahan said about McNabb's inability to run the two-minute offense was not flattering in the least, but I used compliments as an example to show you how ridiculous people can be when it comes to speaking about someone of a different race.

Another problem I have with John Feinstein and his racial coding comments are that when anyone says to him, "Well John, Shanny's comments could have easily been said about a white quarterback."

Feinstein's comeback (which he used on both radio shows) was that it wasn't said about a white quarterback, it was said about a black quarterback.

So let me get this straight John, just because Donovan McNabb is a black quarterback a white coach cannot comment on his physical fitness level or his level to grasp the offense, which by the way Donovan on his own admission said he doesn't have it down fully yet.

To me John Feinstein is setting up a double standard when he says a white coach can't make negative comments about a black quarterback.

Listen, if we are ever going to be a society free of racism we can't set double standards.  A white coach can't be afraid to publicly say he doesn't think a black quarterback can't do something, whether it be because of intelligence or skill.

After all, that coach is only talking about an individual not a whole community of people.

I dare think if the pariah of the league Jamarcus Russel was the quarterback if we'd be hearing all of this talk.

I mean after all the consensus from everyone was that Russel had all the talent in the world but was too lazy and dumb to play in the NFL.  I didn't hear one cry of racism there.

Is it because Russel isn't nearly as likable as Donovan McNabb?

I mean honestly, when McNabb was the quarterback for the Eagles I wanted to hate him so bad, but I couldn't.  The guy is just too damn likable.

So is that the reason John, why if Shanahan sort of kind of, if you're looking for it, can hint that McNabb is dumb and lazy you can call his comments racial coding, but people flatly say Jamarcus Russel is dumb and lazy you don't even whimper?

Or is it because you have something against Mike Shanahan?

After all, after tweets from Chris Mortenson and Adam Shefter saying that the Shanahan's disapproval of McNabb's practice habits were the worst kept secret in the NFL or that they had to cut the playbook in half for McNabb were actually leaked to the two ESPN reporters by the Shanahans.

Where is your basis for these allegations?  And further more, why would the two coaches do something like that?

Feinstein's only evidence for this is that Shefter helped Shanahan write his autobiography and that the two are friends.  Really, because Shefter helped Shanahan with his book and that they may enjoy a drink together that Shanny would totally under mind his quarterback and his team like this?

And to defend these allegations with no evidence, Feinstein said to the Sports Junkies this morning, "I would never ask another reporter for their sources."

Translation, I don't want to know their sources because God forbid that we let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Feinstein, like a kid who still believes in Santa Clause, doesn't want to know who the sources are, because if they turn out to be some lowly ball boy then his whole illusion of Mike Shanahan being some evil genius of a coach is ruined.

At one point in my life I really looked up to John Feinstein.  I had always thought that he was one of the best sport reporters in the Washington D.C. area, but now I'm not so sure.

For someone with his integrity to claim racism when there is no evidence of such and to beat the drum for Shanhan's firing so loudly and proudly makes me rethink about all the integrity that I thought Feinstein had.

Now in writing this I could be wrong about all of it.  Maybe tomorrow we'll see pictures in the Washington Post of the Shanahans at a Klan rally texting Shefter and Mortenson about how much they hate McNabb.  Highly unlikely but you never know.

But until there is actually evidence of something so sinister as that, I, being someone who was raised with the up most integrity, wouldn't dare jump to such a radical conclusion and then go running my mouth to any television or radio station that would have me.

One last thing, everyone who is anyone is D.C. sports media (I not being one them) has said they are 100 percent sure McNabb will be somewhere else next season and that he and Shanahan are basically divorced. 

I on the other hand have said he'll be back , now after the Detroit game I'm not 100 percent sure like I was before it, but I'd say I'm roughly 80/20.

If McNabb isn't here I'll gladly say, "well shoot, I was wrong about that one."

Will the rest of the D.C. media have the same integrity to say they were wrong if we come to find out there is no rift between the Shanahans and McNabb and McNabb is still here next season?

Somehow I highly doubt it.


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