Washington Sign Ban: Redskins Fans Lose Their Freedom of Speech

Dan YokeCorrespondent IOctober 30, 2009

22 Oct 1995:  Washington Redskins fans during the Redskins 36-30 win over the Detroit Lions at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.  Mandatory Credit:  Doug Pensinger/Allsport
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Sticks and stones do break bones, and apparently words will hurt Daniel Snyder and Vinny Cerrato just as badly.

Word came down from Redskins management yesterday that fans will no longer be allowed to bring signs or placards into Fed Ex Field.

The timing of this announcement sends a clear message to everyone that The Redskins' owner is well aware of fan sentiment.

But instead of making positive changes to improve his team he has decided to subscribe to the philosophy that if you don’t see it and can’t read it, then it doesn’t really exist.

This is an unprecedented move of cowardice from an owner who is making decisions with his heart in a league that has the most success when emotions are left at the door.

Many teams have had poor management and poor performances in this league for a lot longer than the Redskins.

Detroit set the standard for mismanagement during the Matt Millen era.

But did Millen ever stoop to banning fan signs?

Of course not.

In many cases during his tenure, a shot of an original sign in the crowd was one of the only Detroit highlights played on Sportcenter.

What’s next?

Will fans be removed from the stadium for wearing bags on their heads with the eyes cut out?

Snyder and Cerrato must grow thicker skin and realize the reality of the NFL’s appeal.

Fans attend games for entertainment.

If the team is not providing that entertainment, the fans must find new reasons to attend games.

Whether a sign or a costume hurts a player or owner’s feelings or not, showing them off is fun for the fans.

It lets them vent their frustration in a non-violent way and gives them a reason to go to a game that they know will likely end in an embarrassing Redskins loss.

This move may make Snyder feel better on game day, but it is only hurting his much maligned reputation.

No good will come of this!

Daniel Snyder needs to man up and solve this problem instead of pretending that it doesn’t exist.

Instead of coming down on the fans, Snyder needs to come to terms with why the fans are disgruntled and take measures to regain their enthusiasm.

I know that this will be hard to accomplish this season.

But until changes can effectively be made, the ownership needs to accept fan reaction for what it is: A desperate attempt from a loyal fan base to display its displeasure.

I guarantee that if Snyder can build a team next year that plays hard, shows some skill, and wins at least seven or eight games, the signs will disappear without having to ban them.


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