Boycotts and "Revolution"

Pardon the time between posts here at Washington Sportsjam, I’ve been a little too depressed to write lately.  There has been a lot going on in this area the past two weeks and it hasn’t been pretty.  Where do we even begin?  Should we start with the weekly questions about Head Coach Jim Zorn’s job security or perhaps with the fact that Redskins have not scored 30 points or more in the last 22 regular season games?  How about with the boycott plans for this Sunday’s game against Kansas City?

There have been efforts lately to organize people in various ways to try and get a message across to Redskins owner Dan Snyder (who many feel is responsible for the current problems of the team).  These have included wearing brown bags at home games (back when we were 1-2, yeah, 1 AND 2!) as well as not showing up at games/selling tickets, or booing at home games when the team doesn’t produce while defensively stating, “we’re not booing the team, we’re booing the owner”.  Riiight.  The most difficult aspect of showing frustration towards the owner is that more often than not the team suffers and becomes the object of the attack.


Now, there is another move that is gaining some ground that is hoping to be more effective.  A blog by the name of “Burgundy Revolution” has started and is planning a “Black Sunday” for this week.

The purpose?  The organizer from Burgundy Revolution says “… to hopefully show Snyder there are a lot of us, and to hopefully draw more people into the movement.”

“I can’t speak for everyone that is anti-Snyder, but for me, I don’t expect we will actually get him to sell the team; the team is too valuable.  What I am hoping for is that he wakes up and admits that he does not know how to run a football team.  If Dan Snyder will openly admit/apologize his past mistakes, fire Vinny Cerrato and bring in a REAL GM, and finally promise to not impose his will into football decisions, then I have no more reason to push for revolution.

I want to make it perfectly clear that I/we SUPPORT THE TEAM.  Any actions that we are taking are directed at the management not at them.  If any player sees people in black, please know that this is not about you; don’t take it personally.

As for WHY do I am I behind this? I am behind it because I am tired of hurting.  I love the Redskins and have since I was a little kid.  When we win a game on Sunday, it just makes my week; when we lose I am always saddened.  Lately the losses have been hurting more and more because they just keep happening AND we keep getting our hopes up.  A loss in which we are competitive hurts, but at least I can hold my head high at the office on Monday.  This year, I have had trouble holding my head high after we win!  I don’t see the situation getting any better until there is a serious change at the top.  Firing Zorn is not the answer, replacing Campbell is not the answer.  These may or may not be a part of the solution, but they alone will not do it.”

My Thoughts on the Planned Blackout or “Black Sunday”

Honestly, what Skins fan can’t relate to that last paragraph?  I remember my face hurting from smiling the whole day after the Monday night miracle (you remember the amazing passes by Mark Brunell in the last five minutes in Dallas to Santana Moss who thereafter would be called “the cowboy killer”?).  I was working at a YMCA in Hampton Roads and some of the old women asked me why I was so happy, I couldn’t even explain it without laughing or tearing up a little.  Yeah I probably looked like the most idiotic lifeguard anyone had ever seen in Virginia Beach, but I felt like a billion bucks.  Of course the opposite has been true, I’ve invited people over to watch Skins games and have ended up throwing chairs and pillows, ripping newspapers to shreds, yelling uncontrollably and having a week or more completely ruined.

The Premise of the Argument

While I can relate on the emotional level of the highs and lows of being a Redskins fan, I cannot agree to the premise of the argument which seems to be that Dan Snyder is the ultimate and end all reason for the demise of the franchise.  He is one of the problems and he has the power to rectify the dysfunctional culture that has riddled the team.  But the way some fans view him seems to be that he’s possessed by Satan himself and is hell bent on destroying the team.  There are certainly times where it looked like he was (back when Brad Johnson was benched in favor of Jeff George and when Brian Mitchell was released but Deion Sanders was signed).  Unfortunately, most fans that hate Snyder spend much of their time calling him “Danny” and releasing a tirade of ad hominem attacks that end up sounding little more than a five year old having a temper tantrum.

Let me be clear on this, Dan Snyder does not  hate the Redskins. He does not value money over winning.  His track record speaks to exactly the opposite of that.  What we have here in Washington is an owner who wants to win and will spend whatever money he can to do so.  The problem is that he’s been spending his money unwisely and has hired people that are more open to his involvement than carving out a name for themselves.  He has made poor decisions in the past and as Mike Wilbon of the Washington Post writes in his article “Snyder Must Lead Redskins by Getting Out of the Wayhe needs to make a smart decision on someone to oversee football  operations and leave it to that person.  That’s the only way out of this mess.  We’ve seen what Vinny Cerrato can do and what shape the offensive line is in (anyone besides me still miss Jon Jansen???).

Will it Right the Ship?

At first I was on the fence about the Blackout for Sunday.  I’m not talking about the logistical problems of getting 90,000 people to get on board (or even 10,000 for that matter).  I’m talking about the implications of the act.  I talked to a waitress last night in a small town off I-70 in Maryland about the idea after I found out she was a die-hard Skins fan whose family was a long time season ticket holder.  Her response really resonated with me.  In essence it was the following, “Why wear black?  If you’re going to the game to cheer on the Redskins, you wear Skins colors.  You deck yourself out in the burgundy and gold and you actually cheer them on.  You don’t boo, you support the team.”

Now, I understand that people are frustrated right now.  I know people want to let Snyder know they are disappointed and angry at the personnel and player decisions that have been made the past few years that have led us to where we are now.  That’s okay.  But broken down, these are the implications I see when fans come wearing black on Sunday:

  • If you’re wearing black, you are not wearing burgundy and gold. As mentioned above, this is kind of a simple idea: are you in or are you out?  To me it’s a little like those that booed when the Redskins beat the St. Louis Rams and said, “I’m not booing the team.  I’m booing ownership.”  Really?  Is Dan Snyder on the field?  Is Vinny Cerratto playing offensive line?  Who do you think that reflects on when the game switches over to a national broadcast and football watchers all over the country see a team beating their opponent and getting booed by their home fans to get off the field?
  • Will this get to Dan Snyder anyway? If enough people do this, it might get some attention.  I know Dan Steinberg with the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog would cover it if there are enough people.  Other than that how’s it going to make it past the bleachers and up the stairs?  If I’m Dan Snyder I’m thinking you’re mourning the loss of the season and I need make another knee-jerk reaction to change things up (such as getting rid of Zorn, hiring Gruden and letting chaos start a new chapter).
  • Is there another approach that might be more effective? Granted, this is activity number 1 for the Burgundy Revolution (did I mention the name itself sounds great?  Because it does…) and it could be just the beginning of a larger and more creative plan for change in D.C.  Mark Newgent, a Redskins fan and writer for the Examiner seems to think the Cincinnati Bengals fans have a good strategy for change in their “Who-Dey Revolution

Listen, I’m not hatin’ on this “movement”.  If it works, heck, great job and great idea.  I think Redskins fans are a broad array of folks united for a love of the great franchise that we used to see and still support.  The rest of the season definitely seems bleak with the offensive line in flux, Zorn’s job on the line, an underperforming defense and a no-show offense but it’s also a time where the bandwagon fans drop off the map.  I appreciate the effort being made by fans that care to restore the franchise to its once prominent place in the NFC East, the NFL and in the sports world.  I disagree as to the method but I wish them good luck, and if you err, err on the side of supporting the team.

If you want to Blackout on Sunday here’s the final instructions from the Burgundy Revolution organizer:

“1) Wear black to the stadium on Sunday.
2) Don’t spend any money on concessions.  If you need drink, do it outside before the game!
3) Cheer loudly for your players.  Whether they play well or not, they are your players.
4) Spread the word.  Not about my blog or twitter handle, but about the movement in general, about others carrying the torch such as @boycottSnyder, @savetheskins, @selltheteamdan, @letsbuytheskins, @redskins_fans and their blogs”

Your Thoughts

Do you support a “BlackSunday” against the Chiefs?

Am I off base and naive about Snyder?

21 Comments to “Boycotts and "Revolution"”

  • Matt October 18, 2009 at 9:30 PM

    How’d it go?

  • Regionalceleb October 18, 2009 at 2:07 AM

    I think all of us fans that have any idea no matter how small, how big or how idiotic should ban together, come under 1 site, and start throwing around ideas. I love the idea of directly getting to Snyder, chances are slim but its GREAT. Im voicing we all start posting on the blog http://burgundyrevolution.com

    Everyone has ideas, like our Black Out, you either hate it or are 100% behind it, Theres chants being worked on, possible complete walkout of a game, billboard purchasing with a message to Snyder Somewhere on the Beltway. What I wear tomorrow doesnt make me a fairweather fan Im still sitting right next to someone in the stadium cheering for the same team ! Im not there booing or screaming at the players. I dont see why I need to wear my jersey to be considered a fan, When Im at home Im usually in sweats or a t non of which are skins colors does that mean Ive turned on the Skins ? NO

    So people gather up your idea’s and head over to BurgundyRevolution.com and lets start posting ideas on the site. @burgundyRevo @boycottsnyder and the whole gang are people just like me and you, WE AGREE TO DISAGREE but who knows a small idea could get national attention…….Hope to see you there……

  • Jorge P. October 18, 2009 at 1:33 AM

    Just to clarify, I mean people who are season ticket holders who put their tickets to waste. If people choose not to renew after this season, that is their justified right.

  • Jorge P. October 18, 2009 at 1:30 AM

    Just to attempt to unify everyone here (because we are all Redskins fans, I think).

    The worst of all alternatives is for people not to show up to games. I fear that what will happen tomorrow is the worst of all alternatives, which is that 30,000 fans are not going to show up on account of the weather.

    I don’t think whether or not you wear black makes you a good fan, a bad fan, or a fairweather fan. We are all fans and I think that most of us do agree that there is a problem with the way this team has been run. How we choose to express that is up to us, but the people who are coming in black have never said they don’t support the players, they have never said they are going to boo.

    Plenty of people who wore burgundy and gold booed the team against the Rams, they booed the team against the Bucs, and they probably will boo them again at some point this season. If you believe in fairweather fans, that was an open act against the players. People who wear black are doing it against the front office.

    The key is for people to show up tomorrow and cheer on the team, no matter what they’re wearing. The only people who are guilty of anything are those who have tickets but choose not to come.

  • Michael October 17, 2009 at 7:32 PM

    Good point on the childish and fair weather perspective.

    Most fans if disappointed in their team would simply become less involved and/or migrate towards another team for awhile.

    However you guys (general ‘you’) love your team so much and are so dedicated to it that you want to do something, which I applaud. I think it’s just important to do it the right way to send the right message across to the right person.

  • Mark Kalriess October 17, 2009 at 7:25 PM

    Good point Michael,

    You guys have laid out your plan for wearing black, but have not made mention of any plans to let Synder know how you feel. You may be getting some traffic in the Blog-o-Sphere, but as far as I know the Post, Times, CSN, or the Redskins Blog has not picked up on your movement. Obviously there is a lot of talk about it here on this blog and some others, but this blog isn’t the Post as much as I would like.

    Not buying tickets, not wearing team colors looks like not supporting your team. Say what you want about cheering, what’s that going to look like on TV to the rest of the NFL? It’s going to look like the Redskins aren’t doing well and some of their fans abandoned them. That’s how wearing black is going to affect the fans who still want to wear the burgundy and gold. It makes our fanbase look childish and fair weather.

    I agree with you on some points, Synder needs to hire a GM. But it seems to me this movement needs a lot more planning if you really expect to send a message to Dan Synder.

  • Michael October 17, 2009 at 6:23 PM

    If you (general ‘you’) are upset at the management of the team, why not let the management know directly? While wearing black, booing, not purchasing concessions, canceling season tickets, etc. might indirectly let the management know fans are unsatisfied, but it leaves a lot of room for interpretation on their part. Plus, as others have mentioned, it can negatively impact the team, decreasing their performance and creating a self fulfilling prophecy that we are having a bad season.

    When you are upset with a purchase at a department store, what do you do? Do you wear black during your next shopping trip? Do you make noises while you are checking out? Do you not buy the over priced items at checkout? No. You ask to speak to the manager to rectify your concerns.

    My suggestion, if you are upset at the management, let them know DIRECTLY. Don’t try to send a message that’ll get watered down due to lack of participation. Send a letter straight to management expressing your frustrations with their performance (not the players).

  • BurgundyRevo October 17, 2009 at 6:34 AM

    I don’t understand why it should divide us. I’m not angry at those that choose not to wear black. I understand, it’s not for everyone…

    I choose to cheer for the team that I love in a black shirt, how does that hurt someone that wants to wear a burgundy?

    In the end, we are all sad fans of a sad team.

  • BurgundyRevo October 17, 2009 at 6:31 AM

    as to your last statement “People aren’t buying concessions anymore, maybe I should hire a GM.’

    I don’t think Dan Snyder is so naive to not read (or at least be told about) local press (NBC, Wash Examiner, multiple blogs, 106.7). He has to know there is a lot of discontent. If there are enough people at the game that are part of the revolt, that cause concessions to fall, there will certainly be enough that he will notice all the black and have to ask why….

    Not saying that’s going to happen, I have no idea how many will show up in black…

  • BurgundyRevo October 17, 2009 at 6:27 AM

    I think you said it perfectly Jorge. Given the options we have at hand, I think this is one of the best things we can do.

    As I said before, I don’t expect that this single game event will force any change; I just hope it gives Dan Snyder a warning that we are organizing…

    I will be wearing my black Sean Taylor shirt to the game, and I will cheer loudly, and unless Snyder decided to charge for water fountains, that’s what I’ll be drinking…

  • Regionalceleb October 16, 2009 at 7:55 PM


  • Regionalceleb October 16, 2009 at 6:07 PM

    right on Jorge ! Black Sunday 10/18 !

  • Regionalceleb October 16, 2009 at 4:34 PM

    Being one of the creators of Black Sunday 10/18 I agree to disagree with alot of input from other fans. I agree that by us wearing black it wont matter to The Dan . Its also not the DEATH OF THE SEASON, WERE MORNING THE TEAM THAT USE TO BE THAT IS NO MORE. But what it will show is that THE BURGUNDY REVOLUTION growing by leaps and bounds and we are STANDING TOGETHER. This is just the tip of things to come from this great group of people. If your on twitter follow these people for the latest on the BURGUNDY REVOLUTION @burgundyrevo @boycottsnyder @redskinsinsider @regionalceleb

  • BigMike21 October 16, 2009 at 9:46 PM

    The Redskins fan base in the past 15 years or so has been a very ridiculed fanbase. At times I feel we have entered Dallas Cowboys realm where people hate us and the Skins even if it is a real non-rival a la the Colts let’s say as an example. I feel the blackout will just make us as a fan base look bad and that will reflect on our franchise which is already in some serious public eye turmoil. First off, the stadium is not going to be very full this week because we are very bad, the chiefs are very bad, and the weather could be very bad. And how many people who are going to the game even heard of the so-called blackout do you think? I would think not many, hell the only reason I heard about it is because of twitter and I’d be surprised if more than 5% at the stadium this Sunday is on twitter.

    The only thing that is going to work is the discontinuation of season tickets. I plan on not renewing mine this year. And I guarantee a lot of others won’t either….even the offline ones who have not even heard of the burgundy revolution or blackout. It is going to happen people. Within the next five years a Skins game is going to be blacked out and that is when the crap will finally hit the fan. Until then don’t buy concessions or jerseys or whatever little things you can. But trying to start an active demonstration that may not even reach a lot of people is going to divide the fans this Sunday.

  • Nick October 16, 2009 at 9:45 PM

    I suppose they are Snyder’s “human shields.”

    The only way to make Snyder change is to make him lose money, or not make as much money. Doing that is necessarily going to hurt others, whether it is those selling the concessions, or the corporate sponsors who are going to be boycotted, or someone else.

    As someone who lost his job, I don’t take lightly the impact that boycotts will have on others. But I also believe that the Redskins can be a greater force for good in our community than the fan-suing, speech-censoring, corporate monolith that the team has become.

    To be that team I want it to be, there has to be a new owner, and I’m willing to boycott until there is one.

  • Mark Kalriess October 16, 2009 at 8:41 PM

    So, you don’t care about the people making a living of the Concessions?

    If there is less revenue coming in from concessions, Synder will likely think its because the team isn’t doing so well. Is he supposed to randomly think “People aren’t buying concessions anymore, maybe I should hire a GM.’?

  • Mark Kalriess October 16, 2009 at 7:40 PM

    So if : “I agree that by us wearing black it wont matter to The Dan” why do it? What’s the plan to let the owner know how you feel? How is wearing black a message? It looks like mourning. How are you going to explicitly protest the owner, and not the team, coaches, or players?

    What is this going to look like to the rest of League if fans wear black, stop buying tickets, stop going to the games? It’s going to look like any other fanbase abandoning their team when they are playing mediocre.

    Also, what the point of not buying anything if you go? I did some research and found out that vendors get 10% commission on sales at FedEx. Why punish them? They aren’t responsible for any of the team’s woes. This a second job or way to get through college for many people. http://www.jetservicesinc.com/employment.html

  • Jorge P. October 16, 2009 at 5:29 PM

    It’s clear people want to voice their frustration. For those who have tickets for Sunday, here are the alternatives:

    1. People who already paid a lot of money for season tickets an choose not to show up.
    2. People can boo the team
    3. People can root for the other team (trust me, when the Eagles come to town next Monday night, there will be plenty of people coming from Philly as they already do)
    4. People can do nothing
    5. People can do something — just none of the above.

    Wearing black, as the previous poster said, is pretty tame compared to the other options. And, as he also said, it is a show of solidarity against The Dan.

    Of the options above, unless fans choose to do nothing differently (which is what a lot of people are advocating), wearing black is the least likely to affect the players. They’ll be wearing black, but at least they’ll be there to support the players. And not booing like in the other home games.

    All of that said, other than this just being an emotional “win” for the fans, the only way to make Snyder change is to hit him in the pocketbook. Those that go, I agree, should eat before they get to the stadium and do their best not to spend $$ inside.

    And, for the real test of how disgruntled fans are, the biggest thing would be for season ticket holders not to renew their seats for next year.

    I am pledging to do just that. Until then, I’ll be wearing black on Sunday and cheering for the Skins to win.

  • Amanda Changuris October 16, 2009 at 4:13 PM

    I’ll be at home Sunday, wearing my BLACK Redskins sweatshirt I bought a few years back. I think that’s a nice compromise. I’ll be cheering like crazy for all of the players on the field and I know they’ll be giving it all they have for all of their fans — but I’m fed up with the management of my team.

  • Mark Kalriess October 16, 2009 at 3:44 PM

    I am going to the game on Sunday and plan to wear my Redskin colors, not black. Like you mentioned in the article and like why wife said when I told hear about the boycott how will people know you’re supporting the Team if you wear black?

    And I don’t get the logistics of getting this point across to Synder either. It just going to look like a bunch of neutral fans who came to the game. Any explicit signs will be taken away immediately.

    Here’s another thing. I don’t know about FedEx but know that at many stadiums some of the vendors are independent contractors and some work directly for the team. So buy not buying anything at the game, you may actually be hurting someone out there trying to make a living with their profession or second job. That doesn’t hurt Synder, that hurts the independent vendor.

    I tend to agree more with Matt on the Synder issue. He’s definitely part of the problem, but he’s not the whole problem. The personnel may be in place, but there has been plenty of bad coaching and players giving up too early on plays this season as well.

  • Nick October 16, 2009 at 3:07 PM

    I think fans can wear black and still cheer loudly for their team. If the stadium is all black and still rocking, I think the players will know we’re behind them.

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