James Brown: Shanahan has acted professionally

December 19, 2013

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

I want to move away from the “People Saying Things About Mike Shanahan” business. But every once in a while, you come across a take so different from the norm that you sit up in your chair, suddenly full of life, for a second or so, before slumping back down and resuming your quest to finish all the stale jelly beans left over from Halloween while wondering what the long-term impact on your teeth might be, and also whether hiring a bingo caller mightn’t at least lighten the mood around town for a few days.

Like, he wouldn’t have to call football plays. What if he just called bingo games? Bingo games for unhappy Redskins fans. Everyone loves bingo. It’s like Christina Peri Rossi wrote at the beginning of Dostoevsky’s Last Night, talking about casual bingo players: “This game of bingo emerges as nothing more than one of those little pardonable sins, a little bourgeois fun, perhaps the closest they ever come to danger and passion.”

Anyhow, veteran NFL voice and D.C.’s own James Brown said something unique about Mike Shanahan during a recent appearance on 106.7 The Fan’s Don Geronimo Show, causing me to sit up and take notice. This came when Brown considered the suggestion that Shanahan was aiming to get himself fired.

“Please,” Brown said. “There’s been nothing in Mike Shanahan’s MO, for all the years I’ve known him – and we’re not bosom buddies – but from everything that I’ve seen from afar, the guy is handling himself extremely professionally. And that’s irrespective of whether you like Mike Shanahan or you don’t. Whether you think he ought to go or whether you think he ought to stay. He’s handled himself professionally under those circumstances.”

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“Is there some strain there in the relationship with Robert Griffin III?” Brown went on. “Absolutely, because the young man enjoys a great relationship with the owner, and that’s not atypical quite frankly. But it does make it pretty tough when you’ve got tough circumstances, and a coach who is to be the one voice coming out of the organization, necessarily can’t speak the way he wants or do the things he wants because of that relationship. And that’s a fact.

“Now, that same relationship existed last year when they were winning, but not a peep about it because they’re winning,” Brown said. “But to me the central point is this: the young man missed an entire offseason. Yes, the fact of the matter are there were a number of players who were upset, thinking that it was about him and him only, because of the All- In campaign, the branding and all that, when guys  just want to be focused on what it’s going to take for all of us to pull together to get it done. So it seemed to be all about him from that standpoint. And I think Robert Griffin III is a wonderful young man, I think he’s bright, he’s a prodigious talent, who absolutely ought to be handled properly so as to ensure the long term success of this organization. But those things did get in the way. That’s a fact. Period. And when you’re losing, then it’s exacerbated.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · December 19, 2013