Lifelong Redskins fan Chad Rich doesn’t have any delusions that thousands of people will join him outside of Redskins Park in Ashburn on Friday and Saturday to protest the team’s treatment of now-fired general manager Scot McCloughan, or that the demonstrations, however large, will change the way Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and President Bruce Allen run their franchise.
Still, Rich felt compelled to create the Facebook event “March on Ashburn” late Wednesday night after reading The Post’s report on McCloughan’s apparent ouster and seeing the frustration of his fellow Redskins fans on social media.
“The Mike Jones and Liz Clarke article pretty much was what pushed me over the edge as far as just being livid with the team again,” Rich said Thursday. “On Twitter, I saw people suggesting that fans should march on Ashburn and go to Redskins Park, and everybody just kept saying that they wished there was an event. There could be five people out there and nothing could happen from it. I don’t want to expect anything to happen from it.”
Rich described the event, which will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday and Saturday outside of Redskins Park, on Facebook as follows:
Peacefully protesting at Redskins Park to let Snyder and Allen know that the fans are fed up with them running our beloved franchise into the ground. To let them know that they aren’t going to succeed in selling fans false hope anymore. Fire Bruce Allen. Let Scot do his job.
While he admitted it might just be recency bias, Rich said he can’t remember feeling so depressed about his favorite team.
“They finally seemed to be turning a corner for once, and then to find out that for the last two years hasn’t been able to do his job,” he said. “It’s Bruce Allen calling the shots. It seems like the lowest point. There are definitely a lot of lows. This is the first realization that it’s literally never going to change.”
The “March on Ashburn” Facebook event had 189 people registered as “Going” and another 558 people registered as “Interested” as of Thursday at 6:15 p.m. The event was linked to in a thread on Redskins Reddit, which included a list of other suggested ways for fans to protest the team’s decision to sever ties with McCloughan. Reddit co-founder and longtime Redskins season ticket holder Alex Ohanian joined another Reddit user in pledging to raffle off season tickets to fans who attend the protests if McCloughan is ultimately retained and/or Allen’s role with the team is reduced.
No matter what comes of the protests, Rich said his deep-rooted Redskins fandom is unlikely to completely fade, but he’s never felt less of a connection to his team.
“I’m borderline obsessed,” Rich said. “I love it, 365 days a year, Redskins. It’s probably too much anyway. I can’t really delude myself and say that I’m going to never pay attention again. I’m 35, I’ve lived here my entire life. I was deployed overseas to the Middle East and I would wake up at 3 a.m. to watch preseason games, so I’m pretty hardcore. But yeah, this is just apathy, I guess. Even at some of the lowest points in the past, I never reached that point. At the end of time, it was, okay, Vinny one and now we have an. They were always able to sell hope in a way that would keep me there a little bit longer. But there’s no hope anymore. That’s kind of the future of my Redskins fandom. It is what it is, and it’s going to be that way until it’s not.”
Rich, who lives in Bristow, said he’ll stop at Redskins Park on Friday on his way to work with his wife and two young children.
“It’s my first time ever protesting anything, but this just pushed me over the edge,” he said. “It’s not like an election where we can just vote Bruce and Dan out. It might be a hopeless cause, but it’s about the only thing we have really besides not spending money on the team. This is about as grand a scale of fan backlash as I’ve ever seen, so we’ll see. If it were up to me, people would be standing outside Redskins Park at 8 o’clock every morning until something changes, but as of right now, it’s and Saturday at 8.”
As for where exactly fans will gather, Rich said he planned to drive out to Redskins Park on Thursday evening to scope out the scene and provide additional details on the Facebook event page.
Update: Fans plan to park across Gloucester Parkway from Redskins Park.