This week, Dan Steinberg of The Washington Post mentioned on his blog that the Washington Redskins are looking to hire a full-time blogger. In fact, the team even brought in Steinberg, the man behind the D.C. Sports Bog, to see if he could be the man for the job. While Steinberg said it isn’t going to work out for him, he went on to say, “The idea of a behind-the-scenes, video-and-photo-heavy, well-written and authentic Redskins.com blog, composed by a real blogger, is a tremendous one that will almost certainly succeed.”
On the flip side is Stet Sports Blog, who posted Five Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Blog For the Washington Redskins. In their opinion, whoever is hired will:
1. Have no creative license
2. Say goodbye to facts
3. Be hated by the Redskins players
4. Be fired within 48 hours
5. Lose their independence
Finally, we have Michael David Smith, of AOL Sports’ Fanhouse weighing in on the subject of a possible Redskins-blogger marriage. Smith says, “This is good news for Redskins fans, for bloggers, for blog readers — for everyone who likes football and likes going online to get information about football.“
So why do I bring all of this up? Well, for more than three years now I’ve been afforded incredible access to the Washington Redskins. I’ve been allowed to take photos on the sidelines during minicamp, training camp and even games — both home and away. I’ve conducted countless interviews with everyone from Vinny Cerrato to Jimmy Farris, and everyone in between. I’ve covered everything from the Sean Taylor Memorial at Redskins Park to Renaldo Wynn’s Car Show, from Art Monk and Darell Green’s Hall of Fame press conference to Joe Gibbs’ final playoff game in Seattle. I’m not bringing any of this up for a pat on the back, I’m simply letting folks know I’ve been around the team long enough to form an opinion on this subject.
Whoever ends up being hired as the full-time blogger for the Redskins will be given the opportunity to do something completely groundbreaking. It’s one thing to come out to Redskins Park on behalf of the team’s messageboard or a newspaper and hunt for blog-able content, but it’s a whole new ballgame when you’re officially part of the team. Think about your current place of employment — just being there day in and day out you can’t help but learn fascinating tidbits about your co-workers that would otherwise go unreported.
For my full-time gig (sorry folks, Homer McFanboy ain’t paying the bills just yet) I work for the government. While that isn’t very exciting in the context of sports, on my floor alone we’ve got a guy who just bowled a perfect game, a gal whose cousin is a highly-talented rookie shortstop with the San Francisco Giants and another fellow whose related to a big-name rookie wide receiver in Pittsburgh. The bottom line is — stories are everywhere, as long as you’re willing to put in the work. So if you’re at the Park daily and afforded the kind of access the team is talking about, you can’t help but come across content no one else can provide.
Before I wrap this entry up, I want to tackle one very common misconception about the front office. Like I mentioned earlier, this is the fourth season I’ve been allowed to roam the ‘Skins sidelines. Not once during that time has anyone on the Redskins payroll pulled me aside and told me not to cover something or asked me to slant my coverage one way or the other. They’re fully aware of what I’m doing and what I’m writing, but no one is standing over my shoulder making me delete a comment if I say Devin Thomas looked lost on day one of minicamp or that Jon Jansen and Randy Thomas are injured so frequently that they spend as much time on the sidelines as I do. If you’re good at what you do and don’t embarrass yourself or the team, chances are the team will leave you alone.
When you read something like the “Five Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Blog For The Washington Redskins,” just know that’s coming from someone who has never actually worked with the team in any capacity. But as I said to that author, congrats to you – you’ve managed to “save your independence” by becoming a sheep and repeating what you’ve heard from all the other talking heads. You go girl.
This is a good thing, and whoever ends up as the first-ever Redskins blogger better bring the goods. Otherwise, this will be another case of an incredible opportunity wasted.