We all hope for warmth, joy, peace and good tidings heading into a New Year. For teams like the Washington Redskins and their fans, it’s an excellent opportunity to take your mind off the unmitigated disaster that was their 2013 season. In the midst of their disappointment, most Washington fans are wishing for a championship team in 2014. Meanwhile, Tony Wyllie, Washington Redskins PR Chief, likely has another addition to the 2014 wish list — don’t EVER mention his name on twitter. Let’s rephrase – that’s a demand followed by threats if there is insubordination by anyone, even if you are not his subordinate.
What does this mean? I’ll explain.
In the fourth quarter of Washington’s game against the Dallas Cowboys with approximately 51 seconds remaining, Fox broadcast showed superstar, yet benched QB Robert Griffin III talking to Tony Wyllie after a poor pass by QB Kirk Cousins.
Some fans thought Mr. Wyllie was Griffin’s father. Others simply wondered what Griffin was saying on the sidelines. No one knew what Cousins was doing or who the target was on that play. In response to the confusion and in the spirit of fun that is twitter, I tweeted:
Rob had to explain to Tony Wyllie what that was.
— Emmanual Benton (@Manny_PPI) December 22, 2013
Washington’s drama this season has been so dreadful that you can’t help but laugh.
However, Mr. Wyllie didn’t appreciate humor in dealing with the situation and apparently was in a bit of a grinch like mood this week. Shortly after the game ended, Mr. Wyllie sent me the email below, which was lacking in warmth and best wishes for the New Year.
This isn’t the first time Tony Wyllie took actions that make you believe he can’t take a joke. Earlier this month, Mr. Wyllie called Washington sports-talk radio station WJFK-FM (also known as “106.7 The Fan”) play-by-play parodies of ESPN 980 game-day broadcasts “malicious.” He said the spot-on parodies were so malicious that they could “prompt legal action by the Redskins” — team owner Dan Snyder added 980 to his ownership umbrella in 2008.
Maybe Mr. Wyllie is just not a fan of free speech or other constitutional protections except when it comes to the name of a professional football team. Parodies might result in a lawsuit and joking on Twitter during a football game constitutes highly unprofessional behavior. I’ll have to forward that insight to Jon Stewart of The Daily Show.
In the words of the great Bill Parcells, ”There is winning and there is misery.” If the Washington Redskins have a wining season in 2014, Mr. Wyllie may be less miserable. What does it take to get there? As Robert Griffin III once said, ”Football is football and talent is talent. But the mindset of your team makes all the difference.“
Happy New Year and may all your 2014 wishes come true.
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