New York Daily News Follows The Fantasy Football Guide 2014’s Lead

Screenshot from
Screenshot from

One of the country’s largest circulation daily newspapers announced yesterday that they’ve changed their policy, and will not publish (with the exception of reader letters and quotes in which the name is relevant, as well as packages supplied by outside vendors, though they’re going to try to strip it from those) the Washington NFL team’s name. I suspect they’re going to get some letters.

Andy Goldstein’s Latest August 15, 2014: A Fantasy Football Guide Update

Screenshot 2014-07-27 18.58.42Andy Goldstein writes for and edits the position pages of the Fantasy Football Guide, and has for many years now.

One of the things that happens when you commit to ideas and opinions is that some turn out not to go the way one expected. Here are Andy’s thoughts about some of those this year:

So if we had to do that one again…

In order to put out a gorgeous, comprehensive fantasy football magazine, certain deadlines come into play. Sometimes major fantasy-shifting events occur and I’m here to remedy that problem. Now, I’m just one humble writer branching off from the team-effort consensus the magazine illuminates. It should go without saying that while I anticipate my Fantasy Football Guide cohorts would more or less agree with my assessments, they are still not to be mistaken as “official” for whatever that really means!

Johnny Manziel (Magazine Rank – 32) – When we compiled the rankings for the magazine, it hadn’t been that long since Brian Hoyer had compiled nearly 600 yards and 5 touchdowns in stunning back to back performances. Of course, Hoyer was seriously injured and Cleveland drafted Manziel to much fanfare in the draft. Even heading into training camp, it looked like Manziel would have to start the season as a backup. Obviously, we figured Manziel would see playing time. But had we known that by the second week of the preseason, Manziel would be the favorite for the Browns starting job, we probably would have moved him up. His current ADP is actually #17 for quarterbacks which is certainly too high. But I think cutting the difference, which moves him up to 23rd or 24th, is fair. He’s still not an ideal fantasy backup, but as a late round flier? Sure!

Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams (Magazine Ranks – 28 + 42) – When the magazine went to print, David Wilson (ranked 48th by us) was still very much in the picture. Sadly, the supremely talented Wilson was forced into early retirement due to his neck injuries. I could go on and on about how good Wilson could have been, but that would be outside the scope of this article. Jennings and Williams both stand to benefit from Wilson’s departure. And both looked particularly good in New York’s first preseason game. Jennings’ ADP (#18 for RBs) has jumped almost a full round just in the last week while Williams’ (41st for RBs) is just starting to climb. At this point, the current ADP for Jennings feels about right. I think Williams could climb even further as a host of other rookies with cloudier situations continue to sit ahead of him. I’d bump Williams up into the 30’s as a high-ceiling player who looks to be in line for 100-150 carries if Jennings stays healthy for 16 games, which hasn’t been his strong suit.

Josh Gordon (Magazine Rank – Unranked) – Sorry Cleveland fans. We didn’t really believe. Gordon was seemingly facing a year long suspension before he was involved in another traffic stop. Obviously, we still have no idea where this soap opera ends. As the World Turns with Josh Gordon has surprisingly headed towards a friendlier conclusion than any of us really thought possible just months ago. The latest information seems to suggest the phenom might “only” be facing an eight game ban. That’s not good, exactly, but having Gordon for a fantasy playoff run could be a difference maker. The problem, of course, is getting to the fantasy playoffs with dead roster weight for eight games. It’s no easy trick. Gordon’s ADP has gone from off the chart to #43 for wide outs, just behind Tavon Austin! I am still not quite that high on Gordon, at least not until we know for sure it’s just a half-season absence for him. Right now, I’d take him around 48th or so, but he definitely needs to be on the radar now.

Jordan Reed (Magazine Rank – 17) – Of all the rankings in this year’s publication (600+!!!!), this is the one I think we just missed on, myself included! Reed’s 2013 was quietly really great. He was on pace for nearly 1,000 yards, something only Mike Ditka has done as a rookie in NFL history. IN NFL HISTORY. That’s pretty great for a player that wasn’t really on many radars last preseason. Of course, the concussions are a major problem and Reed stands as a fairly high injury risk. But at tight end, his current ADP (#7 for TE’s) is closer to being right than our ranking was. Consider this my personal mea culpa!

Why the Washington Football Team Should Adopt a New Team Name.

I have no doubt that for many the use of the Washington NFL team’s nickname is meant to be an honor. My objection to the name is simple. There are many Native American tribes and groups who are opposed to all uses of Native American imagery and reference for non-Native American sports teams. There are many individuals of Native American descent who are similarly opposed and have said so publicly.

I’m aware that many other Native Americans say they’re proud of the names and teams, and I’m certain the reason there is a debate now is because of this ambivalence within the community.

But what I hear in the objection is more personal and moving than is the support. Many people find the use of the nickname painful and demeaning and would like it to stop. In 1972 the Stanford sports teams stopped using Indian imagery and references for their team names. My favorite college, St. Johns, stopped using the team name Redmen years ago, as have many other teams at every level in the US and Canada.

They’ve done this out of respect for the Native Americans who have objected, who have said that using the names is disrespectful and hurtful. For me, that’s the side I want to be on.

okflagvignetteOne thing I learned from this discussion was that the state name Oklahoma is a combination of two Choctaw words that add up to mean Red People. The funny thing about this is that the state is proud of its Indian heritage, and features on its shield five flags, each representing one of the major Native American tribes that reside there.

I say funny, because these five tribes, the Creeks, Choctaw, Seminoles (isn’t that the name of a Florida football team?), Chickasaw and Cherokee were forcibly resettled in the state. Not, I’m assuming, because of its bountiful natural resources. There’s a reason this forcible relocation from their homes in the southeastern part of the US, in a devastating march west, is called the Trail of Tears.

This is a heritage all of us live with, even if many of us don’t think about it all that often. Which is why I listen when I’m reminded  of it, especially by people whose personal history has been so starkly and dramatically colored by it. For me, if our continued use of their caricatures on our sports teams is painful, it is time to stop.

In any case, I hoped to provoke discussion and thought about the use of Native American names and imagery by omitting the Washington team’s name from the Guide, and I appreciate the letters from those who have objected to it, as well as those who’ve spoken out in support. If we continue to discuss and argue about the real issues here, I’m sure we’ll eventually come to a proper resolution.

Two Readers Speak: Here’s Why Rotoman is Wrong About the Washington Football Team’s Name

I’ve received a handful of letters from people who either didn’t buy the Fantasy Football Guide 2014 or wished they hadn’t bought it because of a short statement in the Letter From the Editor explaining why we weren’t publishing the Washington football team’s nickname in the magazine. But none of them explained to me why they thought the team name should be kept. Now two have.

Raj wrote, after I wrote to him explaining more about my position:

“Does the NFL have any franchises called the Ballerinas or the Butterflies? No. To the franchise and to the fans, the name Redskins pays homage to the courage, strength and perseverance that native Americans represented in the past and what the players and fans cloak themselves with every time they don Redskins apparel. Today, the logo and name represent strength and honor and also has bonds to championship franchises……the pinnacle of achievement in the NFL. The term Redskins and everything associated with the logo represent pride and dedication and we should realize that nobody is looking to denigrate native Americans when they wear the colors or the logo.

Also, I think your magazine needs to realize that the National Football League is a multi billion dollar industry and that you earn your living from one of its very lucrative spin offs. If you choose to profit from the behemoth that is the NFL, then you should have respect for the entity and its franchises. If you choose to protest, that is great, but when you are giving content based on factual data, you should be mindful of the fact that the proper name of the National Football League franchise in the city of Washington DC is the Washington Redskins.

In case you didn’t know, the National Hockey League has a franchise called the Canucks. Canuck was originally a derogatory term given to Canadians by ignorant Americans. The franchise uses the nickname now but has attached strength, courage and perseverance to it too.”

And A Passionate NFL Fan writes:

“I would just like to take this time to say I regret purchasing this years copy of your magazine. I quickly realized you decided to remove the proud Redskin name from its pages. It shows just how uninformed and uneducated you guys are in regard to the name. You fail to recognize the word was created by Native Americans themselves in an effort to differentiate themselves from Caucasians and African Americans. You fail to recognize the current team logo was created by Native Americans. You fail to recognize that the majority of Native Americans are proud of the name. You fail to recognize many high schools and colleges throughout Oklahoma still proudly use the Redskin team name. How about the word Oklahoma which literally translates to “red people.” Should we change the name of our states too? You fail to recognize that the word “Redskin” has a new contemporary meaning. And you fail to recognize that there are fans all over the world that worship the Washington Redskins and in doing so respect Native Americans.

But since you guys at rotoworld are so compassionate and it seems like you want to help Native Americans why don’t you actually do something about it? Why don’t you help them get electricity, running water, roofs over their heads. What is your goal by removing the name from your pages? You literally have fixed nothing. With minimal research you would find Native Americans have much bigger problems than the name of a football team. If you care so much, why don’t you do something that will actually help. Instead you were lazy and came off as uneducated.

It is evident in the issue your brand has very little knowledge of the word Redskin.

A Passionate NFL fan”

Thanks for writing guys.

TELL ROTOMAN: Stay Out of Politics, Write About What You Know.

Dear Rotoman,

After reading your letter from the editor regarding the Washington REDSKINS I put your magazine back on the rack. Stick to what you know and please quit with the politics.


Dear Mark:

Thanks for the respect.

I didn’t realize so many people read my Letter From the Editor before buying the Guide. I’m glad to hear it. I’ve always tried in the Letter to introduce readers to the creators of the magazine and what they’re thinking, introduce new ideas, and promote the idea of the fantasy community, by which I mean the ways that playing this game together promotes fellowship, sportsmanship and creative good-natured smack, because it is a social game. We play it together.

Now I fear that those of you who are taking offense at my Letter this year are making it seem like I went on some crazy rant about the Washington football team’s name. So to be clear, about halfway through the letter, after some stuff about the way the fantasy games have taken hold in ways we didn’t expect 20 years ago, I wrote this:

“What we have seen far more than half of is the debate about the team name used by the Washington football team. While the team’s owner, Daniel Snyder, and the NFL resist, they are being swallowed up by a rising tide of criticism. The name is simply and directly offensive, it always has been to anyone who has given any thought to it, and this is increasingly obvious as the once disenfranchised gain stronger voices. The list of groups and individuals who think Snyder should change the name is long and the arguments in favor of keeping the name don’t pass the smell test.

redskins+logo+petaOne of the best arguments in favor is an old idea, a misdirection like the Statue of Liberty play. The team, it was suggested some 20 years ago, should keep the Redskins name but change their logo to a potato. PETA, of all organizations, created sample artwork.

If Snyder doesn’t bite on that he’s making a big mistake.

While putting together this year’s Guide, we started talking about taking unilateral action. We can’t control what Snyder does, but we can control what we do. So this year your Fantasy Football Guide isn’t using the Washington team name. We’re leaving it out. We suspect you won’t miss it.

And if you do, we hope you’ll otherwise enjoy this year’s issue and it helps you make many victories over friends, old and new.”

I’m still waiting for someone to explain how the name is not offensive, and why it should be retained. I’ll publish their comments if someone steps up.


LINK: The Power of PR

Screenshot 2014-07-30 00.42.11Josh Levin and Jeremy Stahl at Slate do some sleuthing about a website that has popped up that presents itself as the work of former Redskins players, but is actually (apparently) the work of the PR firm Burson-Marsteller.

Which is fine. I could list all of Burson-Marsteller’s heinous clients and former clients, as a way to cast doubt on this enterprise, but that’s the way PR works. Those who want to shape public opinion hire experts to create arguments that appeal to regular folks, whose regular voices resonate more widely than regular advertising or political graft might. Or give ideas authenticity, at least. And I’m sure BR also has some non-heinous and virtuous clients.

It is not unreasonable, of course, for people to question the veracity of claims made by those buying ad and airspace trying to shape public opinion. We all should. There’s no smoking gun here, no defining moment of cynicism, but rather an example of how far people who have money will sometimes go to try and sway the world to their opinion.

The story also links to a Washington Post story from last November about William “Lone Star” Dietz, the legendary coach for whom the team was named. If you’re interested in this issue it is a must read, since it clearly lays out the evidence about whether or not Dietz was actually a Sioux, as he claimed his entire adult life.

And it also raises the question of whether that matters. If Dietz was able to make everyone think he was a Native American (well, one fourth), and advocated for Indian rights and respect throughout his life, wasn’t it a sign of respect (as claimed) when team owner George Preston Marshall named the team in his honor?

Read the story to come to your own conclusion about that. Then we have to decide whether, even if that was the intent (then), that matters now.





DEAR ROTOMAN: I Love the Washington Football Team’s Name Too Much to Buy The Fantasy Football Guide 2014!

Screenshot 2014-07-27 18.58.42The Fantasy Football Guide 2014 appeared in stores last week, just as it has each of the past 15 Julys. It was also the week that my trusty but aging computer managed to breath its last.

Now replaced, the email flows, including this letter that reminds me that in this year’s Guide we wrote about the Washington football team. I’ll let the writer explain:

I had your magazine in my hand, ready to buy it, like I’ve done for the past 15 years. Until I saw your Letter from the Editor.

I am buying your publication for football fact and insight, not mindless politically correct, cattle following opinions. When I see someone with other than white skin complaining then maybe I’ll look up and listen. The courts will rightly give back their trademark for all the obvious reasons.

Until then, I’ll get my info elsewhere from more astute and football passionate people. I put your rag back on the shelf.

The most ardent Giant fan there is

Now, I bristle a little about the claim that political correctness is the reason reasonable people want to do the right thing. And while there certainly are times political orthodoxy has led to idiotic extremes, there are a lot of times that wanting to do the right thing leads to doing the right thing, once enough people turn political correctness into political power.

redskins+logo+petaI’m not rabid about the Washington football team’s name. I don’t think Daniel Snyder means to be racist or offensive, but it is clearly offensive to a broad swath of Native American people, and the idea that it originated as a tribute is fairly laughable. Read this story by the Washington CBS affiliate to the end to understand why, as well as to see how the name is acceptable in some Native American communities.

Comparisons to the N-word in its defense are not a winning argument. Suggestions to change the logo to that of a potato with the same name got my support in the Guide, by the way. Artwork by PETA.

Those who read the Fantasy Guides and this blog and my posts on Twitter (@kroyte) and Facebook (PeterKreutzer) know that I think discussion changes minds. Me telling you something might get you to put the magazine back on the rack, but my hope is if you and I get to talking we’ll each gain a better understanding. Together we might get to a better idea.

So please write if you disagree, let me know why, and give my arguments as much of a shot as I give yours. In Mike’s case, his main point was that my point was pointless because I’m a slave to a political view that has no Native American supporters.

I wrote to him:

Dear Mike,

Thanks for writing. I think there are more than a few people with other than white skins who are complaining, which is why the tongue in cheek suggestion that the Redskins refer to potatoes seemed to me like a light-hearted way to comment on this situation.

Clearly you disagree, and I’m sorry about that, since the editorial content of the magazine is exactly the same as it has always been. One word has been excised, and the editor explained why he thought that was a good idea.

Have a great season. We will miss you.