- - Monday, August 25, 2014

We’ve been hearing about the talented, young gunslinging quarterback out of Texas A&M for quite awhile. The NFL pre-season is the most torturous part of the professional football season. It’s awful. It’s usually boring, but if you’re a diehard fan you’ll watch any football you can to escape Obama’s reality. But last week, the Cleveland Browns rookie–Johnny Manziel–found a way to end an otherwise poor performance with a memorable bang. The Washington Redskins bench was giving the rookie a little jazz (which he mostly deserved) and Manziel decided to use sign language to communicate his answer…a middle finger.

As you probably have known since he was drafted 22nd overall in this year’s NFL draft, the whole sports world is down on Johnny Manziel. He’s obviously not ready to start, and as of this writing will begin the 2014 season as a backup. He should be poised under pressure, while remaining fiery. His middle finger however, should be pointed at the broadcast booth.

It’s good to see a little passion. A little attitude. It made another boring pre-season game fun for about three seconds. I can officially say I’m pro-middle finger. But he chose the wrong target, and I say that as a Philadelphia Eagles fan. I’m not usually in the business to defend the Washington Redskins, but here I am sticking up for Desean Jackson and company.

Johnny Football tried to be the big swinging man last week. He used a tried and true form of communicating intense emotion. As a Philadelphia sports fan, I actually believe in teaching all NFL fans and players how to flip people off correctly. Manziel did just fine. You should bend the first and third fingers tightly at the first knuckle creating a 90 degree bend while extending the communicative finger straight and true. Some younger football fans will bend the first and third with their thumb if you don’t teach them right…that method looks soft and takes all the punch you want to convey right out of it. The receiver of the gesture must be made to feel like they’re number one.

I only wish Manziel could have extended his finger towards former NY Giants quarterback, turned CBS broadcaster Phil Simms. Recently, Simms told the Associated Press that when he covers the Redskins in week 4 of the NFL season he won’t call them the “Redskins“…he’ll just call them “Washington.” What a bunch of linguine-spined garbage. Maybe he should call “the Giants”, his former team, “the Punies” so he doesn’t offend people who are forced to shop in Big & Tall stores.

I was happy to see a real man come out and talk about this very subject. Former NFL great Mike Ditka called the entire ordeal “stupid” and “appalling. He continued, “what’s all the stink over the Redskin name? It’s so much horse sh*t it’s incredible. We’re going to let the liberals of the world run this world. It was said out of reverence, out of pride to the American Indian.” Ditka quipped.

Yeah that’s right. Ditka is a Hall of Famer who used to look for people to hit. The kind of guy that would lead with his face, not slide feet first or runaway…like a quarterback.

I can’t trash all the former quarterbacks now up in the booth… because former Dallas Cowboy turned broadcaster for Fox, Troy Aikman recently said, “As long as their nickname is the Redskins. I’ll continue to call them the Redskins.” Now according to NBC’s Bob Costas…Ditka and Aikman are racists perpetuating an archaic term and promoting divisive slurs. Really Bob? Perhaps we should now call the Washington Redskins, the Washington Elizabeth Warrens?

Iron Mike Ditka has it right. This politically correct attack on pro-sports has got to go. Johnny Manziel got fined about $12,000 for raising his middle finger. Oh my! How horrible. Good thing he didn’t make a Michael Sam joke, the fine would have tripled. The PC police have been gunning for the NFL for quite awhile and the last couple years they’ve gained some ground. When the NFL got rid of Hank Williams Jr. for speaking his mind, I knew we were on the slippery slope. What did they expect him to say? He’s Hank…he’s rowdy and he’s ready for some football! Sometimes that makes you say things that are outrageous to the weak-kneed liberals of our world. He’s there to sing…not run everything by the Politburo.

Now with the Redskins name controversy and this finger business, I’m starting to worry that they really will ruin one of the best games ever played be real men. Maybe they should run a disclaimer before every game stating that this sport is violent and noisy? Someone may get hurt. Someone might say something offensive or use a form of non-verbal communication to express displeasure. Attention viewers, anger is often displayed and applauded. Would that do the trick? Would that protect the turtleneck-wearing lefties that are all upset about everything? I doubt it. But if you can, just be kind to remind them, they really are number one.

A.J. Rice is the President and CEO of Publius Productions Inc., a boutique public relations and radio consultation firm, and a former radio producer for several national programs.