- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 28, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

During one of the organized team activities last year, the newcomer to the Washington Redskins was asked if he was surprised at the 100 percent attendance at this particular workout.

“Not really,” he replied. “It’s hard to get everybody here, especially voluntary mini-camps and OTAs and things like that. You usually don’t have everybody here. But so far since I’ve been here April 1, we’ve had great attendance and all the guys have been here, working together and just putting it in.”

And then the newcomer said this: “That’s when Super Bowls and championships are won, in offseasons like this.”

That, though, was when DeSean Jackson was playing for the Washington Redskins. Now, Jackson is playing for another squad — “DeSean Jackson Home Team” — the name of his new reality television show on BET.

And, let’s face it, hanging out with LeBron James at the NBA playoffs and hosting a Los Angeles rap label party should make better programming than practicing with the rest of his teammates at Redskins Park this week. That’s when ratings are won. There will be other OTAs. And, like the man said, it’s hard to get everybody there.

Here’s the playbook for “DeSean Jackson Home Team,” according to Variety: “Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson is at the top of his game as one of the most talked-about and watched players in the NFL today. That means eyes are always on him— waiting for him to score touchdowns and waiting for him to drop the ball off the field. Even though he has the money and the fame, DeSean’s life is actually run by a core group of women including his ‘momager,’ Gayle, his sister and assistant A’Dreea, his publicist Denise and his new girlfriend, Kayla. Produced by Rogue Atlas Productions in association with Lionsgate Television, Eli Frankel, Ryan Holcomb, Elise Duran, DeSean Jackson and Byron Jackson serve as executive producers. Jay Fragus and Lawrence Bell serve as co-executive producers.”

I didn’t see Scot McCloughlan’s or Jay Gruden’s name in there anywhere.
I’d expect to see Jackson’s week of fun show up on his new program, though we don’t know for sure. But if so, he has every right to do so. The confusing and frustrating part of this is that these are called “voluntary” workouts. The concept of these voluntary workouts puts players in difficult positions publicly, such as in cases like this. Jackson had every right to pursue this opportunity — but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.

They may be voluntary, but tell that to the players that did report to Redskins Park this week to take part in the first OTAs under a new general manager, new offensive line coach, new defensive coordinator and new quarterbacks coach. Nearly every Redskin player felt it was important enough to be present and begin the process of “working together and just putting it in,” as Jackson described OTAs last year.

All likely had other places they could be. For one player — even one as accomplished as Jackson — to decide his commitments were more important than theirs is not good for a franchise trying to install a “culture change.”
Yes, the dreaded words “culture change” reared their laughable head again this week at Redskins Park.

Of course, it was Robert Griffin III who uttered the most meaningless words ever spoken in that building when he talked about his relationship with Gruden.

“We look forward to working together to help this team and lead this team in the right direction and create this culture change that we know we need to have,” Griffin told reporters.

Culture change? Not a season seems to go by at Redskins Park where someone doesn’t declare a culture change is underway, only for this team to wind up in the same dark place at the end of the season of culture change.

Culture change? You mean like when one of your most important players skips the first step in the process when “Super Bowls and championships are won?”

• Thom Loverro is co-host of “The Sports Fix,” noon to 2 p.m. daily on ESPN 980 and espn980.com.


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