To: Marion Barry

From: Michael Schaffer

Subject: The Redskins

Item: Last month, the Washington Redskins officially went up for sale.

Item: Last year, the Redskins began playing in a soulless suburb outside of Washington. The people were dismayed.

Item: In a divided city, the Redskins are a unifying force. They are the people’s team.

Item: You are the people’s mayor.

Item: The Redskins are winless so far this season. The people are concerned.

Item: You are leaving your job in January and have announced plans to work for the people from outside the government.

Item: Sports moguls have a way of jerking municipalities around. One exception is Green Bay, Wis., where the people—via the city government—own the team.

Conclusion: The hour is right for your government to buy the Redskins. It’s time to put the people back into the people’s team. What better way to do so than by having you mastermind the effort?

Think about it, Mr. Mayor: By January, it will be too late. That geek Tony Williams wouldn’t know a pulling guard if one ran right over him. And the way the Skins are playing this year, even puny Mr. Bow Tie just might be able to run over them.

That’s where you come in. You swept back into office via an amazing comeback. Its time to have the Burgundy and Gold sweep back into contention on a comeback of their own. You built the greatest political machine D.C. has ever known. Just imagine how easy it’ll be to boss around 11 guys on the gridiron. Your government was the biggest city government in the country—consider what you can do for a defensive line.

Your critics will point out that the last NFL franchise on the block went for over $500 million. In political terms, though, that’s a small price to pay for keeping the area free of another greedy, pampered sports owner. Hell, you’ve spent nearly that much on lousy Department of Human Services contracts. And just imagine the look on Wayne Curry’s face when you tell him Washington’s moving its team back home. Don’t forget to mention how much he’ll have to pay for his box seats.

Take to the airwaves, Mr. Mayor! Demand action! If D.C. bought the team now, you’d be a hero when you left office. And you’d be in a perfect position to demand an appointment to run the team’s affairs after January.

It’s not just you. D.C. is full of civic warriors ready to bring their skills to a new venue. They’ve fought for home rule and statehood. Now they can fight for the Redskins. Here’s a short list of potential appointments:

General manager: Andrew Brimmer. As control board chair, Brimmer was jeered for spending too much money on high-priced outsiders. In football, that’s called free agency! Once he buys up Brett Favre and Barry Sanders, we’ll be unstoppable.

Head coach: Eleanor Holmes Norton. You’d have trouble persuading her to leave Congress, but the Skins once lured Vince Lombardi to D.C. against equally long odds. And, like Lombardi, Norton yells a lot, hates losing, plays rough, and gets a free ride from the media. That’s more than Norv Turner can say.

Special teams coach: Larry Soulsby. The then-police chief once split a rent-subsidized apartment with a police lieutenant in one of the sweetest buildings in town, ostensibly for policing purposes. Now that’s a special team, all right. Just imagine how well his underlings would protect the punter.

Strength and conditioning coach: Rock Newman. He masterminded boxer Riddick Bowe’s rise to fame. Then he put Tony Williams through the paces campaigning east of the river. Running laps through housing projects while shaking hands with potential voters might be a draconian workout, but it worked for Williams, and it’d sure get the Skins off their butts and into shape.

Defensive coordinator: David Watts. If you wanted a license from Watts’ Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, it took months or years. Now imagine trying to get past his defensive 11.

Offensive line coach: Lawrence Guyot. No one’s as good with offensive lines as your longtime supporter, the contentious advisory neighborhood commissioner from Ward 1. He’d have our front five playing like Hogs in no time.

Quarterback: You. So you’re a little older than the NFL average. Big deal! So was Billy Kilmer. You are the situationist par excellence. Anyone who’s seen you size up a room knows you’ll make your reads faster than Dan Marino. After all, who has faced more man-to-man defensive alignments than you? As mayor, you’ve done it all—drop back, roll out, pass, scramble. Now it’s time to bring that magic down to the field.

Come on, Mr. Mayor! A whole city’s waiting for you. The game’s close, and the clock’s ticking—once again, it’s Barry time!CP