There’s a mysterious anti-hero in the Redskins’ realm these days, a guy who goes only by the name of “Boudreaux from Northern Virginia.” Boudreaux’s brutally accurate, Bardlike tirades about the 4-10 team’s sorry state have become the highlight of local sports-radio call-in shows. This negativity, precise as it may be, has not been well received by listeners who are only comfortable with niceties when it comes to the burgundy-and-gold. But he has definitely gotten D.C.’s attention.
“The man has a way of stirring things up,” laughs former Skins lineman Jeff Bostic, the homer host for the official postgame show of the Redskins radio network—heard locally on WJFK (106.7 FM). “He’s got some opinions, and he knows how to deliver them. Who else is going to take the trouble to write a poem for our show after every Redskins loss? He’s become a real ‘legend in his spare time.’ I definitely would like to meet this Boudreaux.”
What’s got Bostic and his audience so riled up? Well, eavesdrop on some of Boudreaux’s salient seasonal analysis, like his deft summation of Coach Norv Turner’s habitual late-game misses and Teflon tendencies: “You take ‘if,’ ‘the future,’ and ‘rebuilding’ out of Norv Turner’s vocabulary, and the guy would be mute! The team loses in the last two minutes every week because that’s not enough future for him! He needs next week, next draft, next season to be successful! When he says the Redskins are ‘improving,’ he must mean the team is getting closer and closer to securing the first pick in next year’s draft! And how come when the Cardinals lose, it’s certainly Buddy Ryan’s fault, and when the Dolphins lose, it’s Shula’s fault, but losing here is never Turner’s fault? When the Skins beat Dallas, he gets the credit! Turner is so intent on copying what he had in Dallas that he keeps describing Shuler as his Troy Aikman, Westbrook as his Michael Irvin, and Jamie Asher as his Jay Novacek. Hell, what the team needs is somebody to be its Jimmy Johnson!”
Check out Boudreaux’s take on the owner’s latest construction project: “That new stadium is nothing but a headstone for Jack Kent Cooke! He’s just another fossil for Wilson Farm! Why do people let him get away with that crap about him needing another stadium? Screw that millionaire.”
How about the general manager? “The guy who broke Barings Bank, one of the richest financial institutions in the world, got two-and-a-half years in jail for what he did. My god, what sentence does Charley Casserly deserve for the crimes he’s committed?”
And mentioning Heath Shuler to Boudreaux is like arming a cherry bomb—just light the fuse and get the hell out of the away: “Wake up, Washington! Heathen Shuler is a fraud being perpetrated on the people of this area! He’s Norv Turner’s choice, the blue blood from an Ivy League of college football! Gus is from the other side of the tracks, and the way he’s getting treated is sickening! It’s like watching the kid in Little League who has to sit on the bench while the coach’s son gets to pitch! Turner keeps telling us what a great athlete Heathen Shuler is, and that that’s why he’s playing! Well, [Skins DB] Muhammed Oliver is a world-class decathlete, isn’t he? If athleticism is the standard, why the hell doesn’t the team let Oliver play quarterback? Turner is always telling everybody to remember that Shuler high-jumped 6-foot-10 in high school. I guess we better throw some sawdust in the end zone and put up a high-bar up at the goal line, ’cause Heathen sure as hell can’t get in the end zone running or throwing the ball! He’s a fraud! Why won’t people wake up and admit that Heathen Shuler isn’t good enough to go back to Knoxville right now and start for his college team?”
For the past several weeks, Bostic, who has occasionally been reduced to a punching bag by Boudreaux’s verbal jabs, has devoted large chunks of the two-hour postgame show to imploring his tormentor to come in from the airwaves and make a personal appearance with the host. But Boudreaux has declined the invitations, mainly out of fear that he’ll lose more than his anonymity if he does.
“I’m afraid that people will think I’m some sort of raving, deranged lunatic, some sort of Wild Bill Hagy character,” explains Boudreaux, off-the-air. “I don’t tell any of my friends that I’m the guy who’s making these calls. I guess I don’t want people thinking I spend all my time paying attention to or criticizing the Redskins, because the truth is I don’t.”
Boudreaux’s comments came while watching the Skins-Giants game in a Falls Church bar during an interview arranged through One On One Sports, a Chicago-based talk radio network that he calls most weeknights—WTEM (570 AM) is its D.C. affiliate. His “appearances” on One On One’s overnight show hosted by John Renshaw rarely touch on the Redskins, but they’re just as enthralling as his Skins screeds. On one occasion, Boudreaux delivered a frantic, historically accurate, and minutiae-heavy re-creation of John Brown’s Harper’s Ferry raid, which he brought home with an irony-laden assertion that the greatest legacies of the Civil War are the Blue-Gray and North-South college football all-star games. And after O.J. Simpson’s surreal low-speed chase in the white Bronco, Boudreaux recited a brilliant haiku that ended with a chilling warning to listeners: “Death rides a pale horse!”
“I’ve never met the man, and everything
I know about him comes in five-minute increments,” says Renshaw, speaking
of Boudreaux in the tones that Dennis Hopper used to describe Kurtz in Apocalypse Now. “But I really feel lucky that he calls me. He never comes with a regular sports call, he’s always got some amazing rhyming presentation ready for me. You hear him go into one of those bits, and I start thinking that his brain should
be sliced up and
Boudreaux is anxious about his notoriety in D.C., and he agreed to be interviewed on the condition that he wouldn’t discuss his personal and professional life. He refused to allow his picture to be taken, and wouldn’t even divulge if his radio handle is his real name.
But the anti-fan was willing to explain why he keeps picking up the phone and pushing Bostic’s buttons.
“I call them up because I hate the way the local media just buys into everything the Redskins ownership and management wants them to,” he says, with nary a trace of humor. “I really think the hands-off treatment the team gets here is symptomatic of something bigger, a thing in this country where money and power controls people’s perceptions. Nobody wants to think about the truth. They want to be told what the truth is, and the people telling them have a big investment in the Redskins.’’
Although he wouldn’t admit it, Boudreaux does show signs that he is warming up to, even embracing, his new role. He realizes that he is at his best when the Skins are at their worst. The team held up its end of the bargain against the Giants. Boudreaux lit up like a Ryder truck when New York’s Chris Calloway got behind the Redskins’ shoddy secondary and scored in the final moments of the game to secure Washington’s 10th loss.
“Look at that! Look at that!” he bellowed, pointing to the bar’s TV set. “Stanley Richard ain’t a ‘Sheriff’! He’s an usher! He’s escorting the Giants into the end zone. Hell, if he’s the Sheriff, then internal affairs ought to look into his activities!”
Boudreaux calmed down as the final seconds ticked off the clock, and when the game ended, he excused himself. He realized that he had a job to do. “I guess I gotta go make a call.’’ —Dave McKenna