We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

John Feinstein doesn’t like the way the Redskins complied with the NFL mandate to interview minority candidates before hiring a coach. Feinstein doesn’t believe that Dan Snyder ever really thought Jerry Gray, a black defensive coach who reportedly has interviewed for Jim Zorn‘s job while Zorn still has it, could be a head coach for the Redskins. Gray was already turned down by at least one college, Memphis, before he was used to put the Redskins in compliance with the so-called Rooney Rule.

Feinstein writes:

Gray has as much chance of being the next Redskins coach as Mike Krzyzewski has of being voted Man of the Decade on the campus at the University of Maryland.

Feinstein, while blasting the way the Rooney Rule is administered, takes no position on whether the NFL should adopt the Clooney Rule, the Looney Rule or Soon-Yi Rule.

It’s just a joke! Remember?


Bring Mike Leach to Redskins Park (cont.): Jerry Gray is from Texas Tech, same as Mike Leach, who would have met the criteria for the Looney Rule. Leach got fired yesterday after allegedly mistreating a player. (Hey, Dan Snyder: The greatest offensive mind in the game is still available, 24 hours after his firing! Get him!)

In today’s Washington Post, Sally Jenkins jumps in ahead of the curve and takes up for the deposed coach.

“You can hear the sound of a railroading in Lubbock,” Jenkins writes, “and it’s not coming from the train station.”

Leach had been taking a beating in the mainstream media before Jenkins talked sense here. But when everything comes out, everybody’s going to be on Leach’s side, or every football coach at every level is going to be fired.

Anybody who didn’t love Leach before Craig James got him fired for (allegedly) mistreating the ESPN announcer’s son should love him now. While most folks who have millions of dollars at stake keep their mouths shut about their ex-employers until the last check clears, Leach fired away at the school that John Hinckley made infamous.

(AFTER THE JUMP: Leach calls everybody “liar”? Craig James is the real villain in the Mike Leach Story? Craig James is the real villain in the Washington Federals demise? Awesome Trivia™: Craig James is the last white guy to do what? Annapolis’ own Travis Pastrana’s gonna jump what tonight? Is he crazy? Can the NHL take New Year’s Day from college football? Is the NBA heading for a showdown with Jesus?)

A snippet of Leach’s goodbye-for-now statement:

Over the past several months, there have been individuals in the Texas Tech administration, Board of Regents and booster groups who have dealt in lies, and continue to do so. These lies have led to my firing this morning. I steadfastly refuse to deal in any lies, and am disappointed that I have not been afforded the opportunity for the truth to be known. Texas Tech’s decision to deal in lies and fabricate a story which led to my firing, includes, but is not limited by, the animosity remaining from last year’s contract negotiations. I will not tolerate such retaliatory action; additionally, we will pursue all available legal remedies.

Not that it would excuse real player abuse if he is indeed guilty, but: Leach also pointed out in his letter that Tech has been to bowl games for 10 straight years, and claimed that the school “has the highest graduation rate for football players of any public institution in the country.” (‘Course, the same school gave me a diploma, and I didn’t even buy a book my last year there, so that stat’s worthless.)

The Leach story ain’t going to go away, and when all is said and done, I’d bet real money the villain will be Craig James.

Maybe that’s just a wish. But all you need to know about James to dislike him: His real name is “Jesse James.” DC football fans of a certain age don’t even need to know that to loathe him. They remember James as the guy who more than any other player helped quicken the demise of the Washington Federals of the USFL. He was the Federals top draft pick and marquee player in their inaugural year of 1983. But after one horrible season for James and the team, he used an injury to get out of his contract and move to the NFL. He went to the New England Patriots and immediately became the player he never was in a Federals uniform. Awesome Trivia™ about Craig James: His 1,227 yards rushing in 1985 makes him the last white running back to run for more than 1,000 yards in a season.

By then, the Federals were defunct. Thanks, Craig!

I can think of no better payback to Craig James for what he did to DC than for Dan Snyder to hire Leach as offensive coordinator or something bigger. Leach’s teams score more points during timeouts than the Skins do in whole games.


Like a lot of guys on New Years Eve, Travis Pastrana is gonna get behind the wheel of a car tonight and put his life at risk.

All sorts of sports are claiming holidays as their own. It’s getting like dogs peeing on a patch of grass. Tonight comes the latest example, as motorsports daredevils continue their attempted takeover of New Year’s Eve: Pastrana, Annapolis’ own former motorbike phenom turned suicidal entertainer, will take a long drive off a short peer tonight in Long Beach, hoping to fly a Subaru about 250 feet onto a barge while the television cameras roll. It’s all sponsored by caffeine-pusher Red Bull. Last New Year’s Eve, Robbie Knievel jumped the fiery fountain (or did he?) at the Mirage in Las Vegas before a national TV audience.

America loves the sports/holiday nexus. For most of the last century the whole country linked Memorial Day Weekend and the Indy 500. Football and Thanksgiving have been paired forever, too, first with high schools and then the pros.

And, as college football stupidly let its grip on New Year’s Day slip — the big games won’t be played until next week — hockey steps up and says, “Thank you very much”:  The NHL makes a power-play for New Years Day, promoting the crap out of a Boston Bruins/Philadelphia Flyers game to be played outdoors tomorrow at Fenway Park.

This is the NHL’s third stadium-hosted Winter Classic, and good for Gary Bettman for coming up with an idea that is simultaneously stupid and cool.

But, I see trouble ahead for some sports/holiday pairings. Because America also loves Jesus, here’s a New Year’s 2010 Prediction: The grumbling about the NBA taking Christmas as a day to hypermarket itself is gonna get louder soon. The NBA started putting a marquee matchup or two on Christmas during the Michael Jordan Era, but really kicked its holiday promotion into overdrive this year, with five games telecast nationally this Christmas.

Even some of its own were blasting this year’s tacky tack. “I actually feel sorry for people who have nothing to do on Christmas Day other than watch an NBA game,” Orlando Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy told the Associated Press, in a story that appeared in the Washington Post. Van Gundy’s complaints were about family issues. I bet if the NBA doesn’t tone down its Christmas blowouts, this’ll become a Jesus issue. I can’t wait!

Though, it’s hard to deny that the Christmas games do get basketball attention the game wouldn’t otherwise get. Should the WNBA to plan an Easter Eggstravaganza or somesuch? Looking at my sportswatching calendar, Easter’s still pretty open.


Story tips? Wanna Play the Feud? Tube amps for sale? Send to: cheapseats@washingtoncitypaper.com