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D.C. media gets worked up over McNabb wristband report


On Thursday, our friends at 106.7 the Fan in D.C. (and we can now count all of the daytime hosts as friends, since we buried the hatchet with Mike Wise at the Super Bowl) reported that Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb refused to wear a wristband listing the team’s plays in 2010, because doing so would be “bad for my image.”  The report came from the station’s morning show, The Sports Junkies, whose executive producer, Bret Oliverio, is my cousin by marriage.  (I felt compelled to disclose that relationship since, as you’ll see, I believe that the Junkies’ report is accurate.)

Despite a characterization by Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post that it was nothing more than “some radio dialog between two of the Junkies,” the Junkies reported it as hard news and they stand behind it as hard news.  So regardless of whether the words were uttered verbally or printed on fish wrap, the Junkies cited multiple sources, and they stuck their necks out in support of the report.

Predictably, the report has spawned a flurry of activity, undoubtedly fueled at least at some level by savvy and skilled Redskins P.R. guru Tony Wyllie.  Steinberg has produced a solid chronicle of the various developments.

Chris Russell of ESPN 980 — a radio station owned by Redskins owner Daniel Snyder — reported that he “[t]alked to 5 people that are close enough to know about McNabb refusing to wear a play-calling wrist band” and that “[a]ll say never saw it/no knowledge….FWIW, Donovan McNabb wishes not to speak 4 right now on the Hopkins matter or the wristband allegations.  Not much needs 2 be said.”  (Of course, McNabb’s agent has since spoken on the Hopkins situation, but not on the wristband ruckus.)

Even though Russell’s report falls a bit short of being an absolute, unequivocal statement that the wristband incident didn’t happen, it would be naive not to at least wonder whether Russell’s report originated with Wyllie and team sources he gathered to provide Russell the party line.  That same thinking applies, to a degree, when considering the report from CSN Washington’s Kelli Johnson, who cites a team source with knowledge of the situation in support of the notion that McNabb didn’t wear a wristband, because he wasn’t asked to wear a wristband.

To make the situation even more intriguing, CSN Washington’s Rich Tandler posted in the comments to his blog entry on the original story his own views regarding the validity of the Junkies’ report:  “I’m about 99% confident that the wristband story is true.”

Frankly, so are we.  With the Redskins surely holding out hope to get trade value for McNabb, the Redskins can’t afford to have potential trade partners feeling even more skittish about sending anything other than a conditional seventh-round pick to D.C. for the rights to Donovan.  And so the team had every incentive to point the P.R. machine in some direction other than justifying Snyder’s decision to sue The City Paper for defamation.

From McNabb’s standpoint, the decision of his agent to address the Bernard Hopkins brouhaha and not to address the wristband issue suggests either that the report is accurate, or that McNabb has no desire to do or say anything that would give the Redskins the ability to trade him.  (Or both.)  McNabb wants to be cut, sooner rather than later; anything that would make him less attractive on the trade market could get the Redskins to realize that they shouldn’t even bother to try to trade him.

Of course, McNabb at some level should be worried about the impact of such reports on a team’s willingness to sign him and to pay him.  But McNabb’s immediate challenge is to get out of Washington as quickly as possible.  He’ll worry about disputing the wristband report later.  And we predict that, once he gets his release from the Redskins, he will.

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44 Responses to “D.C. media gets worked up over McNabb wristband report”
  1. carlgerbschmidt says: May 13, 2011 10:38 AM

    I bet he won’t mind wearing the wristband if he comes to Minny. They can give him TJack’s, it only has 7 plays so you can hardly see it. Nobody will know he is wearing it. Welcome to Minny, Donovan!

  2. mick730 says: May 13, 2011 10:47 AM

    Can somebody explain why it is that a guy like McNabb gets so many nasty personal shots taken at him, year in and year out? This wrist band story is strange, but the one a few days ago about him not being black enough was f’d up.

    I’m not a fan of the Eagles, I’m a Packers fan, so I’ve never followed that team closely other than when they play the Packers and McNabb has always seemed to give Green Bay fits, even last year when he was with the Skins. To me, he always seemed like a class act. Is there something I’ve been missing?

  3. jobotjones says: May 13, 2011 10:50 AM

    This reminds me of the movie White Men Can’t Jump: a guy like McNabb would rather look good and lose than look bad and win…

  4. Play Football Will You Already????? says: May 13, 2011 10:50 AM

    Well I am sure there is about as much to this story as there was to the one about Obama’s birth certificate? Perhaps the Patriots secretly taped the practice at which Mr. McNabb vigoriously refused to wear said wristband ? Maybe if Daniel Snyder had tucked a 100 dollar bill in the wristband Mr. McNabb would have brandished it proudly? Why isn’t Warren Moon ready to jump up and down and pitch a hissy fit about this story ?

  5. nashvilletrojan says: May 13, 2011 10:57 AM

    Methinks a McNabb for Vince Young trade would be ideal. Donovan would be perfect to tutor Jake Locker the next 2 years.

  6. calzone21411 says: May 13, 2011 11:00 AM

    Hopefully McNabb leaves D.C…and oh yeah, take Shanahan and Snyder with you please. Let the dysfunction continue!

  7. itsallaboutmee says: May 13, 2011 11:03 AM

    “Predictably, the report has spawned a flurry of activity, undoubtedly fueled at least at some level by savvy and skilled Redskins P.R. guru Tony Wyllie. ”


    Thats funny!

    This is the guy (Wyllie) that advised Snyder to wage war with a writer whose work (including the piece that offended/hit too close to home to the midget owner) no one ever noticed until he sued him. So the “guru” took an old story that had basically run it’s course (and been read by about 100 people in DC) and pumped new life into it. Now it has been read by millions and it’s author a cause celebre.

    Savvy and skilled? More likely clueless and lost.

  8. jamaltimore says: May 13, 2011 11:03 AM

    Not really a Donnie Fan but the way DC has done him is totally wrong. He was a consistent winner before he came to town with the Rat and beltbuckle boy telling fans he was the savior to the upcoming season. Quickly he became the punching bag for an organization that was terrible before he got there and JUST as terrible with him there. I can still here the rat saying donnie is the same age as elway was when he went on his superbowl run! What a joke and what an obvious error in judgement, AGAIN, by the WORST TALENT EVALUATOR”S IN THE NFL!

    I feel sorry for the redskins fans who follow this trainwreck but the organization deserves nothing more than 4-12 every year! FAIL!

  9. garkeith says: May 13, 2011 11:07 AM

    I don’t care I still think Mcnabb is a good player. Wristband or no wristband.

  10. j0esixpack says: May 13, 2011 11:11 AM

    Tom Brady and other top tier QBs have their wristband playlists that they refer to all the time.

    No one questions’ their skills or intelligence.

    The only reason to question McNabb’s is due to his unwillingness to wear it.

  11. orakpowned says: May 13, 2011 11:11 AM

    rather hear more on our d-bag owner yelling at a super bowl winning coach. besides not like a wristband would help any the o-line was/is terrible except for Trent, Good luck Beck

  12. flapjackdaddy says: May 13, 2011 11:12 AM


    If you find 7 plays that work, that’s all you need.

    But I get. TJack is a moron.

  13. moochzilla says: May 13, 2011 11:13 AM

    Can someone tell me if my numbers are wrong?

    Based on what has been published the Skins have a $10M option on McNabb that they need to exercise at some point between the start of the league year after week 1) + $2.5M in salary.

    And now, if that is true, I continue to wonder why anyone sees a trade as discussion-worthy.

    Who, exactly, is going to trade for that contract?

    Seems to me there are only 3 scenarios…

    1) Skins decline the option, McNabb becomes a UFA

    2) Skins re-work the deal and move McNabb

    3) Skins deal McNabb and the existing contract

    I can only imagine scenario #1 happening.

    McNabb will never allow that contract to be re-worked (#2), as he’d lose money and flexibility. Even Fletcher “Masta P” Smith must see that.

    And no one would ever take on that deal for what is, at best, a bridge to a younger QB. $12.5M is too much for that kind of role.

    So how, exactly, do the Skins work out any kind of deal whatsoever if all this is true?

  14. jbcommonsense says: May 13, 2011 11:15 AM

    The reasoning of this post is backward. By choosing not to discuss the wristband issue publicly, he can present his position with any GM later, privately, when necessary. The agent’s statement about Hopkins’ blather actually promoted McNabb, so why wait?

  15. steelerlady43 says: May 13, 2011 11:17 AM

    3 stories about McNabb…..just weird.

  16. spungy says: May 13, 2011 11:18 AM

    Come to Cincinnati. We can just tape the plays to Kyle Cook’s backside.

  17. zar21 says: May 13, 2011 11:25 AM

    Espn 980 is owned by Dan Snyder and chris russel is one of dannys tools. Don’t trust anything they say its lie.

  18. 3yardsndust says: May 13, 2011 11:30 AM

    Can you imagine if the Redskins signed a franchise QB with the guts, grit, and mad skills to will his team to victory even in the most difficult (“the drive”) circumstances? Can you imagine them with a mauling O line so nasty the running back doesn’t get hit until 10 yards past the line? Can you…oh just kidding. The numbnuts that owns the Skins can’t figure out how to build even the most basic team: every year it’s an overpriced has-been star or a new coach with a sparkly new plan. The Redskins define mediocrity.

  19. thephantomstranger says: May 13, 2011 11:33 AM

    I’m sure Donovan McNabb is a nice guy and he’s been an above-average quarterback throughout his career. Nevertheless, I think we all have to admit that Rush Limbaugh was right. This guy was overrated from the beginning and people didn’t start noticing until the last couple years.

  20. myeaglescantwin says: May 13, 2011 11:38 AM

    wow.. i cant believe the eagles made that trade in their own division.!

    its so obvious that McNabb is a top 5 hall of fame QB .. one that never creates drama in the media.

    what were they thinkin !!!!!!!!!

  21. docredskin says: May 13, 2011 11:40 AM

    The only reason it makes sense for McNabb to redo his deal is that the Redskins could hold onto him until the day before the season begins and then he’d have no job options available.

  22. tonyalexander says: May 13, 2011 11:41 AM

    When did “FWIW” become acceptable…

  23. dontcallmepete says: May 13, 2011 11:41 AM

    So Shanahan’s playbook is so much more complicated than Andy Reid’s? The one that McNabb used to beat the brains out of the Redskins for years?

    And you want us to take this seriously?

  24. baddegg says: May 13, 2011 11:43 AM

    Donovan McNabb tried to wear a wristband. But Albert Haynesworth mistook it for a donut and ate it.

    That’s the real story, but the “mainstream media” is keeping it silent!

  25. baddegg says: May 13, 2011 11:46 AM

    Rex Grossman also has a wristband that he wears. Recent leaks out of Washington indicate the specific plays:

    1. Play 1: Drop back, take a hit, fumble.

    2. Play 2: Force ball into double coverage, throw pick.

    3. Play 3: Try to throw, let ball slip out of hand, fumble.

    4. Play 4: Fall down. Fumble.

    5. Play 5: Pick 6

  26. yzguy431 says: May 13, 2011 12:00 PM

    a wristband story? really?

  27. damnskins703 says: May 13, 2011 12:15 PM

    The Junkies is the best sports talk show ever, sorry Chad and Lava l you guys can do is talk about the Skins, thats old now and really being a skins fan I don’t want to hear n e Thu.g about them until the Srason.

  28. melonnhead says: May 13, 2011 12:16 PM

    Forget all that crap, what America really wants to know is does he play golf in the offseason?

  29. damnskins703 says: May 13, 2011 12:16 PM

    The Junkies is the best sports talk show ever, sorry Chad and Lava l you guys can do is talk about the Skins, thats old now and really being a skins fan I don’t want to hear n e Thing about them until the Srason.

  30. weneedlinemen42 says: May 13, 2011 12:17 PM

    There were so many times during the year that you could see Kyle Shanahan making a “wtf is doing” face that it was pretty clear McNabb wasn’t calling the plays that were being sent in.

    The pace of the offense was just all wrong. There were times in Philly when it looked poor, but the tempo McNabb ran the offense with last year was rediculously slow.

    Still, the worst thing was discovering that Eagles fans are actually incredibly patient. People think that they were hard on McNabb, but I cannot believe how much they underplayed the level of frustration all those ground balls cause.

    The Redskins line and receiving corps were very poor last year, but that doesn’t excuse the number of times McNabb missed open receivers, spiking the ball into the turf a yard in front of their feet. Seriously, Eagles fans, how did you cope with that for an entire decade?

  31. laeaglefan says: May 13, 2011 12:22 PM

    The Eagles would have traded McNabb to Dallas if they could have. What a bad joke that would be to play on Jerry Jones!

  32. runtheball says: May 13, 2011 12:28 PM

    mick730 says:
    May 13, 2011 10:47 AM
    Can somebody explain why it is that a guy like McNabb gets so many nasty personal shots taken at him, year in and year out? This wrist band story is strange, but the one a few days ago about him not being black enough was f’d up.

    The reason is that he is an average QB at best that had some succcess in an extremely simplified offense, yet the media tries to trumpet him as an elite franchise QB because of his skin color and their disdain for Rush Limbaugh and the comments he made.

    The not black enough comments are the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

    I do give McNabb credit for having the career he had coming out of an option offense in college, but he was a waste of a first round pick. You can find a guy like that and devlop him in the 4th or 5th round.

  33. boysroll says: May 13, 2011 12:28 PM

    this org gets the most soap opera style reports month to month….seriously? it is the biggest joke in the nfl.

    Mcnabb and haynesworth stories are pretty comical though.

    I love the way rat boy owner bought ESPN radio station for the 4skins and controls all the info coming out of that station. Sue newspaper’s that report a factual column and control the air waves…Talk about a thinned skinned weasel wonder boy. This org is doomed for as long as he is the owner….


  34. Land Snark says: May 13, 2011 12:29 PM

    McNabb must feel like that old Charlie Brown song, “Why’s everybody always pickin’ on me?”

  35. opiedamus says: May 13, 2011 12:45 PM

    “whose executive producer, Bret Oliverio, is my cousin by marriage.” — MF: is he happy that you outed him?!?

    I think you guys are looking @ this all wrong. DNabb has been exceptionally skilled at turning whatever the controversary might be into real dollars into his bank account. The last 2 examples:

    1) Benched for Kolb turned into a sweet bonus and redone contract.
    2) a trade to the ‘Skins who gave him a sweet bonus and a redone contract.
    3) Soon to happen, cut in Washington, sign with whoever he likes for a sweet bonus and a redone contract.

    This guy is better than Trump in doing deals. You gotta respect his business accumen! Don’t hate the playa, hate the game….and this lockout is causing me to really hate the game!!

  36. rcastagna says: May 13, 2011 12:59 PM

    McNabb is/was over-rated. Now he’s just stubborn and proud. Sad, sad man. Worthless and washed-up.

    Time to do more pizza commercials. At least he’ll be doing something he’s familiar with – lying flat on his back.

  37. moochzilla says: May 13, 2011 1:02 PM


    Thanks – excellent point, and since they don’t care about the negative PR they’ll likely pursue that option.

    What an awful contract for McNabb to have signed. How he keeps that “agent” is beyond me.

  38. drbob117 says: May 13, 2011 1:20 PM

    @mick730: Looking at it from the standpoint of McNabb is a class guy for the most part, you’re not missing anything. As an Eagles fan, I can tell you as someone who saw him play here for 11 years that he was involved in numerous charities and was a good guy. I agree with you that Hopkins rants about him not being black enough are stupid and mostly embarrassing to Hopkins more than McNabb. However, I totally believe the wristband story. McNabb has had issues with fundamental parts of the game, such as time management and knowing OT rules. My personal fave is the way he likes to complete passes inside the field of play (inside the 5 yard line) when there is less than 7 seconds left in a half and the Birds have no TOs remaining, as opposed to throwing everything in the end zone so that the clock doesn’t expire with a guy getting tackled at the 2 yard line.He also uses TO’s poorly, often in the first quarter, because he may not be prepared for a certain defensive set, or complex offensive grouping that would surely be in the playbook. I said “for the most part” above because he doesn’t respond well to criticism that he screws these things up, usually choosing to deflect the blame by saying “it’s a team game” or “the whole offense has to do better” when the mistake is clearly his fault. I don’t know much about Shanahan’s coaching style, but he seems like he is less patient than Reid about simple mistakes, and probably got to the point where he asked the guy to wear a wristband hoping there would be less errors. McNabb probably bristled because, again, he doesn’t like it when people imply that he makes mistakes, and let’s face it , most fans would look at a wristband as sort of a crutch to prevent making dumb errors.

  39. drbob117 says: May 13, 2011 1:34 PM

    @weneedlinemen42: Diehard Eagles fan here. We called them “worm killers” and knew there would be at least 5 in every game. As for the question you ended with, he was accurate early in his career with deep balls 20-30 yards downfield, so we just assumed that missing all those easy short 5 yard passes was something he could easily fix, by say, the second or third year of his career. Well, 5 years later he was still doing it, 10 years later he was still doing it ( he would get booed almost everytime he did it after the first few years) and before you know it, it was a decade later and finally you Skins fans were stuck watching him do that every week.

  40. gotitan says: May 13, 2011 2:01 PM


    I almost threw up my lunch at your post. You’ve got to be kidding me. I nearly threw up my lunch when I read your post. That isn’t a fix for the Titans at all! It would simply be more of the same!

  41. philyeagles5 says: May 13, 2011 2:09 PM

    mick730 says: May 13, 2011 10:47 AM

    Can somebody explain why it is that a guy like McNabb gets so many nasty personal shots taken at him, year in and year out? This wrist band story is strange, but the one a few days ago about him not being black enough was f’d up.

    I’m not a fan of the Eagles, I’m a Packers fan, so I’ve never followed that team closely other than when they play the Packers and McNabb has always seemed to give Green Bay fits, even last year when he was with the Skins. To me, he always seemed like a class act. Is there something I’ve been missing?

    no youre not missing anything. as an eagles fan, i can say he was always a class act. hate to bring race into it, but he seems to be everyones target when it comes to black quarterbacks.

    and hopkins is just an idiot.

  42. thefiesty1 says: May 13, 2011 6:37 PM

    Snyder can afford $12.5 million. Pocket change for him. If they don’t get Vince Young as soon as he’s available they are more stupid than I thought. 35-17 is a lot better than continuing to go 4-12 every year.

  43. VonClausewitz says: May 13, 2011 8:55 PM

    You should write Spy novels. This is one of the most second-guessing pieces I’ve read here in a while.

  44. MichaelEdits says: May 13, 2011 11:14 PM

    I never comment on PFT stories. It’s bad for my image.

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