If you have been a fan of a team for a long time is it OK to ever switch allegiances to another franchise? If so, when?
That's a question that could be -- and arguably should be -- asked by a lot of Washington Redskins fans in the wake of the team failing to get a log-term deal done by the franchise tag deadline (for the second straight year!) with their starting quarterback Kirk Cousins. And unlike last year, the odds of Cousins and the team ever coming to terms on a long-term contract seem to be minimal at best given the statement that team president Bruce Allen made on Monday (it would help if he could remember his QB's first name).
All of which means that the best quarterback that this franchise has had in 25 years seems poised to leave for greener pastures next March.
If you are a diehard Redskins fan, the news must be devastating. The question now is: What are you going to do about it?
Personally, I don't really believe it is justifiable to switch teams, unless there are extenuating circumstances.
For example, I grew up a huge Eagles fan outside of Philadelphia, but my allegiance immediately went to the Washington Redskins and then the Dallas Cowboys and then all the other teams I played for once I became an NFL player. And although some of my childhood friends had a tough time with it, most people would understand that at that point, my "team" was the team I was actually on. That was who was paying me, the teams helping me to live out my dream of being a professional football player.
Truthfully, at that point my real "team" became me, my family and whatever organization would give me a chance to provide for them; they got 100 percent of my undivided attention and allegiance. It's hard to imagine anybody would begrudge me, or any player, for feeling that way, because you would do the same if given the opportunity. No matter how much you love your team, trust me, you would switch in an instant if you were a player or even just an employee in the league.
At what point is continuing to be a fan of a team no longer in you or your family's best interests?
Let's take the Redskins for example, since they are in the news this week. If you had two very young children, is it incumbent upon you to raise them as Redskins fans just because you were? Consider that you may not like or have any faith in ownership and, based on what appears to be an upcoming divorce with the best quarterback the franchise has had the past 25 years, there is no real reason to have any hope moving forward.
Do you really want your children to experience and grow up with that?
Most people would probably answer yes, because it is a shared experience and you have loyalty to the team, which you could never switch. My question is: At what point should you adopt more the mindset that a player has, where you are loyal to your family, first and foremost?
Are you really doing right by your kids, and yourself for that matter, to be a fan of a franchise that may have an owner that you don't respect or believe will ever field a championship-level team?
What are you really a "fan" of? The logo? Or the "laundry" as Jerry Seinfeld once famously said?
People don't do this in other aspects of life. If you don't care for, or have faith in, your future prospects in the area where you live, you move. If you can't stand your boss and don't see any room for growth at your company, you look for a better job.
Why can't you do that with your fandom?
I'm not saying this should be a regular occurrence -- or that you should jump on some other team's bandwagon -- but in certain dire circumstances, it should be considered.
Forget the Redskins for a second and take another example of a team that made major news this week: the Carolina Panthers, who fired the team's general manager, Dave Gettleman.
Gettleman took a franchise that had failed to make the playoffs for three straight years -- and was in absolute salary cap purgatory -- and turned them into a perennial playoff contender that made the Super Bowl just over a year ago. Now, ostensibly because several older players and former players were not fans of the way in which Gettleman went about his business, the Panthers let go of unquestionably one of the top 10 front office executives in the league.
I'm not saying that Panthers fans should find a new team any time soon, but I am suggesting that more fans should think about their fandom and what it is they like about the teams they cheer for.
You might just realize that there's no good reason to cheer at all.