2015 NFL Week 11 Wrap: Redskins’ name is the least of their worries

CAROLINA — We’re used to this by now: From time to time, some court decision or some comment from (insert name of relevant public figure here), or a public protest brings the controversy over the Washington Redskins’ nickname back to the forefront.

What we’re not used to is an actual Redskins player bringing it up.

Defensive end Jason Hatcher was particularly peeved in the wake of the ‘Skins’ embarrassing beatdown in Carolina, and his target didn’t wear burgundy and gold. They wore black and white stripes, and he went in hard on the zebras.

“I’m not saying this out of character to get fined, but it is what it is. I don’t know if it’s about the name or what, but at the same time, we play football too. We work our butt off too. Don’t single us out. At the end of the day, it’s the name. Don’t worry about the name — we players and we work our butt off too. I’m just frustrated with it. We shouldn’t have to be punished for that. It’s been every game, calls after calls that should’ve been made in our favor, but it goes to them. It’s just not right. We in the league too. We’re National Football players. We got a team too. We go out there, and we sweat and work hard too. I don’t give a crap about the name. We are players. We’ve got feelings too, and we want to win too.”

You’d think he’d moonwalk off that statement after some time to cool down, right?

Nope. He doubled down on Instagram.

Hatch. Heed the advice of Brian Fantana.

Look, Hatcher had every reason to be upset. Jerome Boger’s officiating crew doesn’t have a strong reputation, and they were especially bad Sunday. The play featured above may have been called correctly by the letter of the law (as outlined here), but the spirit of the law was not upheld.

However, Hatcher’s claim not only lacks merit, but the statistical evidence seems to totally refute it. According to NFL research, the ‘Skins are actually one of the league’s fewest penalized teams. Not to mention, it’s been a record year for penalties across the NFL, so it’s not just the Redskins dealing with this frustration.

It’s one thing to complain that the refs got it wrong (or even imply they’re incompetent), but nobody wins if the integrity of the league’s officials comes into question (especially in this post-Donaghy world). Yes, former referee Mike Carey spoke out about the name and even went as far as to request off of ‘Skins games, but 1) that was done quietly and wasn’t publicly known until he retired and 2) we have no evidence — or any reason to believe — the quality of Carey’s work was affected by his feelings about the nickname.

Regardless, Hatcher can’t just lay this loss at the feet of the refs as if his team played a good game and got robbed at the end. They lost by 30. Refs factored in, but not more than the missed tackles, five turnovers, five sacks, or getting outrushed 142-14.

At least Gruden knows this.

“I think everything was a little frustrated after the game,” Gruden said. “We’ve been pretty good as far as penalties are concerned. It just seemed [Sunday] two major, major penalties went against us and people are frustrated by that. But we have to recover from those things.”

“I don’t want us to be perceived as a team that is looking for excuses to why we lost,” Gruden continued. “The referees are not an excuse for us as to why we lost the game … We need to point to ourselves as to why we failed in that game and point to Carolina. They played a great game. Teach and learn from that experience and move forward.”

The fact of the matter is, the Redskins have way more problems than their name. No matter how you refer to them, they went on the road and lost badly to an undefeated team for the second time in three weeks. They’ve lost nine straight road games and hold a woeful 1-12 record away from FedEx Field under coach Jay Gruden. In their five road losses this season, they’ve been outscored 162-86 (which averages out to about a 32-17 deficit per game). Sunday the ‘Skins allowed an opponent to score over 40 points for the 7th time since 2013 (only the Bears have allowed more in that span). Alfred Morris has fallen off the face of the earth and his long term replacement, Matt Jones, can’t hold on to the ball — his four lost fumbles leads the league — and his great Week 2 performance against the Rams (19 carries, 123 yards, 2 TDs) is a distant memory.

Hopefully, somebody in Ashburn has pulled Hatcher aside and told him to pipe down. Not because he’s not helping their already clumsy defense of the team name, but because he’s implying a victim mentality in what appears to be a psychologically fragile Redskins locker room. Their wounds are largely self-inflicted so it’s time to stop worrying about external forces and get their own house in order.

Now hail to the Week 11 Recap.

Rob Woodfork

Rob Woodfork is WTOP's Senior Sports Content Producer, which includes duties as producer and host of the DC Sports Huddle, nightside sports anchor and sports columnist on WTOP.com.

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