Ron Rivera’s Washington Football Team improving but still beset by scandal

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Tim Weaver
·2 min read
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This week the Panthers will match wits with a familiar face. Former Carolina head coach Ron Rivera now holds that position in Washington, where he’s helped engineer a strong second-half turnaround that’s put the team in contention for the NFC East’s joke of a guaranteed playoff spot.

While Rivera’s work appears to be improving the culture and accountability, heading into Week 16 the organization is still beset by the usual drama and scandal that have come to define it over the last 20 years. Today alone, two extremely negative stories are making the rounds about Football Team, which will never not sound weird.

With their veteran starter Alex Smith sidelined due to a minor leg injury, second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins started against the Seahawks on Sunday and lost, the team’s first in five games. In the end, Haskins threw two interceptions and posted an ugly 72.9 passer rating against Seattle’s grotesque pass defense. Now, he’s in hot water for a different reason.

Over the weekend, Haskins was spotted channeling his inner James Harden by partying in a strip club without a mask or observing social distancing- an obvious example of some very poor judgment and a clear violation of the league’s COVID-19 protocols.

To his credit, Haskins has apologized, calling his behavior irresponsible and immature.

Smith is expected to start against Carolina this week in any case, but Haskins may yet face some discipline from the organization.

While Haskins’ quarterbacking and off-the-field decisions are problematic, they don’t hold a candle to the abusive and scandalous behavior that’s gone on behind the scenes in Washington’s front office over the years.

Today’s other major bad Washington-related story involves team owner and supervillain Daniel Snyder. He’s in the news because he’s reportedly paid out $1.6 million to settle a sexual misconduct allegation.

While his run in Carolina didn’t end well, Rivera was always a stand-up example of good leadership and fine character. It seems like a long shot as long as Snyder is the owner, but maybe someday his positive influence will help his organization be less of a black eye for the NFL.

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