I don't expect what's written on Redskins.com to be hard-hitting or even mildly critical of the Washington Redskins. I haven't even heard the PR department refer to the site as "unfiltered" Redskins news lately. There is no pretense of objectivity. It's definitely "sunny side up" coverage of the team.
Generally, there isn't anything wrong with that. You see the brand, you see the label, and what you see is what you get. Don't expect to go on to the GOP website and read the dirt about John McCain. Don't visit Exxon-Mobile's site to find stories of consumer hardship caused by the price of gas.
Sometimes, though, positive spin can go too far. Such was the case in a story on Dexter Manley that appeared on Redskins.com a couple of days ago.
The article, written by Michael Richman, summarizes Manley's on-field accomplishments and speaks of his emotion and flair. It's a nice piece, as far as it goes. But where it doesn't go is the issue.
There is no mention of Manley's problems with substance abuse anywhere in the article. Not one word.
You just can't talk about the career of Dexter Manley without talking about his problems with drugs any more than you can reflect on the presidency of Richard Nixon without talking about Watergate. The scandal was the latter's downfall just like cocaine derailed Manley's chances of becoming one of the all-time greats.
His sack totals went up every year from 1982, when the NFL started officially counting sacks, through 1986. That last year he totaled 18.5 sacks and made his first Pro Bowl.
It proved to be his last appearance in Hawaii as well. A first positive test for banned substances resulted in a warning. In July of 1988 he served a 30-day suspension for a second positive test. After recording 8.5 sacks in the strike-abbreviated 1987 season, he got just nine in '88.
The end came not too long after that. Ten games into the 1989 season, at the age of 30, he played his last down for the Redskins. A third positive test landed him an indefinite ban from the NFL.
When he was reinstated after a year, Joe Gibbs and the Redskins wanted no part of him. He played a year in Phoenix and one more in Tampa Bay before a fourth positive test got him banned for life.
These are not trivial, salacious details about the career of Manley. They are a relevant part, even a major part of the story. The substance abuse issue answers questions such as, "If he was such a good player, why did the Redskins ever let him leave?"
But the skies are never cloudy at Redskins.com. Never is heard a discouraging word, even when the credibility of the articles is at stake.