Washington Redskins: Where’s The Due Diligence? | Wizards Blog Truth About It.net

Washington Redskins: Where’s The Due Diligence?

Updated: July 30, 2008

Leave it to a Dallas Cowboys fan to point out an article about Redskins safety Reed Doughty in this past Sunday’s Washington Post. He happily cited the piece as a prime example of the ineptness of the Washington Redskins organization. After reading it, I was obliged to agree.

Doughty, selected by the Redskins in the 6th round of the 2006 NFL Draft, filled in after the untimely death of Sean Taylor last season. He grew up and attended college in Colorado, suiting up four seasons for the Northern Colorado Bears.

Reed Doughty, like most of those who have attained professional ranks in their sport, has faced many obstacles in his football career, but none greater than being severely hearing impaired. Being diagnosed with problems as a child, Doughty dealt with his handicap by learning to read lips and memorize hand signals in college. Only recently, after the 2007 season, did Doughty’s wife encourage him to use hearing aids during the course of play.

Inspiring story right? So how did Danny Snyder’s play toy screw this one up?

[from Doughty Confronts Loss of Hearing on the WashingtonPost.com]

The Redskins were unaware of Doughty’s hearing loss when they drafted him. [Steve] Jackson (safeties coach) initially sensed a problem because “Reed was all over the place,” Jackson said. “You could see he had the ability, but he would have to ask the same things over and over again. Ever since we got him checked out, everybody makes a concerted effort to make sure that when they talk to him he can see your lips moving.”

When Doughty arrived at Redskins Park, he had to start all over again. “It kind of became a running joke for a little while,” said safety Vernon Fox, who also joined the Redskins in 2006. “We knew that if you were not sitting right next to him, he wasn’t going to hear exactly what you said to him. We all kind of knew, it became obvious, he had a hearing deficiency.”

Baffling. I understand that a 6th rounder is well, a 6th rounder….but it’s still a 6th rounder. Point being, the Redskins should be doing their due diligence no matter where the draft pick lies. There is a chance that Doughty might not have disclosed his impairment, but I highly doubt it. Such information could have easily been sought by a phone call to his college coaches…..at a minimum.

It’s unquestionably absurd that the Skins brain-trust was not aware of Doughty’s condition and an injustice to the guy himself. Injury on top of insult was that it’d become a running joke for others on the team. I’ve pledged my unwavering allegiance to the Washington Redskins, but incidents such as this leave me wondering if the franchise is the actual joke.

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Kyle Weidie
Founder / Editor / Reporter / Writer at TAI
Kyle founded TAI in 2007 and has been weaving in and out the world of Wizards ever since, ducking WittmanFaces, jumping over G-Wiz, and avoiding stints on the DNP-Conditioning list. He has covered the Washington pro basketball team as a member of the media since 2009. Kyle lives in D.C. with his wife, loves basketball, and has no pets.

  • Jarrett

    Of course the franchise is a joke. About the only thing that makes them worth paying attention to is the love of the fans.

  • michellebrown

    As a mother of an active young boy who happens to be hard of hearing my take on his situation is a bit different. Unlike kids who are diagnosed shortly after birth and fitted with hearing aids without much stigma, that was not the case 25 years ago. Reed obviously has done a pretty good job at “passing” to make it to the pros, 6th round or not. To blame the Redskins for not detecting an invisible disability is silly at best. I hope his story is one that inspires young boys like mine.

  • Truth About It

    Thanks for the comment Michelle…I think my point was that since Reed’s condition was (seemingly) known in college to the point where adjustments were made, the Redskins should have known so that Doughty could be helped in order to allow him concentrate more on the sport he loves rather than overcoming his own challenges in addition to the challenges of those dealing with his challenges….if that makes sense.

    And Doughty’s story should serve as inspiration to everyone….how hard must it be to read lips and memorize hand signals for hundreds of plays…..

  • boywondr16

    As someone who worked with Reed while he was in college at NC, before reading this article, I couldn’t have told you he had a hearing problem.

    While I wasn’t around Reed daily, I was around him in areas most people aren’t, and I do know that I never noted him struggle with hearing anything asked of him.

    Now, if you want to rip on the Redskins for not doing their due diligence, there is still something to be said for someone choosing to keep private something they aren’t comfortable with playing up.

    Reed’s a great man who decided privacy in this situation was his answer to keep it from becoming a distraction. For him to have overcome it in the NFL is amazing, because you can’t hide flaws in the pro game.

    Think about it this way: if he is able to read lips, hear enough of what’s directed to him, how are you to know he can’t hear you? It’s easy to fool people in such a case.

  • Truth About It

    Thanks a lot for the insight.

    You’re right, I certainly cannot blame Doughty for not divulging his condition should that be the case.

    I’m glad his wife has encouraged him to come to terms with his condition and use a hearing aid. I think that will help him and those around him.