To the Government....he is known as Zema Williams. To everyone who matters....he is known as Chief Zee.
Chief Zee has been attending Redskins games since 1978 and is one of the recognizable images of Washington Redskins football over the past quarter-century. He is dressed in Native American clothing for the games and he even brought a hog to games in support of the offensive line of the 1980s....affectionately called "the Hogs". He's billed himself as the man "who puts the soul in the burgundy and gold".
Well, the Chief has fallen on hard times. The 65-year old spent twelve days in the hospital with an aneurysm in his stomach. He also has been crippled by a blood clot in his leg. He's an Army veteran who is living off Social Security and cannot pay his mounting medical bills. He makes just over $1,000 a month in SS, with 75% of that going to rent alone. He's in a wheelchair and may not be able to attend anymore Redskins games.
Like Chris Mottram stated on his blog [Chief Zee Needs Help!] one of the greatest things about being a Skins fan is the various elements that most other NFL teams don't have. I always referred to it as a college-style NFL team. I mean, the Skins have a marching band....their own celebratory song "Hail to the Redskins"....the Hogs, the Smurfs, the Fun Bunch.....the Hogettes....Joe Freakin' Gibbs....the 2nd quarter of Super Bowl XXII.....images of the only black QB to win a Super Bowl...and the classic "Touchdown, Washington Redskins" radio call.
And Chief Zee is prominantly among them. How many Monday Night Football Redskin games happened with Chief Zee right in the thick of things mixing it up?? He'll go to Dallas' Texas Stadium and wear his Skins garb. He was beaten up at Giants Stadium in 1979. He has gone into Philadelphia and repped the Skins. In 1983, Chief Zee was pummeled by Philly fans at a game in Veterans Stadium. They smashed his eye, broke his leg and stripped him down to his drawers. The Eagles organization gave him a formal apology and invited him back to Philly the next year. At that game, an old lady verbally abused him...even saying "we mugged the guy who dressed like that last year" and throwing her drink in his face.
In 2000, Visa and the Pro Football Hall of Fame selected the biggest fan of each of the then-31 teams and placed them in an exhibit in Canton. November 7th, 1985 was declared "Chief Zee Day" in Washington, DC. To say that he's the biggest ambassador of the Skins in an understatement. He is the unofficial Redskins mascot....like The Violator is to the Raiders or the Big Dawg is to the Browns.
He has done charitable work on his own and on "behalf" of the Redskins. And now he needs help himself. There is an AOL Blogging movement started by Sports Bloggers Live radio host Jamie Mottram at Keep Chief Zee in Action that calls for us to e-mail the team to help Mr Williams with his bills and such. So....E-mail the Redskins and ask if gazillionaire owner Daniel Snyder could find it in his heart to help Mr. Williams with his medical bills and help save his life. After all, Mr Williams has given his life and nearly all his money to Mr Snyder's and my team.