Roger Chesley

Roger Chesley

Longtime columnist and editorial writer Roger Chesley worked at the (Newport News) Daily Press and The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot from 1997 through 2018. He previously worked at newspapers in Cherry Hill, N.J., and Detroit. Reach him at [email protected]

The deal that brought the Washington Redskins summer training camp to Richmond cost the city more than $11 million. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

Change the damn name already

By: - July 7, 2020

“We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.”  – Daniel Snyder, Washington Redskins owner, to USA Today in May 2013 “Never” equals seven years, by my calculations. You won’t see such a definition in the dictionary, of course. You will find, however, that “redskin” is defined as a contemptuous […]


Virginia Democrats are making a mistake in denouncing redistricting amendment

By: - June 30, 2020

Just months before voters in the commonwealth choose whether to reduce the blatant gerrymandering that arises every 10 years during redistricting, many Virginia Democrats are now saying, “Never mind.” Shame on them.  The process to get such a referendum before voters has been a long, tortuous one, with frequent setbacks because state lawmakers in the […]


It took a nation in turmoil for the Redskins to finally elevate Bobby Mitchell

By: - June 24, 2020

My late father, a D.C. police officer from the 1940s to the mid-’60s, despised the Washington Redskins. He’d fume repeatedly about how the team was the last in the NFL to hire a Black player – Bobby Mitchell – because of its segregationist founder and owner George Preston Marshall. If I heard Joseph Chesley Sr. […]


On Confederate monuments, patience has run out

By: - June 17, 2020

A few more weeks of peering at century-old monuments to the Confederacy around Virginia was more than many protesters could bear. Not that I’m mad at them. Most of the monuments were erected during the reign of Jim Crow. To Blacks, they’re a strong symbol of inequality, terror and second-class citizenship. A new state law […]


Good riddance to Advance America

By: - June 11, 2020

Spare no tears for Advance America, Virginia’s largest payday loan operator. The company has now decided to flee the commonwealth before new, tougher regulations passed by the General Assembly begin next year.  You can bet the more than 80,000 Virginians who got payday loans, just in 2018 alone, from Advance America and similar companies aren’t […]


A horrific slaying, massive protests and depressing déjà vu

By: - June 2, 2020

It’s beginning to look a lot like the mid-1960s across America.  For young people, or those unaware of U.S. history, that’s not a good thing. Protests around the country have escalated following the video-recorded  killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd, a black man slain May 25 as a white police officer kneeled on his neck […]


Huge percentages of absentee voters in May show state must prepare for the same this fall

By: - May 27, 2020

Voters in several localities around the commonwealth participated in last week’s local elections, even if they didn’t queue up at their regular precincts. Given the chance to vote absentee by mail – something state officials had encouraged during the coronavirus pandemic – Virginians did so in droves. That implies two things: We’re taking our civic […]


Practicing religion is more than going to church

By: - May 15, 2020

Folks who criticized Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam for limiting the size of church services the past several weeks – including opportunists in the Trump administration – acted as if the guv were denying residents their right to practice religion.  It’s an odd stance since the regulations, in the face of this awful novel coronavirus pandemic, […]


Trump, Northam pay lip service to safety for workers at meat processing plants

By: - May 1, 2020

You can tell a lot about a person by assessing his priorities. So it’s clear President Donald Trump places a greater value on beef, pork and chicken than he does on human life. It could be due to his love for Quarter Pounders and other fast food.  Think that’s hyperbole? Consider this:  Trump hesitated to […]


Before calling for reopening economies, ask yourselves who’s expendable

By: - April 21, 2020

Here’s a question for all those people rushing headlong to reopen the U.S. economy, some of whom protested in various state capitals over the past week, including here in Virginia. Which one of your children, siblings or parents should be sacrificed on the altar of Wall Street so that consumer spending can return to normal […]


Amid virus, volunteers pitch in

By: - March 27, 2020

Feelings of helplessness have enveloped Priscilla Stephens throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. The new coronavirus is ravaging nations around the globe and communities across America.  But how could she fight back? Stephens decided to become one of hundreds – perhaps thousands – of Virginians who have stepped up recently by volunteering across the commonwealth. The retired […]


Are cameras on the way to stop speeders – or merely to boost municipal coffers?

By: - March 6, 2020

Lead foots around Virginia, beware: State legislators have just made it tougher for you to break speed limits with impunity, at least in certain circumstances. The General Assembly this week passed a bill allowing state and local police to use speed cameras in school and highway work zones. Go at least 10 miles above the […]