‘Around the Horn’ and the Redskins

October 23, 2012

One of my online sports pals heard Around the Horn host Tony Reali refer to the Redskins on Monday as “The Washington Football Club,” and wondered whether — in this age of City Paper name changes — there was some significance there.

Not really. Within the next 60 seconds or so, Reali twice referred to the team as the Redskins. Indeed, the show has no policy or stance on the use of the team nickname, although a recent episode included three panelists coming out against the Redskins name, and one recommending that the show stop using it entirely. Around the Horn is, for better or worse, a showcase for sports opinions, and every panelist speaks for themselves on that issue.

But because I just can’t get enough of those comments from people who say I’m a whiny PC liberal mealy-mouthed censorship-loving freedom-hating toad for even mentioning this issue, here’s what was said on that ATH episode. The discussion was prompted by the Kansas City Star’s public editor coming out against the Redskins name.

“I totally agree with the Kansas City Star,” said Bill Plaschke, a longtime advocate of changing the name. “They don’t print other racial slurs; why should they print this one? And make no mistake, this is a racial slur. I’ve been saying this for 25 years. Look up the word Redskin, do the research. It refers to the mutilation of Native Americans. The word is wrong.

“And a lot of people say, well, it doesn’t offend me,” Plaschke continued. “Well, a lot of people in this country are offended by it — the people who are most involved, who are being slurred or offended. And it’s our nation’s capital. Amazing, Tony, how a team in our nation’s capital can be so incredibly insensitive, year after year. It stuns me.”

“There is absolutely no arguing with anything you just said,” Michael Smith said. “And I appreciate your passion, and I respect the stance that the company is taking for the Kansas City Star. That said — and I hate to kill the whole thing — but it just doesn’t feel like this is going to change anything. If the Washington Post has not adopted this stance, if the NFL itself has not adopted this stance, then it’s going to take a lot more than the Kansas City Star to exact change when it comes to the name of the Washington Redskins.

“I’m sorry, we’ve got protesters that haven’t had a chance to get this thing changed, so why is this going to change anything?” Smith asked. “It feels like we’ve had this conversation on this very show a million times, not to mention the conversation that’s been going on for years in the history of the Washington Redskins.”

“All right, so it’s a million and one,” Jackie MacMullan responded. “You know what, I’m okay with this. And Bill challenged me — as he just did to all of you — to look up the word Redskin. I did that. It was appalling to me, not so much the explanation – which is appalling in itself – but all the people that weigh in that are offended by this, that are affected by it, that are hurt by this.

“And you start to realize, you know what, I’ve typed Washington Redskins, I don’t know, hundreds of times during my career,” MacMullan concluded. “It’s made me stop and pause a little bit. You know what, you’re right, let’s start talking about this with Roger Goodell. Let’s go back to the Washington Post and have them answer to this. So maybe the Kansas City Star gets it started with a little something today on this issue.”

“When this show ends, I’m going to go to my sports editor and say, why don’t you do the same thing,” Plaschke said. “One small voice at a time, voice upon voice, maybe one day we’ll get rid of this thing.”

“I like that,” MacMullan chimed in.

“All right, Around The Horn, no more Redskins, only Washington,” Smith proposed. “How about that?”

But again, this was just the panel talking, and the show itself does not have any sort of policy or stance.

Related

City Paper will no longer use the word Redskins

Bruce Allen says the name isn’t controversial

Montana high school nixes Redskins name

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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