From Riley Cooper to ‘Redskins’

(Yong Kim/AP)
(Yong Kim/AP)

A pal of mine expressed joy when Redskins training camp began because, among other benefits, he thought this would mean an end to all ‘Redskins’ name discussions in the media.

I told him that I thought he’d be disappointed.

Sure enough, at least four national programs this week transitioned pretty quickly from comments about Riley Cooper to comments about the Redskins’ team name, including ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike, which asked Roger Goodell about the matter.

Now, this is a topic full of fairly lethal minefields, on all sides. I’m only writing this to indicate that the media conversation on this topic hasn’t gone away. And yes, I’m aware that tons of Redskins fans believe this is almost strictly a media topic, and that ordinary fans — of all teams — don’t care at all.

PTI

Michael Wilbon brought up the Redskins name while angrily decrying Goodell’s lack of leadership on the Cooper issue.

“I guess that’s not important for Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL,” Wilbon said, still talking about Cooper. “Roger Goodell has acted without conviction a couple of times now — about the Redskins nickname recently — so I’m discovering a pattern. He said there was positive meaning, it was a unifying force. He essentially called the name ‘Redskins’ a term of endearment. So Roger Goodell particularly, it offends me, Roger Goodell’s lack of behavior, lack of conviction, as much if not more than Riley Cooper’s use of the N word. Because he’s the leader of the NFL, and he hasn’t led anybody anywhere.”

Colin Cowherd

Yeah, I know. But Cowherd talked about Cooper’s comments at length on Thursday during his national ESPN Radio show.

“By the way though, if they did fine Riley Cooper for words, couldn’t I argue the NFL could be labeled hypocrites?” Cowherd eventually asked. “Because they allow Redskins, which can be a derogatory term to many. And nobody would name a team ‘Redskins’ if you named a team today.”

Dana Jacobson and Gregg Doyel

Jacobson and Tiki Barber were already discussing the Redskins issue before they had CBS Sports columnist Doyel on their CBS Sports Radio show Friday morning.

“People have written in on Twitter even, and said oh maybe the good that comes from this is once again the discussion is raised about this word and why it’s so hurtful,” Jacobson said, while discussing Cooper. “There’s another word that is raised, and it’s the Washington Redskins, and the term Redskin being a slur, and should the Redskins change the name, should it be Washington Somethingelse?”

“If you write the N word, you can write ‘N-’ and then a couple g’s; you can get away with it if you’re trying to explain to readers here’s the word,” Doyel said. “I’m thinking about for Redskins, putting the dash for the ‘E.’ I don’t even want to spell it out anymore. So clearly I don’t like it.”

Doyel then discussed the instant opprobrium now leveled at sports figures who use gay slurs or the N word.

“There’s gonna come a time – I don’t know when it is, 20 years, 40 years, whenever – there’s gonna come a time when people are gonna look back and say can you believe those idiots thought Redskins was appropriate?” he said. “That day is coming, because the Redskins will be so far removed from the NFL you’re gonna need a microscope to find it. It’s here for now, but it won’t be for long.”

Dan Steinberg writes about all things DC sports at the DC Sports Bog.
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Dan Steinberg · August 2, 2013