Chris Cooley defends Redskins name to Keith Olbermann


(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

After weeks of dormancy, there has been considerably more chatter about the Redskins name this week, for obvious Super Bowl reasons. That led to Chris Cooley and Keith Olbermann discussing the issue on the latter’s ESPN program this week.

“We have had the stance on this show that the Washington team needs to change the name and will change the name,” Olbermann said at the end of his segment with Cooley. “I know you’re affiliated with them; do you have thoughts that are independent off the team?”

“I think it’s really hard for someone like you or I to say,” Cooley began. “I’m a regular Caucasian-American, who doesn’t have a good idea of what it means to be called names. I can’t say exactly how those people feel, but what I can say is that the Redskins have done a body of research and determined that there are a lot of Native Americans who are really proud of this name. Currently there are over 60 high schools who still represent the name the Redskins. These people are very proud of it. Bruce Allen traveled through reservation to reservation; Bobby Beathard traveled to different reservations, and they established the fact that Native Americans are proud of this name. Now, for me, it’s not to say if it’s right or wrong. But until it’s determined that this one set of people has decided on what is right or wrong, I support the name Redskins because I believe it’s honoring what they represent.”

“Okay, well I boxed myself into a corner because I don’t have any time to go further on it with you,” Olbermann replied. “But I’ll just summarize my opinion with I disagree with you on this entirely.”

“Many people will,” Cooley replied.

In other news, the National Congress of American Indians released a video, timed with the Super Bowl, urging viewers to contact the Redskins, the NFL and The Post about the name issue.

In other other news, a bunch of religious organizations — including the American Friends Service Committee, the Central Conference of American Rabbis, the Franciscan Action Network, the Friends Committee on National Legislation, the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, the Human Rights Ministries (Disciples of Christ), the Muslim Public Affairs Council, the United Church of Christ – Justice and Witness Ministries, the United Methodist Women and others — sent a letter to Congress about the name. Excerpt:

We, the undersigned faith organizations, write to urge you to co-sponsor H.R. 1278, the Non-Disparagement of Native American Persons or Peoples in Trademark Registration Act of 2013, and to support a name change for the Washington football team. Our shared beliefs guide us to treat all people with dignity and respect. We believe that football fans in the Washington, DC area want only the best for their team, including a name that reflects their values, not controversy.

Under the Trademark Act of 1946, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office cannot register a trademark that disparages people—living or dead. H.R. 1278 would amend the Act to ensure that trademarks associated with the term “redsk*n” could not be registered.

And Marion Barry again strongly expressed his views on the matter.

 

 

 

 

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