It's time to let karma work on changing Redskins' name

By Courtland Milloy
Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Throughout much of the aught years, I put hexes on the Washington Redskins, casting aspersions on the team in column after column in hopes of jinxing every game until they changed that offensive name.

Stubborn bunch of masochists.

Now comes a new decade, with déjà vu coaching changes but also new opportunities for owner Daniel Snyder to do the right thing. This time, however, a new name will have to be found without any more voodoo out of me.

I have to agree with my critics on this one. Nearly 10 years of conjuring an ill wind on a football team did get to be somewhat tiresome.

Still, you fans got to admit that my mojo was really working in that 7-6 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Kept my fingers crossed, and suddenly Shaun Suisham, a field goal kicker who had nailed 13 consecutive tries for the Redskins, misses two, including a 39-yarder just when it counted the most.

And how about that flabbergasting 23-yard miss by Suisham -- and the killer fumble -- that led to an overtime loss to the New Orleans Saints three games later?

Gloating aside, I'm truly sorry that Jim Zorn had to be humiliated to the bitter end, his firing announced Sunday on national TV while he stood on the sidelines coaching his final game against the San Diego Chargers. But that was not my doing. That was Snyder's mojo gone wild.

As for Jason Campbell, I did wish for some of the 15 interceptions he threw. But I never intended for him to spend so much time picking turf out of his teeth. Watching him get sacked 43 times almost made me feel like a co-conspirator in a criminal assault.

I don't need that kind of karma following me into the New Year.

Back in 2002, during a National Powwow on the Mall, I asked human rights activist Floyd "Red Crow" Westerman whether he had any thoughts on why the Redskins had become such losers. I wanted him to say something like, "God don't like ugly."

But he offered a more serene response instead: "There is a karma that comes around when people are disrespectful and arrogant, and it develops discontent within the ranks."

Over the years, some readers have chastised me for trying to interpret Westerman's remark as meaning that the team had been cursed by native spirits. They maintain that the name "Redskins" should be changed on principle, done away with because it is racist, not because of some hokey notion that doing so will lift a curse and help the team win.

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