I understand why many Redskins fans are weary of hearing the same media voices weigh in repeatedly on the Redskins name issue.
And while I’ve never asked an athlete or politician about the name myself, I do continue to think it’s newsworthy when people in positions of power make statements on the topic.
Thus, this recent interview Washington Business Journal conducted with Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker. During a lengthy interview, the well-known Redskins fan was asked whether he has any opinion on the name issue, and he laughed.
“I mean, I know that my good friend in the District of Columbia weighed in on that,” Baker said, referring to D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray. “But our focus with the organization has been really the partnership in the community. We really couldn’t ask for a better partner, whether it’s issues like getting a destination resort here and understanding the importance of bringing more people into Prince George’s County for entertainment — that they’re a part of it — whether it’s going out in the community for literacy. So we’re gonna continue to work with the organization, we’re gonna try to make them as happy as they can in their facility. And so I can’t complain about anything that they’ve done.”
“So you don’t have a public position?” a reporter asked, and Baker laughed.
“Your answer, I mean, you did not at one point say the word Redskins,” another voice pointed out. “You keep calling them the organization.”
Baker laughed again, a bit awkwardly.
“You know….” he began. “What’s the best way I can say this on the record? We have a great working relationship with them. And so we’re very pleased with our working relationship, and we look forward to it continuing.”
That’s a pretty interesting answer to a pretty straightforward question.
Gray, you’ll recall, helped kick off all this fuss by saying the team’s name should be discussed. He later purposefully avoided using the name during his State of the District Address, although still later he seemed to back off from his comments.
But when WJLA’s Alex Parker recently asked Gray about the issue, he was not backing down.
“It’s not going to go away,” Gray said of the issue. “You know what’s interesting, too, is that in the wake of that situation, there’s so many people who have come up to me and said I appreciate you discussing that issue, we find it offensive, we love our football team but we wish the team would change its name. And it’s a controversy that’s going to be there….There are those who feel like it’s just incredibly offensive. And those are the same people who love our football team, who will support our football team no matter what. But they just think that name needs to be looked at.”
Parker then asked if Gray thought the name would change within the next decade.
“I think there’s a good chance,” he said. “If they come back to the site of RFK Stadium, that is federal land. And so I was saying well if we were to build a stadium on the site of RFK, there’s no doubt that the federal government will raise questions about the name, because it will be stimulated by a lot of people.”
D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton also weighed in recently, telling The Hill that she “certainly” thinks the name will change.
“But nothing happens without pushing and shoving,” she said. “I am a fan of the Redskins. I’m just not a fan of their name.”
Also, I know there’s a sense among many fans that my employer is primarily responsible for the recent surge in headlines about this topic. Whatever you feel about that possibility, bear in mind that these three comments were solicited by Washington Business Journal, WJLA and The Hill. And sure, they were then repeated by me, but I’m a professional repeater.