True fact: If a nuclear holocaust decimated all human civilization on this planet, the only things left would be a few of those sugar-coated gummy Cola bottles, Joan Rivers’s face, and several thousand audio clips of people talking about the Redskins nickname.
The latest — as of this writing, anyhow — came on MSNBC Thursday morning, when Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton talked to Luke Russert about the letter recently sent by 10 members of Congress to Dan Snyder and others, asking for a name change.
“I don’t know what Snyder is standing on, what the principle is,” Norton said. “We understand what the principle is on the part of Native Americans. I’m not surprised that most Americans don’t see any harm in the word. Most of us have had to be educated by Native Americans, who after all, are only less than two percent of the population. They don’t exactly have a microphone every day. If it were African Americans, you’d know all about it.”
Then Norton was asked about Snyder’s attitude in recently insisting — in ALL CAPS — that he would never change the name.
“Let me tell you something about his attitude, because that’s what’s disturbing,” Norton said. “Look, the man inherited the name, so what principle is he standing on? This is the same Dan Snyder that sued a paper here, the City Paper, which wrote an article that was very critical of his management of the Redskins. But the centerpiece of his suit was a photo that he said disparaged him as a Jew. So here is a man who has shown sensibilities based on his own ethnic identity, who refuses to recognize the sensibilities of American Indians….This is not about the First Amendment. This is about branding, whether you can use a brand that disparages an ethnic group. And the fact that the NCAA now bars the use of such names, and that all over America they are being dropped, he has to come forward — it seems to me — with why this ‘never [change]’ statement amounts to a principle.”
Finally, Norton was asked if she thought Washingtonians would be receptive to a potential name change.
“I think people in D.C., if they were educated to what the reason is, would welcome the change,” she said. “And look at what the change would mean. A council member has suggested the name RedTails — the RedTails, of course, was the name of the Tuskegee Airmen, a much-revered name. What would Snyder lose? It seems to me nothing. In fact, I think he’d MAKE a lot of money, because he’d have to then re-do all those sweatshirts and helmets and paraphernalia that’s made him millions of dollars. And make no mistake about it, I’m a big Redskins fan, so understand this is said with love.”
And I’m positive it will be accepted in the same spirit.