Wilbon: Goodell’s support for Redskins name is ‘gutless’

(Matt McClain/The Washington Post)

Current Washington Post sports columnists who have expressed an opinion on the Redskins team name have pretty uniformly been in favor of changing it. Now two former Post sports columnists have chimed in, and their opinions are similar.

PTI did a segment Wednesday on Roger Goodell’s recent letter to House members supporting the Redskins name and arguing for its merits. And Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser weren’t messing around.

“Tony, I’m not surprised,” Wilbon said. “I’m not surprised. I don’t have any faith in the NFL. But what really disappoints me is Roger Goodell, because now I don’t have any faith in him. I know Roger Goodell, long before he became commissioner. He’s a bright man, he’s an educated man, he’s a man of some conviction. And in this instance, he has no courage.

“What he’s done is gutless,” Wilbon continued. “There’s nothing positive about it. Redskin is like using the N-word to African American people, okay? Let’s not mince our words here. Roger Goodell sounds like a fool. He sounds like someone who doesn’t have the courage to confront one of his own member-institutions and its owner, Dan Snyder. The reason I told you this was never gonna change, is because in the NFL you can do what you want, when you want. You’re accountable to nobody.

“And sensitivity, particularly of a racial kind, is something that came SO late,” Wilbon concluded. “They can have it if they want to, and right now, he doesn’t. I’m disappointed in him.”

“I’m surprised, because I thought he would go to the owner, Daniel Snyder, and force him to change the name, give him cover by saying I’m making you change the name,” Kornheiser said. “Because everybody who lives in Washington — as we do — knows that no disrespect is meant. There’s nothing said out of anger. Nobody regards it as a racial epithet. But it is. It’s not even being politically correct; it’s being fair, it’s being equitable. I mean, you CANNOT go to a reservation and say ‘Hi, Redskins.’ You CANNOT do this.”

“You can’t,” Wilbon agreed. “And so for Roger Goodell to put this out there, Tony, seriously. I’m offended by this. Because it’s coming from HIM, a guy who has experience in Washington.”

“I’m surprised,” Kornheiser said. “He’s the son of a United States senator. I am surprised.”

“Yes,” Wilbon said. “This is really, really an outrage, or ought to be.”

(Via @MichaelDavSmith)

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



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Sarah Kogod · June 13, 2013

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