The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Joe Theismann on the Redskins name

(I know that you [and every single one of your friends] are so tired of reading stories about the Redskins nickname, both pro and con, that you [and they] have vowed never to ingest another word on the topic. I also know that, somehow, invisible space aliens keep clicking on everything we publish about the topic. Also, this is a national news story involving our most popular local team, taking place during our slowest sports time of the year. So I apologize, but there will be several of these items today.)

Joe Theismann was in South Dakota Idaho recently to participate in the HyVee/Sanford Legends Sports Clinics. While there, he was interviewed by the Argus Leader, which asked him typical stuff about why he was there, football safety, the game’s future, Tim Tebow and so on.

Theismann was also asked about his former team’s nickname. And while some defenders of the name have suggested that it’s almost divorced from its roots at this point, referring more to a pro football team to than any race of people, Theismann took the opposite approach, arguing that he was representing Native Americans when he was on the field.

“I can tell you that when I was at the children’s hospital this morning, there was a young Native American boy there with his parents,” the former quarterback explained. “His grandmother wanted a picture with me, and his father took the picture. And as I shook his hand the father said to me ‘You’re a Redskin,’ and he said it in a very complimentary way, which was very humbling to me.“

“I was very proud to play for the Washington Redskins, and I did it to honor Native people in that regard,” Theismann continued. “I think sometimes people perceive words in their own particular way. What happens, what Mr. Snyder decides to do is totally up to him. I can just tell you that when I put that uniform on, and I put that helmet on with the Redskin logo on it, I felt like I was representing more than the Washington Redskins: I was representing the great Native American nations that exist in this country.”

Read the full interview here.

UPDATE: A previous version of this item said that Theismann was in Idaho, because I’m an idiot. He wasn’t in Idaho. He was in South Dakota. I’m an idiot. Apologies.