“Last hour, NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley was with us, so it’s only fair to have an NFL Hall of Famer as well,” Maria Bartiromo said Thursday on CNBC’s Closing Bell. “About to tee off here is NFL Hall of Famer Joe Theismann.”
Theismann smiled, and went on to do the interview, while the chyron identified him as an “NFL Hall of Famer.”
The only problem, of course, is that he’s not. Theismann is frequently mentioned in the group of ex-Redskins who might one day have a shot at Hall of Fame-dom, along with Joe Jacoby, Brian Mitchell and a few others. But hey, no puppies will be harmed by CNBC deciding he’s already in Canton.
Theismann’s media appearance came as part of the American Century Championship, a celebrity golf tournament that’s broadcast by NBC Sports. That tournament also landed Theismann on SiriusXM NFL Radio, where he was asked yet again about the Redskins nickname.
“All this political stuff on the Redskins name, you got any thoughts on that?” Theismann was asked. (Audio here.) “You got a comment at all?”
“I really don’t,” he answered. “Whatever’s gonna be decided will be decided far away from players or anything else. It’s in the hands of the courts, I guess you could say. I will say this, though. I wore the Redskins uniform with great pride to represent the Native American nations of this country. When we won the Super Bowl in 1982, I was given a headdress from one of the chiefs, I can’t quite remember the tribe. But I consider it one of the finest things I’ve ever received, as far as an award goes and a presentation.
“So to me, great pride in the football team I played for,” Theismann continued. “I represented the Washington Redskins hopefully in a way that they’re proud [of]. To me, I think we honor the Native American nations by going out and doing everything we can to put the best product out there on the field.”
I couldn’t find a reference to this headdress in the archives, but I did find a 1993 story in the Miami Herald about Burger King’s then-new chief executive Jim Adamson, a friend of Theismann’s.
“Jim has an ability to coordinate people around a vision and a goal,” Theismann said in the piece. “He is a consummate competitor.”
That, Theismann adds, is why he sent Adamson a special gift when the BK appointment was announced: an Indian headdress.
“As a former Redskin, it seemed appropriate,” Theismann says. “But the real message was: Now, the chief has his headdress.”