People ask me a lot why I write so much about the Redskins name issue if I don’t have an opinion on it, and I try to explain that when an issue concerning Washington’s most famous sports team has seeped into the national media — from Howard Stern to Rush Limbaugh to Sunday talk shows to late-night comics — I wouldn’t be doing my job if I chose to ignore it.
The latest example of this came Thursday night, on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report. Stephen Colbert, in the character of perpetually aggrieved standard-bearer for American values, did a few minutes on the Redskins name and the Dolphins hazing situation. His “thoughts” about the Redskins, not surprisingly, were similar to much of what appears in our comments section on a daily basis.
* “My favorite NFL team has always been the Washington Redskins. But my team is facing some unnecessary roughness from the PC Police.”
* “If the ‘R’ word was the ‘N’ word, I wouldn’t be able to say it on the air. Watch this, Redskin Redskin Redskin. See? Totally fine.”
* “Redskins team owner Dan Snyder has defended keeping the name by citing a recent AP poll that found that 79 percent of Americans are in favor of keeping the name. Twenty-one percent want the Redskins to change it, but I’ll bet those are the same people that want to change the name of potato skins for offending the Irish.”
* “Our past is who we are. We Redskins fans have roamed this land since 19 and 33. Now, strangers threaten our sacred ground where we feast on the food of our ancestors, the $14 hot dog, and don our ceremonial dresses, wigs and rubber pig noses that symbolize our proud tradition.”
It wasn’t particularly funny, perhaps, but it was another high-profile airing of this issue.