The Washington Post

NFL official says Redskins ‘team name is not a slur’

This is another item about the Redskins name. If you can’t take any more and would rather go start your weekend (or don’t want to risk tainting a weekend that you’ve already started), you should probably stop reading now.

The day after NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said that the Washington Redskins name conveys “racial insensitivity,” a senior NFL official was asked for the league’s official stance on whether the team name is a slur.

“Our stance is the same as the commissioner has articulated on a number of occasions,” NFL Senior Vice President of Law and Labor Policy Adolpho Birch told ESPN’s Andy Katz by phone on Friday’s episode of Outside The Lines. “We believe that the name is a source of pride and it reflects the traditions of that organization and its fan base, which is very diverse and nationwide. But we also understand and respect that people can have differing opinions about it–”

Katz interjected and asked, “Point blankly, is the name a slur, yes or no?”

“The team name is not a slur,” Birch said. “The team name is the team name, as it has been for 80-plus years. And what we need to do is get beyond sort of understanding this as a point-blank situation and understand it more as a variety of perspectives that all need to be addressed, that all need to be given some weight, and so that at the end of it we can come to some understanding that is appropriate and reflects the opinions of all. I think that is part of the issue with the question, is that it is constantly being put in point-blank, yes or no, yes or no kind of context, when that’s not the reality of the situation we’re dealing with.”

Katz again pressed Birch for a yes or no response.

“Again, I would tell you that the Washington Redskins football club — the name of that organization — is not and never has been intended to be used as a slur, and is currently not one as well.”

Scott Allen writes about all things D.C. sports. Follow him on Twitter @ScottSAllen or e-mail him if you’ve got a tip to share.



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Dan Steinberg · May 30, 2014

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