Gobs of politicians have spoken critically about the Redskins name in recent months. This week, we heard from the other side: Virginia legislators who are joining forces to back the Redskins name. The fledgling Redskins Pride Caucus was initiated by state senator Chap Petersen — who has been its most public spokesman — but several other legislators also spoke at the kickoff event this week. A sampling:
Del. Jackson Miller (R-Manassas)
“You know, I’ve already had a comment from a friend saying is this really the business of the state legislature? Is this really something you all need to do? I wish it wasn’t something that we felt we needed to do. I quite frankly do. It is almost kind of silly that we’re up here forming this caucus.
“But then you have to see what’s going on here. We have U.S. Senators attacking a private Virginia business because of its name. And let’s get one thing clear: this isn’t an organic movement. This is a made movement. This is a movement created by a rich member of the Oneida Tribe up in Connecticut [sic], who’s funding it, who’s promoting it.
“And we may be creating part of the problem as well. The media loves this issue, because you get good ratings on it. It’s exciting. So let’s be clear: this is inorganic. This isn’t a grass-roots issue that’s moving upwards.
“And the last thing I’ll say about this movement for the Redskins to change their name: it truly is political correctness on steroids in overdrive. That’s exactly what it is. So ladies and gentlemen, we’re here to protect the integrity of a Virginia business that thousands, tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Virginians love to support and love to cheer for. And they’re proud of the Redskins name, and they do not think that there’s ANY racism in that name. They see it as a point of pride, as do I.”
Del. David Ramadan (R-Loudoun)
“This is a worldwide franchise. Fans across the world, across the globe, they all identify with being warriors, with being a football team that we all enjoy. And it’s a Virginia business. And I’ll tell you, there’s nothing more important than making sure that OUR businesses are protected so we can continue building a better atmosphere and creating jobs in the commonwealth of Virginia. So this was simply our way of saying we are proud fans….This was a great way for us to send a message that we will continue to be Redskins fans, and proud of the team and its right to choose their own choices on their name, and thank them for being a Virginia company.”
Sen. L. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth)
“I agree with what has already been said, and that is that they have the right to choose their own name. And none of us feel that there is any racism in it. In fact, we love the name and we stand by them. And we all stand strong to support them in whatever efforts they have.”
Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Franklin)
“I’ll just say this: I just saw a poll where 70 percent of all citizens in the United States believe that the Redskins name is not offensive and that they should be able to keep that name. The ruling by the patent and trademark infringement commission — finding that they could not hold the exclusive rights to that trademark — was just plain wrong. And when government starts getting into that kind of business, then we’re seeing where government is overstepping its bounds.
“What I will always remember is I only had 21 years with my father, but I can tell you that even though my dad was in the Navy, there were 16 Sundays of those 21 years where I got to spend the greatest moments of my life, that I will cherish forever. And I thank my father and the Washington Redskins for those moments that I will never forget. I would hope that I have the same opportunity, to provide my sons the opportunity that was given to me. I think that what we find here is that not only is this political correctness run amok; it’s just plain wrong. And I will close simply by saying this: Beat Dallas!”
Meanwhile, John McCain again discussed the issue this week. He said he didn’t think this was an issue for the patent office to handle, but he again said he would likely change the team’s name if it were up to him. Via For the Win:
“We have many local tribes in my state of Arizona, and they come to me and tell me it’s offensive, okay? So if its offensive, then why don’t we take that into consideration?” McCain said. “One of the most darkest chapters in American history is our relations with the Native Americans. When an advanced civilization collides with a less advanced one, really terrible things happen. And it’s probably the worst chapter in American history, as we went west and became the nation that we are, we really did some terrible things. And many of our Native Americans are very sensitive because of our history. So my view, if I were the owner of the team, I’d call them together and have a dialogue with them and I would probably change the name.”