The rhetoric about the Redskins name change keeps getting hotter. The latest scalding take was offered by former Redskins kicker Mark Moseley, one of nine “alumni captains” who headline the team-funded Redskins Facts site.
“I’m telling you,” Moseley recently told the AP’s Joseph White, “somebody would have to drop a bomb on FedEx Field to get us to change.”
In the same story, Joe Theismann offered a theory about why this issue — which first attracted widespread attention in 1972 — began heating up in January of 2013.
“Politicians,” Theismann said. “It’s an election year.”
And now, a few other recent thoughts. Some of these are up to two months old, but I had been waiting to do a round-up type collection of many thoughts.
“For years growing up in Ft. Lauderdale, watching my dad, who loved the Cowboys, we watched Cowboys-Redskins games and I didn’t know,” Irvin said at a U.S. Conference of Mayors symposium on sports and racism. “I didn’t know as a young man. I didn’t know that it was offensive to them, to Native Americans. I didn’t know. I didn’t know….
“I want to have a conversation with somebody to get an understanding of it, because I still do not know,” Irvin continued. “But if it offends somebody, then we should do something about it. If we understand that. That’s the great part of it. And here’s the best part: with the owner Daniel Snyder, I mean, I know they love making money. It could make a lot of money for them. Because everybody that has all those Redskins things, they’ve got to get the new ones. So you can really satisfy both sides in understanding that.
“And I get caught up with people all the time — the tradition of it, the tradition of it. And I appreciate tradition and everything. But moving forward is what’s important, and moving forward together, I believe.”
The former Cowboys and Redskins running back came out against the name during an interview with Florida Today. Excerpt:
“I actually took the time and looked it up in the dictionary to see what Webster said, and not only Webster but several of the other dictionaries as well and every definition I’ve seen defines it as says it is a negative term,” Hill said. “It’s the ‘N’ word except the ‘N word’ applies to African Americans and the term Redskins applies to Native Americans.”
Hill, who collects Native American art, said he has spoken with many artists about the term and said they are offended by it.
“Why do we want to use terms that make people feel bad?” he said, adding that too much time and energy is being spent on the debate. “It’s pretty simple. It seems to me to come up with some term that makes people feel good.”
Harper, the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Human Rights Council and a Cherokee Nation citizen, recently discussed the issue with Indian Country Today, which is published by the Oneida Indian Nation. His quote:
On a personal level, I find the term “redskins” to be disparaging. I think it should have no place and if I owned the team I would change the name. It’s pretty clear cut to me – nobody would walk down the street and call me a redskin unless they were intentionally trying to insult me.
(Full disclosure: a representative of the Change the Mascot campaign forwarded me that story.)
Yeah, Gene Simmons. This came in an interview about him being a part-owner of an Arena Football League team. Here were his comments to the Wall Street Journal:
I understand if you’re a sports fan and if you’re white, you go “Hey, what’s the problem? We have a long history.” But if you’re an Indian, think about it. White dudes don’t have to worry about that stuff because [they] were always the majority in imperialist countries of the world. “Cracker” means nothing to white people. They had all the money and the power….
Whether or not it’s bad for business or not, you’ve got to make the change. It was launched at a time when white people weren’t sensitive to the idea that you’re actually insulting an entire race of people.
The governor of Virginia again weighed in, if you hadn’t heerd.
“Listen, I’ve continuously said it is not up to a governor to tell a private business what to do with their business,” he said. “I’m about growing our economy, diversifying our economy. I’m not in the business of telling private businesses what to do.
“I want businesses here. We need to grow and diversify the economy. Voters elected me to get jobs. This team here is helping me get jobs.”
So did the governor of Maryland, but on the other side.
I was asked earlier today and answered that I do believe it is probably time for the Washington Redskins to change their team name.
— Martin O’Malley (@GovernorOMalley) August 5, 2014
We hope that in every generation we become more understanding of one another & more respectful of the dignity of every individual & culture. — Martin O’Malley (@GovernorOMalley) August 5, 2014
The Wheel of Fortune host (and Caps fan) had a go.
A nation’s capital should not have a team with such an offensive nickname. Please, NHL, no more Ottawa Senators.
— Pat Sajak (@patsajak) August 7, 2014
So did the executive vice president of the Lakers.
I decided NOT to draft any Washington players (apologies to them) on my #fantasyfootball team in deference to those offended by team name.
— Jeanie Buss (@JeanieBuss) August 11, 2014
The former Vikings safety, member of the team’s Ring of Honor and Native American talked about the issue with the Star-Tribune:
” ‘Never’ turns into a reality that it has to change,” Browner said. “That’s what’s happening with our government system letting them know they’re not going to stand for it anymore in the system. By saying that, [Snyder’s] peers are putting pressure on him now….It is happening, and it’s for the better. For him, I just pray for him. That’s all I can do. Just pray for him.”