August 26, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013
The NFL pre-season may be winding down but “Iron” Mike Ditka and Sarah “The VEEP” Palin are just getting started. The Coach took a time-out from his insightful analysis he shares every week and Ms. Palin took a breather from whatever it is she does these days to blast the “knee-jerk liberals” who “want to take over the cherished namesake” of the Washington Redskins of the National Football League.
“What’s all the stink over the Redskin name?” said the former Chicago Bears coach and tight end. “It’s so much [expletive], it’s incredible. We’re going to let the liberals of the world run this world. It was said out of reverence, out of pride to the American Indian.”
“Even though it was called a Redskin, what are you going to call them, a Brownskin? This is so stupid it’s appalling, and I hope that owner keeps fighting for it and never changes it, because the Redskins are part of an American football history, and it should never be anything but the Washington Redskins.”
Well, how does Julia Dreyfus, I mean Tina Fey, no, Sarah Palin, feel about the controversy over possibly changing the name of the “Redskins” to something apparently less reverential?
Never shy to share, Sarah says “Nothing should surprise us lately; but when the Politically Correct Police bust Ditka, they hope the silent majority will cower under leftist control.” (We’re still talking about football, right?)
Ms. Palin continued, “My goodness, Ditka merely spoke his mind. This accomplished and esteemed coach knows there are big issues to be addressed in America today; there’s no intent to offend by referring to a team by the name they’ve proudly worn since day one and chose with pride in our native ancestry and obviously had absolutely no intent to insult; and the liberal media’s made-up controversies divide our country… Ditka said he actually likes the Washington Redskins, and he’s a man full of commonsense and admired patriotism.”
Still. At the risk of agitating a man of admired patriotism and full of commonsense and a former Governor of Alaska who almost completed one term, I won’t punt the ball on this topic just yet.
The Washington Redskins used to actually be the Boston Braves and played their games a long time ago in a park called the “Wigwam.” But the landlord raised the rent and in an act of defiance and to save money, its owner (George Marshall) and its Coach (M. Dietz) moved the team to my own beloved Fenway Park and changed the name to the “Boston Redskins.” They actually were close to renaming the team the but they had already printed up uniforms with an Indian Chief on it and so “Redskins” it was, take that greedy landlord. And, like the 1921 NFL team that Olympian Jim Thorpe coached, the Cleveland Indians, the Braves team actually had a number of American “Indians” on the team, so the namesake was only modified.
By 1936 though, attendance was down and the team again moved, this time to swampy Washington DC. They drafted a future legendary QB named Sammy Baugh and the rest is DC (well, actually they now play in Landover, MD) history.
So, while one side seems to want the story be about pride, reverence and the American (Indian) way, it is also as much about money, landlord hikes and convenience. And while the other side wants the story to be about mean, bigoted white guys the facts seem to support that part of the thinking to choose “Redskins” was indeed meant to honor some of its early players.
But now, circa 2014, is the name “Redskins” a term of honor or of racism?
Well, the Native American Indian Oneida tribe rejects the “honor” and wants the name to be banished along with those ugly throwback uniforms the NFL seems to love. They have petitioned the NFL Commissioner to have the name changed and says “Redskins” is “patently offensive and prejudicial.” Dang Native American Indian politically correct police.
50 US Senators, all democrats (they must be the liberals wanting to run the world, ok, that makes more sense Coach Mike), have also sent a letter to the NFL calling for the name to be revoked. Maybe they are still stinging from the NFL deciding to not go with the name “Senators” back in 1933. And now that I think of it, the baseball team now called the ‘Nationals” that play in Washington DC used to be called the “Senators.” Ouch.
The current owner, Dan Snyder, loathed only a little less by DC locals than Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Washington Capitols, though, is sticking to his um, guns. “Never,” Snyder vows, will the name be changed for as long as he owns the team. “I admire him for that,” says Ditka. Better start learning to safely slide RG III or Snyder may sell.
A Washington team has changed its name before. The NBA Wizards ( I know a bit lame) used to be the Bullets. But given the DC homicide rate that one made sense, right?
All of this Native American Indian logo and mascot name change though makes me think of my Law School alma mater, the Marquette University Golden Eagles. You see, years ago they used to be the Marquette Warriors. This was to honor a local Milwaukee tribe called the Potowatami Tribe. Potowatami doesn’t exactly roll off the non-Native American Indian tongue so “Warriors” it was. Of course, initially, Marquette was the “Hilltoppers” but gee, how intimidating is that to opponents?
But MU’s Jesuit Chancellor was particularly offended by “Warriors” and despite the local tribe being okay with the name he pushed through the change to “Golden Eagles.” Can an eagle made of gold actually get airborne and fly? I doubt it. Marquette alum Dwayne Wade is probably ashamed now. Or he could care less.
Which brings me to a final question on this topic.
Should we all care about the Washington Redskins? Is the campaign to change its name truly just the politically correct police run wild? What makes the name offensive to some while Atlanta still loves its Braves? Or Cleveland its (baseball) Indians? Seems NC’s “tar heels” could be as or even more offensive to some. Is it that none of us can control our natural skin color (Michael Jackson’s attempts aside for the moment)?
Though, the Atlanta Braves did fire its own mascot (Chief Knock-A-Homa) in response to accusations of mascot racism. So, maybe it’s about degrees of offensiveness or lines being crossed between being as Mike and Sarah say, “reverential” and just downright mocking.
I’m not sure how I’d feel for example if my favorite team was made up of a bunch of white athletes and was called say the “Boston Paleskins.” Probably, not great.
On the other hand, I sure miss “Benny the Brewer” who used to slide down a shoot into a big bubbly vat of “beer” bubbles every time a Milwaukee Brewer hit a home run. They canned him so to speak for fear the young fans would get the wrong idea that beer can be fun. It’s the Miller Beer High life baseball stadium for goodness-sakes.
Dang politically correct police. That Tina Fey might have a point after all.