Redskins Name Change Talk has Mike Ditka and Sarah Palin Seeing Red.

20

August 26, 2014 by gregrabidoux2013

redskins logo

Is it 4th down and goal to go for the Washington Redskins “revered” logo?

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.”

redskins mike and sarah

Forget being president, win a super bowl Sarah and you too can get a nice, shiny ring.

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?

redskins veep

Go ahead you tell me there’s a difference.

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.”

redskins tina fey

Ok, how about now?

So there.

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?

redskins oneida

We aren’t honored says the Oneida Tribe.

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.

redskins RG III

Slide, man, slide.

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.

redskins mu

Not intimidating, right?

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.

redskins knock a homa

Racist? Or, because it’s the Braves, just seldom used?

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.

redskins benny brewer

gee, Bennie’s gone cuddly on me. Maybe he’s offensive to big dudes with blonde mustaches?

Dang politically correct police. That Tina Fey might have a point after all.

bengal-tiger-why-matter_73410431.jpg

 

Advertisements

20 thoughts on “Redskins Name Change Talk has Mike Ditka and Sarah Palin Seeing Red.

  1. Tammy H says:

    RED-skins is offensive. Mike Ditka has eaten way too many bratwursts, what does he know about pride to the American Indian as he says? Time for him and Redskins name to go. Palin, she’s just a joke.

  2. Car-ra Brimley says:

    My favorite team is the Pittsburgh Steelers and if they changed their name I would be very annoyed and unenthusiastic about it. I would still support my team though. I’ve even hated some of the team name changes for teams that I’m not a fan of, such as the New Orleans Pelicans (formally the Hornets and located in Charlotte). I attended the University of West Georgia my freshman year of college and the summer before I started school they took a vote that changed the mascot from the Braves to the Wolves. So, in that aspect I can relate to how the Washington Redskins owners and fans might feel about changing the name; however, sometimes change is necessary. I personally believe that in spite of the majority of the Redskins’ nations thinking that the “political correct police” are out to get them, if the Native Indian Oneida tribe rejects the honor that the Washington Redskins’ say their name provides, then they should do something to correct it. There is obviously a lack of communication and compromise on the owner’s behalf. To flat out say I’m not changing the name, adds insult to injury. Who knows? Maybe a name change will help them get a better record or even a Superbowl.

  3. Brena k says:

    Car-ra, I too am a Steelers fan…and that team from DC area doesn’t have a shot, BUT I also agree, just because it’s old doesn’t mean it’s cherished. Change the name and get with the 21st century. And Mr. Ditka, “full of commonsense?” ah, he’s not even good at analysis, didn’t he fall asleep on the show recently??

  4. Brandy L says:

    Tina Fey does have a point, we should all be honored by the Redskin name. The real issue is Benny the Brewer and big blonde guys with mustaches, now that’s offensive! Kidding. Change the name and why do we care what Ditka thinks about anything?

  5. Larry M says:

    Coach Ditka is right. The Washington team is full of history and pride and they should keep the name. Liberals like Obama have so much more to worry about and they pick the football name? I say it’s time for football not picking on the Redskins!

  6. Christopher R says:

    This is a complicated topic in my opinion. There is a history involved with the name, although like you previously stated that history was prideful of early players and focused more around money than persecution. The interesting aspect from the commentary of Sarah Palin and Mike Ditka comes by way of their lack of empathy for people who can be offended by it, and who have come out to say that they are. I believe that it is one thing to have a stance, but there is a level of willed ignorance which negates any logic you had for your opinion when arguing that way.

    The Atlanta Braves have a lot of support because when they do come under scrutiny, they attempt to compromise the history they have as an organization, The Braves, and the history of the people their team relates too. Mentioning the firing of the mascot is a good example of this. To my knowledge, and I could be wrong, but it does not seem as though the Redskins team management has reached out much to compromise or have discussions about the reasoning the team name would call for so much tension among the people who’s history the team is named for. At what point would the Redskins as an institution lose some of it’s history to accommodate the history of their team’s namesake people?

  7. Christopher Roskilly says:

    This is a complicated topic in my opinion. There is a history involved with the name, although like you previously stated that history was prideful of early players and focused more around money than persecution. The interesting aspect from the commentary of Sarah Palin and Mike Ditka comes by way of their lack of empathy for people who can be offended by it, and who have come out to say that they are. I believe that it is one thing to have a stance, but there is a level of willed ignorance which negates any logic you had for your opinion when arguing that way.

    The Atlanta Braves have a lot of support because when they do come under scrutiny, they attempt to compromise the history they have as an organization, The Braves, and the history of the people their team relates too. Mentioning the firing of the mascot is a good example of this. To my knowledge, and I could be wrong, but it does not seem as though the Redskins team management has reached out much to compromise or have discussions about the reasoning the team name would call for so much tension among the people who’s history the team is named for. At what point would the Redskins as an institution lose some of it’s history to accommodate the history of their team’s namesake people?

  8. Teddi C says:

    My teams primary football team is the Boilermakers and no one seems to know what a Boilermaker is. I would say that if any Native American is offended by the name Redskins then it needs to go. There are some Native Americans that view the name as derogatory and I can understand that they want it changed. The team has changed its name before and my guess is ten years from now many people won’t even remember that the team was at one time the Washington Redskins.

    On the other side there are Native Americans that do not find the name offensive. Some Native Americans think that there are others issues far more important that Native Americans are dealing with such as alcoholism, drugs, education, etc. There are videos that also show a different Native American perspective. I don’t know what the answer is but I do think that a lot of energy is being focused on changing the name of a football team. What would happen if this energy and focus were directed toward a social issue that that might impact the Native Americans in the US?

  9. David B says:

    I don’t think there is a problem with Mike Ditka voicing his support of the Washington Redskins keeping their name. He has been involved in the NFL for a long time and should be entitled to his opinion, but only if his opinion is based on wanting to keep the history and traditions of the game intact. The problem arises when people on both sides try to turn this into a political issue. Ditka adding the, “We’re going to let the liberals of the world run this world” bit only adds fuel to the controversy around the issue and invites people, who might have previously held no opinion on the issue, to either challenge or defend against the bleeding heart, whiney liberals or the heartless, ignorant conservatives. This is not an issue that needs to involve debates between conservatives and liberals. Politics should not really matter here. It should be an issue only involving those that are offended and those that are connected to the team that is doing the offending. If the Oneida Tribe or other Native Americans are offended by the name and wish to protest at every Washington Redskins game, they have the full right to do so. This will undoubtedly attract media attention and force the owners of the Washington Redskins to make a decision about how to react. They can A.) Choose to continue to defend their use of the Redskins name for the sake of tradition, as they have in the past B.)Work with those that are offended to compromise and come up with something less offensive, while still honoring the history of the team (as it was pointed out in the article that the Braves did by eliminating Chief-Kock-a-Homa) or C.)They can give in and change their name altogether. With the ownership’s current strategy of defending the use of the Redskins name without compromise, it should be an issue that comes up in the media as long as the people who are directly offended are willing to protest. If the Oneida Tribe decides they are not offended enough to protest and fight for media coverage over and over until a change is made, then the issue will have resolved itself. On the other hand, if the Washington owners get tired enough of defending themselves on ESPN and other news outlets at the beginning of every football season, they will make a change, and again, the issue will be resolved.

    There is incredibly too much involvement by people who have no real reason to be involved. Sure, I can see how one might be offended by the name Redskins. It certainly has a fairly cringe-worthy ring to it when it rolls off the tongue. However, I also have a deep appreciation for the history and traditions of the great American sport of football- by far the greatest sport the world has ever known- so I can see both sides of the argument. Nevertheless, it does not affect me directly and certainly should not involve me. It most definitely does not involve Sarah Palin. The so-called Politically Correct Police?- You can’t be truly offended by something that does not involve you. As for Mike Ditka? Ok sure, I’ve always liked Ditka and he’s been around the sport long enough to at least voice his opinion on something that involves the NFL… But the minute he starts to make it a political issue, he should be tackled off of the podium by a 6’4’’ 265lbs middle linebacker. This is not about conservatives vs. liberals. It is about a particular group of people that have an issue with what another particular group of people use as their mascot. Summoning others into the debate based on which political party they support creates a conflict that might not be resolved as long as there are differences in political philosophies. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that could be a very, very long time.

  10. Rebecca L says:

    …’Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
    Thou art thyself, though not a Washington Redskin.
    What’s a Washington Redskin? it is nor hand, nor foot,
    Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
    Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
    What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet;
    So the Washington Redskins would, were they not Washington Redskins call’d,
    Retain that dear perfection which he owes
    Without that title. Redskins, doff thy name,
    And for that name which is no part of thee
    Take all myself.

  11. Sharriette F says:

    Sometimes, I feel that I am not paying close enough attention. Apparently, things do not offend me as am I told (by others) that they should. Watching baseball and football are two of my favorite pastimes and have been for the span of my life. It has never crossed my mind to be offended by the team names Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians, or Washington Redskins. Now that this seems to be newsworthy, I wonder what and where the real story is. It certainly cannot be the names of sports team.

    For our Native American brothers and sisters, the story should certainly be about more than the names of sports teams. The story should be about economic development, education, healthcare, overcoming addictions, and rising above poverty. I am dismayed at the valuable time and focus being dedicated to names of sports teams, when the supposed subjects of the debate are all but invisible.

    This debate does bring a euphoric thought to mind. What if the sports teams projecting Native American imagery, college or professional, dedicated substantial funding to developing the Native American community nationwide? That would be newsworthy and noteworthy to me. Hmm…as I consider it, that is something I would really like to see happen.

  12. Jalesa W. says:

    Honestly, I feel there are a lot more current events that should have our focus. The media has been talking about the Washington Redskins’ name for year. Seems like it comes up every time football season starts, then the issue slowly fades away. I was watching First Take on ESPN two days ago and the Redskins’ name became the topic of the hour. I really don’t see what the big problem is with the name. Skip Bayless, one of the sports analysts for First Take, mentioned that 9 out of 10 American Indians do not have a problem with the name. That makes me wonder who really is offended and why. I can say that this country is becoming extremely soft. Too many emotions are involved. I am African American and I can say that I am tired of hearing every issue turn into a racial or discriminant problem. The Washington Redskins, formerly the Boston Redskins, have existed since 1932. Recent years the name has become a problem. The name, to my knowledge, has never been in a problem in the past. The media is creating a problem where there isn’t one. It’s a football team, not racial group. In my opinion, the name gives the American Indians awareness. The American Indians have been through enough in the past. If 9 out of 10 do not have a problem with the name, let’s bury the hatchet and move forward.

    • Hi Jalesa, good points…one quick reply though, Skip Bayless quoted the 9 out of 10 figure as it had come from a supposed survey that the owner of the Redskins Dan Snyder paid for and he obviously has been very outspoken to keep the name as it means millions in merchandising sales. It is difficult to gauge true American Indian sentiment as many tribes do not allow outsiders to come and “take polls.” There is a pending lawsuit by a tribal representative, Ms. Blackfoot, I believe, in addition to the Oneida Tribe opposition. We’ll see.

    • Okwudili Ogbodo says:

      I do not see anything wrong with a historic name, they should be proud of the name in an honor to their ancestors who defended their land. After all, were their skins not reddish? However, I don’t blame them considering the fact that there are some black people that will never buy anything on a Black Friday no matter the historic explanation with the notion that the name scorns black race.

  13. junior j says:

    This is very serious matter. whether the people offended are Native American or Scandinavian doing business in the United States. People have the right to give respect and be respected. The name has out grown its usefulness. As far as I’m concerned if one person can find offense in the name that ground enough to force change. This is no joking matter, a particular political party almost lost their mind when tougher gun laws were being advocated for after children and innocent adults lost their lives to people with guns. But when a very offense name of a football team has reached the end of its life that same particular political party think the other more insightful political party is just overreacting or being to sensitive. Our future as Americans looks bleak.

  14. Luke E says:

    I am a little torn on this one. I can see several sides to this issue. One, most people don’t like change, even if it’s good. We have the right to our own opinion. The owner of the team can do what he wishes, and we express our dissent by boycotting games or protesting on game day. We live in an awesome country that allows free speech, and with that comes the right to be offended. However, I will be the first to say that there has been some racial insensitivity over the years, enter Chief Knock-A-Homa. Then you have the FSU Seminoles which does have the blessing of the Seminole Tribe. I have also heard of a predominately Native American school with redskins as their mascot, and they are reported to not have an issue with the name. I think it is regrettable that the Oneida Tribe dislikes the name. I just spoke of racial insensitivity and I don’t mean to perpetuate that. However, how do more local tribes feel about the name? What if different tribes held different opinions? That would pose more questions. The local tribe may be fine with it, but you could still offend another tribe. In that case, a complete solution would be to change the name to represent the approving tribe. But then that would be a name change. At the end of the day, I have no idea what the best course of action would be. I just hope Native Americans, the owner, the team, and the fans can find a positive solution. I know we can, and I hope there will always be an open line of communication between all parties.

  15. pycarter says:

    Sarah Palin has no interest in the Redskins name change she just say a political headliner opportunity to grab money from people to her cause “Sarah Palin’s bank account growing bigger fundraiser”. Native American names means nothing to her or Mike Ditka who’s more dedicated to Chicago Bears is what I figured. They both could care less because it is not hurting their race of people and Sarah is just wanting to be in the limelight of the news of the day.She just made a mockery of an important issue to the Native Americans who are fighting to save what is left of their ancestry heritage.

  16. Megan G says:

    I appreciate the insightful commentary in this and your other posts. Though I was aware to some degree about the both the Redskins and Braves controversies, this post shed some light on it for me. I think what was illuminating for me is the reverential vs. offensive dynamic. I have read some through the last year to so more about the offensiveness of the names/mascots, but I had not seen much of this “reverential” argument. Maybe an argument involving “tradition”, but not so much “reverence”. I am of the opinion that most, if not all, racially/culturally offensive namesakes, etc, should be done away with, and I am still shocked about some of the offensive things I see happening now. For example, I still see a lot of irreverent “indian” costumes and black face at Halloween. I even saw some things I saw at Thanksgiving this year I found disconcerting for these same reasons.

  17. valdostaphil says:

    The Supreme Court granted cert in Lee v. Tam today. This could be interesting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: