NFL Is On The Wrong Side of History On This One

I’m a Redskins fan. I was born into it and I love the team. It’s been hard to reconcile all that I know about history, language and hate and still put on my favorite Redskins jersey every Sunday. I know that it’s wrong and yet I sincerely love the team and its players. I wish that the NFL could find a way to honor this team, its history and its fans while also offering respect for a population of this country that has been, frankly, decimated. Very thoughtful and interesting suggestions have been made. I wish that someone would have the good sense to consider them and execute them. The NFL has the money. It simply needs the courage. How can such big, rich, seemingly untouchable men be so utterly irresponsible and cowardly?

And yes, I recognize that I’m a hypocrite. I have an RGIII throwback jersey that I can’t wait to start wearing again when the season starts. I’m just as guilty as the fools at NFL headquarters.

No More Race

Come on Roger Goodell. Don’t be on the wrong side of history.

After receiving a letter from 10 members of Congress on May 13 urging him to remove the “racial, derogatory slur” from the name of one of his league’s marquee franchises, Goodell responded in a letter dated June 5 that was posted online by Indian Country Today Media Network on Tuesday. Goodell defended the moniker by citing the team’s rationale for choosing it in 1933 as well as it’s current meaning among fans.

“The Washington Redskins name has thus from its origin represented a positive meaning distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context,” Goodell wrote. “For the team’s millions of fans and customers, who represent one of America’s most ethnically and geographically diverse fan bases, the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.”

He and others need to realize that it doesn’t matter…

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12 thoughts on “NFL Is On The Wrong Side of History On This One

  1. Love this post and your heartfelt words. It is indeed tough when you support the team. But as you say the team is not the name it is more than that. I am an RG3 fan and will be no matter what. But it will be nice when we can root for him or the team without living with that insult.

    Thanks for the reblog.

    • I love your blog, Earnest! I’m happy to reblog. And this really hits home for me–in Maryland, everyone wears their stuff because it’s home team pride. But here in Massachusetts, where there are multiple large and active Native American populations, I feel almost embarrassed to wear my jersey out. As much as I love my team, this takes away from a great legacy. It really should be addressed.

  2. I’ve never understood the up in arms argument about things like “Indian style” or the team names. Perhaps I am just of the opinion that that doesn’t represent my heritage nor is it an inflammatory slur that is used in a derogatory fashion. But hey, that’s just me. 🙂

    • I understand where you are coming from, Amber. I guess that’s part of the privilege, though. We don’t see it as a big deal because it isn’t our culture. And for white people, I can’t think of an equivalent term (maybe the “Paddies” or something for the Irish?) that would evoke a similar feeling of ire? If there was a Boston Paddies or even New York Paddies, I bet some people would be pissed off. We can make choices that don’t alienate others. This is an alienating thing for a group of people, we -know- that it’s alienating, yet we do nothing about it because it comes down to money. It’s not right.

      And the fact that the team is one of the most lucrative in the league and that its homebase is technically the nation’s capital (though they haven’t played within the city in more than a decade) adds a bit of insult to injury.

      • Oh, see, because it IS my culture. I am half Native American and my entire family still lives on a reservation. I am not a person that is 1/16th or some other nonsense. I grew up in that culture and was raised to love and respect that part of my heritage. Just because someone looks white, doesn’t mean that they are, of which you blog about often, if I’m not mistaken.

        Which brings me back to my statement that, as a recognized member of a Cherokee Tribe, it doesn’t offend me. Not as some white person just spouting off.

        Also, you just said “you people” which I would say was offensive in a way that I am sure you are aware of.

        I think that the name of a sports team is not something that should reap a benefit without financially honoring the people that they claim they are representing. But the term itself was what I was referring to.

        • Amber, I’m so sorry. This is totally a misunderstanding. I know that you are multi-racial, though I didn’t know that it was Native American specifically. We’ve talked about this before and you know very well that I respect that.

          The “You people” was a typo. A very careless one that which I’m going to edit right now.

          I’m grateful that it isn’t a big deal for you. I know that there are others of Native American heritage who share the same view. I am simply conscious that there are some people out there who very strongly feel differently about it, and I, as a person who is not part of the culture, who understands what it feels like to marginalized and who also knows that I’m actively participating in the marginalization, am trying to be cognizant of what is being discussed and the feelings that fly from that discussion.

          And for the record, I’d never think that you’re just some white person spouting off on something. That is not what I meant to imply.

          In my attempt to further explain, I became extremely careless. It further upsets me that I’ve offended you in particular, Amber, because you’ve been a reader for such a long time. I wouldn’t be still blogging if it wasn’t for your support. I hope that you’ll see my sincerity–My carelessness has become harmful.

        • I’m so embarrassed by my carelessness. I’m really, really sorry.

          For all my words and thoughts, I make incredibly stupid mistakes, too. (This is why I don’t yell at people who call me a nanny).

          I’m really sorry, Amber. I feel incredibly stupid.

          • It’s no biggie, really. When I read it, I just thought you were having a bad or something of the like! I mean, most people would never know that I’m Native American so I’m not surprised when people don’t know. I did want to clarify so it didn’t come across as flippant and insensitive to a culture that I wasn’t a part of.


            • No, no. All of that was me being extremely careless and insensitive in my own right. I’m so embarrassed that I just wrote a post about it. If I’d taken 50 seconds to think before I wrote, I would have completely restructured that reply. That was about me, and I totally learned something after your reply–because for a long moment I thought that I’d insulted you to the point that you wouldn’t return. The thought of that really broke my heart. There is no one to blame here but me. That reply was not who I am and it wasn’t the best representation of my thoughts in that or any moment. I’m really, sincerely, sorry for that. I’m not going to blame long or bad days or distractions or anything like that because the bottom line is that I was careless and stupid.

              I’m glad that you came back to reply. I hope that you’ll forgive me. I try my best not to be a careless idiot, but I was when I wrote that reply.

              • It’s really no big deal, I promise. If I’m honest, I was a tiny bit offended but only because of the “you people” part which was a typo. I just felt like I was classed with the ignorant redneck subgroup that is one foot in a white cloak and hood and one foot in your face.

                I just hate people like that and it seemed -just for a moment- that is the way that my comment was viewed so that must be who I was. I was a little hurt and probably clarified with too much voracity. I’m sorry!

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