Posted June 13, 2013

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell defends Washington Redskins’ nickname

NFL
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the Redskins nickname

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell says the Redskins’ nickname stands for pride and respect. (Getty Images)

Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has said he will never change the team’s nickname, even though some find the name offensive.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seems to back Snyder saying that the nickname is a “unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect” and says the nickname’s origins and polls that support its popularity.

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Last week, Goodell responded to a letter from 10 Congress members who want the Redskins’ name changed because they say it’s offensive to many Native Americans.

“Mr. Goodell … Whether good intentioned or not, the fact of the matter is that the term ‘Redskin’ is a racial slur that disparages Native Americans,” said Congressman Eni Faleomavaega (D-American Samoa), said via NFL.com. “It is time for the NFL to stop making excuses for itself and fully embrace its so-called commitment to diversity,

Said Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota): “Goodell’s letter is another attempt to justify a racial slur on behalf of Dan Snyder and other NFL owners who appear to be only concerned with earning ever larger profits. …

“Indian children, families and elders are Americans,” McCollum added, “and just like all racial, ethnic, or religious groups, they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, not as a demeaning caricature or mascot. That shouldn’t be too much to ask of the NFL.”


103 comments
xrmyav8tr
xrmyav8tr

Offer him a billion for the team and change the name to whatever you want or just don't watch.

LizzardQueen
LizzardQueen

I am an indigenous person to this land. I do not refer to myself as a Native American, as we were native before it was America. I am a Tuscarora woman, and that is how I identify myself. I do not, at this stage in my life, find the name Redskins overly offensive, but at one point, I found it to be a moral outrage. What I NOW find more morally outrageous, however, is the fact that the majority of America finds it acceptable to use a racial slur as a team name. If the 1.7% of the population depicted by a racial slur were of any other racial origin, the name would have been changed long ago! That is a fact. But seeing as it is only referring to a population long ago "conquered" it is a non issue. I do not care if NOT ONE single person is offended by the name! It is still a racial slur and it is still wrong to use it as the name of a sports team. Way to go, America, you have proven yourself as ignorant as the rest of the world perceives you to be.  

And to the many people who point out that the word "redskin" has other meanings, yes, it does. Maybe they can keep their name but change their logo, which I find more offensive than their name anyway, as they do not represent, in any way, shape, or form, the indigenous person they depict. Might I propose they change their logo to a small red skinned potato, as that is an alternate meaning of the word! Better yet, why not change their logo to a beer guzzling white man with a big belly, white-blonde mullet, and a sunburn, as that also depicts red skin and is more representative of their target audience! 

DavyJones
DavyJones

Epic fail, Mr. Goodell.  To all the people commenting that it isn't a racial slur, I congratulate you on proving your ignorance.  As the old saying goes, "It is better to be thought of as ignorant than to open your mouth and prove it."

BrianGriffin1
BrianGriffin1

If I asked 10 random people if they hate the Redskins- I'm confident that every one of them would know that I'm referring to the football team. I've never heard anyone use the term as derogatory. If anything they should be upset about being called Indians. I believe Columbus gave them the name because he thought he had discovered India.


HTTR

michael.f.passe
michael.f.passe

"Redskin" - Cambridge Dictionary: "Old-fashioned for Native American; OFFENSIVE." Miriam Webster Dictionary: American Indian; USUALLY OFFENSIVE." Now I don't care if you name your BLEEPING football team the Tightwad Jews or the Pica ninnies or any other offensive moniker you can come up with, and if you want to find a rationalization for using a racist slur as a team nickname, I'm sure you will find one. Fine with me. But don't try to pretend that Redskin is not a racial slur because it is, and that's ALL that it is. Brave is not. Seminole is not. Chief is not. Redskin is.

RJC
RJC

I find this whole discussion over blown. The same that changed the Braves symbol. Overblown.  You got predominantly non-native Americans wearing, displaying, fighting and cheering for the given name with pride and fever and you're upset? Is the term somewhat un-PC? Maybe. But in the spectrum of offensive terms it falls pretty low imho. Look at FSU... The Seminole nation is in full support of the use of their symbolism for the University. They get it. I'm Italian & in a wheelchair. If you can get them to switch the name to the Washington Handicapped Guitos I've got a great mascot for you & I'd be happy to see millions wear it with pride.

BryanCramer
BryanCramer

As a Native American, I believe that there are more important issues at hand then the name of a mascot. In a world where too much focus is placed on political correctness, we need to concentrate more on being correct as a country. This argument is reminiscent of a child's tattle tale because another child told them they were "icky". A person is only who they believe they are so derogatory remarks or "racist" remarks should never be reflected upon themselves but more so on the insecurities of the person issuing such said remarks. If people were confident enough to believe in that, all of this Government money being wasted on changing the moniker of an NFL team could be used towards something like Health Care on Tribal Lands or promoting the higher education of Tribal Youths. Priorities!

CliffLubin
CliffLubin

Maybe it's time that Dan Snyder and Roger Goodell take the lead of a small Middle America town from decades ago. When I began college at Bradley University in September '69, I was astounded that a high school and town adjacent to Peoria used and apparently reveled in that day and age in using the nickname "Chinks". I, for one, am glad to know that those folks finally saw the light in 1980. It is more than past time that the Messrs. Snyder and Goodell see that same light.

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1994-12-05/news/1994339058_1_chinks-pekin-high-tribune

Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

After listening to ALL the PROS and CONS of this argument, I must admit.....Goodell is a complete MORON! Maybe we should change the Packers name to the Bay area Honkies. Or perhaps "Crackers" would be better! How about the LA N*****s instead of the Dodgers! 

History tells us the original owner of the Redskins (pardon me) was a fouled mouth racist pig, and should have been dealt with during his tenure as team owner. We're SUPPOSE TO BE an enlightened year 2013, but by all indications by Goodell, it's still the 50's and 60's again. GROW UP GOODELL!!!

marino.eccher
marino.eccher

Ah, I see "quarter-baked defenses of racial slurs by white people who think the logo and colors are cool and can't imagine anything as sacred as a football team name changing" is in full session. I'll let myself out.

scotto80
scotto80

they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, not as a demeaning caricature or mascot

Hmnm Fighting Irish...not only is the mascot a caricature..it can be viewed as a stereotype as well! I find it amazing that no one fusses over Notre Dame's nickname or mascot.

burghkid18
burghkid18

well if the name redskin is offensive to everyone why not change all the indian name in sports

KeithHopkins
KeithHopkins

And congress is involved in this because...? The redskins are a private company. They could call themselves the Washington "N" word and it would be between them and their customers. While I'm at it, why is the "N" word anymore or less vile than any other slang word for a different race. It's because some politically correct person put out that this word is worse than other words. It's like saying that two curse words having the same meaning are different because one sounds worse than the other. George Carlin " You can prick you finger, but don't finger your prick".

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

The practical reality here is that Native-Americans only comprise 1.7% of the US population.

So basically, they just don't get a say in this.

And all platitudes to the contrary are a load of horse manure.

Action
Action

As a white man, if a team wanted to call themselves the Pellies, the Gringos, the Round Eyes, the Honkies, or the Crackers, I'd think that was funny and appreciate the irony of it.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

You know, the only public opinion poll on this subject that should actually matter should be one that exclusively polls Native-Americans.

RomarioDelLago
RomarioDelLago

The fact that they even had to WASTE their time explaining themselves to our wacked out liberal morons in congress is pathetic.  I'm 25% Native American and I have zero issues with the name.  Just typical liberal stupidity and political correctness run rampant.  What a surprise.

playrighter
playrighter

Simple solution.  Keep the name.  Change the mascot to a peanut.  Sell team mascots in the stands. 

ManuelGarciaDeParedes
ManuelGarciaDeParedes

Why aren't we seeing any white americans offended by the name Cowboys or religious people offended by the Saints. The name has tradition and in 80 years nobody has said anything, why now?

BenWilburn
BenWilburn

@michael.f.passe Yes, this only convinces me that Goodell is a cruel and dishonest person. Since when does he listen to polls anyway?

michael.f.passe
michael.f.passe

@RJC Since FSU was able to obtain the permission of the Seminole Tribe in using "Seminoles" as its mascot, perhaps Roger Goodell can get permission from "redskins" to use that name, too. No?

BillPeterson
BillPeterson

@KeithHopkins Congress is involved because it potentially violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which Goodell - a lawyer - should probably recognize. The law, in part, prohibits discrimination in places of work. So you could not actually have a business or sports team called the Washington N word and claim First Amendment privileges anymore than you could rent out apartments called the "I Hate _____'s Apartments." 

BillPeterson
BillPeterson

@leehwgoc Where you're wrong, fortunately, is that they will get a say because they have support beyond their population and the judicial system exists to protect minorities from the idea that the majority can do whatever it wants. 

David2
David2

@leehwgoc  Part of that "practical reality" is also the fact that a significant number of Native American groups do not object to the name.  Quite a bit of the controversy and outrage over the name is purely imagined by those not actually affected by it.

Action
Action

@leehwgoc Good point, which is why Native Americans should be more offended by the term Cowboy, as in Cowboys and Indians.

TwitSpif
TwitSpif

@Action A better analogy would be if a team wanted to call themselves the Twin Tower Bombers, or the McVeigh's, or the Zionist Infidels. Redskin was not usually used in friendly manner. 

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

@Action Kudos to you, then.

But any public opinion poll would go against it in a landslide.

Bill20
Bill20

@leehwgoc Even if this were true, most are not offended, according to the two most recent and reliable surveys.  In 2002, 75% of Native Americans in a Sports Illustrated survey said that they were not offended by the team name "Redskins."  In 2004, 90% of Native Americans polled in a survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center said they were not offended (9% said they were).  

Source:  http://www.volokh.com/archives/archive_2009_05_10-2009_05_16.shtml#1242423155

So even if the "only views that matter" are those of Native Americans, it's really not even a close question whether most Native Americans are offended by the name -- they aren't.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

@RomarioDelLago Then you wouldn't have a problem with the Washington Negroes or the Washington Honkies?

SOMEHOW, I think you would.

Oh and btw, I don't believe for a second one of your grandparents is full-blooded Native-American.

RomarioDelLago
RomarioDelLago

@ManuelGarciaDeParedes - Mainly because we have a bunch of whiny, dope-smoking, tree-hugging hippies in congress, mostly voted in their by masses of 18 year old idiots with no life-experience who spent most of their formative years being brain-washed by our liberal education system.  And sadly there's surely more of this to come. 

Jafari
Jafari

@ManuelGarciaDeParedes mainly because white people coined the term 'cowboys' to describe themselves and a saint has a common meaning of being a good person and does not necessarily have any connection to church recognition or canonization. And you are in error or either very young if you believe that the term is only offensive now. Descendants of the Seminole tribe, like myself, have long considered this term and other depictions and caricatures to be offensive to native Americans.

BenWilburn
BenWilburn

@michael.f.passeFrom Wikipedia
"His legacy includes the George Preston Marshall Foundation which serves the interests of children in the Washington, DC area. The $6 million he left had the qualification that none of it could be used "for any purpose which supports or employs the principle of racial integration."
Marshall has gained infamy for his intractable opposition to having African-Americans on his roster. According to professor Charles Ross, "For 24 years Marshall was identified as the leading racist in the NFL".[3] Though the league had previously had a sprinkling of black players, blacks were excluded from all NFL teams just one year after the then-Boston Braves entered the league."
It's pretty clear that the man was a bigot and that the name was intended as a term of derision. Goodell is indeed a liar. 

KeithHopkins
KeithHopkins

BS. Congress is involved because it makes them look like they care.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

@Action @leehwgoc Er, I don't see how that makes any sense.  'Cowboy' refers to cattle-drivers that were known for driving herds across other people's land.  Nothing to do with Native-Americans, although obviously the word has lost its original definition as an insult over time.

Action
Action

@leehwgoc @Action True, but it would white people acted offended, not really offended.  Yuppie Scum would be more offensive than Honky.

RomarioDelLago
RomarioDelLago

@leehwgoc @RomarioDelLago - First off, I could not care less if you do or don't believe me.  The facts won't change because of your general stupidity or ignorance.  ;)  Secondly, there is nowhere near the same connotation here - but again, I'd imagine that since you're most likely some idiotic card-carrying liberal, you'll lack the brain cells to realize that anyway. 

Action
Action

@leehwgoc @RomarioDelLago I'd have a problem with the N word because that's an especially vile term.  Honkies doesn't bother me, and nobody has ever called me that.  If a team was dumb enough to use such a stupid term I'd think it was funny.

BigGeorge
BigGeorge

@michael.f.passe

You keep saying Redskin has ONLY one meaning but that doesn't make it true.  Words often have more that one meaning and this is a prime example of that.  When Red Mesa H.S or the Washington franchise chose the name it was a positive term that denotes 'fighting spirit' or something similar.  When  a team chooses Pirates or Buccaneers it is relatively the same.  No one is actually promoting killing and maiming as these monikers represent.  It is for fun.  Take it as that and you might grow up a little.  

michael.f.passe
michael.f.passe

@Bill20 @6marK6 This is rationalization; putting racism up for a popular vote is similarly stupid. Is it not enough that these people live in abject poverty on the leftover dumping ground lands that the railroads didn't seize from them? The dominant culture now needs to humiliate them by turning them into cartoon characters? Lots of Native Americans that I have known (and as a guide on the Navajo and Hopi reservations in Arizona I have probably met plenty more than you have) ARE offended by the name, but many of them that I talk to really couldn't care less what we morons name our football teams. It's US that should care. Instead, we continue to rationalize the use of a term that has NO other meaning than as a racist slur.

David2
David2

@6marK6  That you simply can't believe that and call it "bullcrap" is not a convincing refutation. 

Bill20
Bill20

@6marK6  Sorry, but this is not true, according to the two most recent and reliable surveys.  In 2002, 75% of Native Americans in a Sports Illustrated survey said that they were not offended by the team name "Redskins."  In 2004, 90% of Native Americans polled in a survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center said they were not offended (9% said they were).  

Source:  http://www.volokh.com/archives/archive_2009_05_10-2009_05_16.shtml#1242423155

So even if the "only views that matter" are those of Native Americans, it's really not even a close question whether most Native Americans are offended by the name -- they aren't.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

@Action @leehwgoc Actually, my 'Indians' usually won, because I thought their figurines looked cooler.

Action
Action

@leehwgoc @Action Didn't you play Cowboys and Indians when you were a kid?  The idea was the Cowboys killed the Indians.  OK....not my best material...just trying to keep the string going.

michael.f.passe
michael.f.passe

@leehwgoc @Action @RomarioDelLago Look the word "Redskin" up in any dictionary. It is labeled "offensive." It is a racial slur, it always has been. Today it may be an archaic racist slur, but fortunately the good folks in the NFL have managed to keep it alive.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

@Action @leehwgoc @RomarioDelLago Any name becomes an insult when its used in hate or condescension.  'Honky' was once such.   If you were a white guy living in Harlem in the first half of the 20th century, you'd have only ever heard the word said to you in contempt or outright hate.

In the 19th century, 'redskin' was used in exactly the same way.

Action
Action

@leehwgoc @Action @RomarioDelLago Negro is too much like the other N word when used in that context.  Negro, the Spanish word for black, obviously doesn't bother me.  Maybe the reason Honky doesn't bother me is because nobody has ever called me a Honky, and also because being white has never been a barrier to my getting a job or a loan or service in a store.

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

@Action @leehwgoc @RomarioDelLagoActually, Negro is an entirely politically correct term.  It's actually scientific in its etymology.

Honky is a slur, though, so it's ironic that's the one that *doesn't* bother you.