By John Ruberry
“Your sports team is vastly inferior
That simple fact is plainly obvious to see
We’re gonna kick your collective posterior
Of course you realize we’re speaking figuratively.”
Weird Al Yankovic, Sports Song.
The generic send-up of fight anthems, Sports Song, on Weird Al Yankovic’s latest album is quite timely today. This afternoon the Houston Texans will host the Washington Redskins as the National Football League regular season begins in full.
There’s that nickname–Redskins. Many self-righteous liberals, including President Obama and most of the Democratic US Senate caucus, are demanding that the Washington franchise change its name to something they deem less offensive.
Team owner Dan Snyder is firmly committed to keeping the Redskins name and an overwhelming majority of Americans agree with him.
The only notable conservative, as far as I know, who favors a name change is Washington-based Charles Krauthammer.
Daily newspapers have entered the fray. Yesterday the Charlotte Observer told its readers that with the exception of stories about the team name controversy, it won’t use Redskins in stories about the DC gridiron team. Charlotte’s football entry, the Carolina Panthers, won’t meet the ‘Skins this season unless it’s in the playoffs.
Among the television sports personalities who vow to avoid the Washington team moniker are Phil Simms and Tony Dungy.
The Detroit News and the Seattle Times swore off use of the Redskins name this summer. Seattle’s football team, the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks, hosts the ‘Skins for a Monday night game on October 6. I’ll have to take a look at the Times as their reporters struggle with avoiding the Redskins name. “Your sports team is vastly inferior,” could be a Seattle Times taunt for the Redskins next month. Or the paper could channel the Harry Potter books and refer to the ‘Skins as The-Team-That-Must-Not-Be-Named.
The Washington Post is taking an Obama-style tepid stand. It won’t use the nickname on its editorial page.
Where do I stand? While I admit that Redskins is a slur against Native Americans, the use of the team name is over 80 years old. The nickname is older than the Washington Redskins themselves–the Boston Redskins took their first snap in 1933 before moving to the District of Columbia four years later. So when virtually anyone hears “Redskins,” they know the word refers to the football team, not to indigenous Americans.
Go Redskins! I wish you great success–unless you’re playing my Chicago Bears, who I hope “kick your collective posterior.”
John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.