In a story likely to be missed by the local media, the Washington Redskins won a 17-year legal battle against a group of Native Americans petitioning the team to drop its racist trademark.
Redskins attorney Bob Raskopf said millions have been spent on the Redskins brand and the team would have suffered great economic loss if they lost the trademark registrations. “It’s a great day for the Redskins and their fans and their owner Dan Snyder,” he said.
Wonderful. Millions of merchandising dollars will be saved, and only for the small price of mass-marketed racial insensitivity towards an entire group of American citizens. While they’re at it, why doesn’t the team endow a George Wallace Memorial Scholarship and bump members of the Leesburg chapter of the Ku Klux Klan up on the season ticket list.
There’s no reason to go into the racial connotations of the name, because if you need an explanation, you’ve already missed the boat on the discussion. And it’s not that everybody who likes the term Redskins or is not bothered by it is a raving lunatic or bumbling racist.
At this point in history, you just hope for the majority of people to “get it.” You want so much for people to be separated on issues that don’t matter, like sports, and tolerant and understanding on the issues that do. Is a name really that serious, that even in its explicit offensiveness and hurtful nature, people just have to have it?
We all have a role to play in this life. We all have to believe in something, and we have to believe in it forcefully enough to make our lives make sense and feel valuable.
Daniel Snyder, his administration, and legions of Washington football fans believe that this name and its imagery mean everything to the history of the franchise. Records, players, and memories are Legacy 1b, but the term "Redskins" is 1a.
I believe that people who believe that are dead wrong. Nothing personal, just a separate set of beliefs.
To that end, I have to back up my own beliefs in a more forceful way than I have been. It will cost me pageviews, it will cost me Adsense clicks, Google search results, and likely, loyal readers. But inaction, no matter how small on an independent blog, is strong advocacy for the wrong ideals.
And to that end, I will never again mention the term “Redskins” on this blog.
To everyone who enjoys reading this blog and my opinion, please understand my moral approach to this and do not take it as a personal attack on your fandom or morals.
But, I don’t publish profanity, I don’t make jokes about homosexuality, race or gender, and I don’t go out of my way to viciously attack people when facts are so much more attractive to bombard.
I avoid these things, not because I’m above them, but because I believe that they are below the standard of what’s necessary to create or enjoy good sports writing.
I’m entertained by gaudy jokes as much as the next guy, but the craft of blogging is and will be so much more than the juvenile humor that attracts millions of readers on thousands of sports blogs each and every day.
For that, I owe the craft much more than the common and usual. I owe the craft my genuine respect, and my genuine care.
Now, is that too much to ask from a billion-dollar company? Respect and care towards another group of people?