Peter King, the most eminent NFL writer in America, has let it be known that he will no longer use the nickname of Washington’s football team in his column. (I swore off some time ago.) He says he has no desire to insult people gratuitously. Team owner Daniel Snyder is adamantly against change. “We’ll never change the name,” he has said. “It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.” Is it just me, or does that phrasing remind you of George Wallace saying “ I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever”?
Today Commissioner Roger Goodell began the process of throwing Snyder under the bus. Back in June, Goodell wrote a letter to Congress defending the Redskins team nickname, calling it “a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.” On Tuesday, he put some space between him and Chief Snyder. “If one person’s offended, we have to listen,” Goodell said, via the DC Sports Bog. “And ultimately, it is Dan [Snyder]‘s decision. But it is something that I want all of us to go out and make sure we’re listening to our fans, listening to people who have a different view, and making sure that we continue to do what’s right to make sure that team represents the strong tradition that it has for so many years.”
Makes you think of that old joke whose punch line is “Who you calling kemosabe, Paleface?”
Why not just rename the team the Washington Arrows? It’s the best of both worlds–a connection to the Washington football tradition that is itself ethnically neautral.
And no one is offended.