I love the play of RG III, and Hail to the Redskins is a great NFL fight song, but this is where we have to part ways. There are a few big names in sports media dropping the name Washington Redskins. Bill Simmons, Peter King, Christine Brennan won’t publish the name Redskins ever again.
CBS Chicago blogger Tim Baffoe has joined the movement, and he’s convinced me to do the same via his excellent column attacking the train wreck (wait, what’s a train wreck amongst train wrecks?) that is Rick Reilly’s crapola.
For many years I’ve believed that dropping the name Washington Redskins or ‘Skins is the right thing to do. And since that will never happen any time soon, at least I can join the socially progressive voices within the sports media who are doing the right thing.
Hey thanks for coming Washington Redskins, it’s D.C. football team or Washington NFL team from here on out.
What really convinced me to abandon stating the Washington Redskins nickname years ago was learning that
1.) they were founded by the NFL’s biggest bigot, George Preston Marshall, who went out of his way to make his team the old confederacy’s favorite squad, stocking it with people and practices that were relics of the antebellum.
According to professor Charles Ross, “For 24 years Marshall was identified as the leading racist in the NFL”.
While the rest of the league began signing individual African-Americans in 1946 and actually drafting black players in 1949, Marshall held out until 1962 before signing a black player. Along with his own personal views, Marshall refused to sign African-American players because of a desire to appeal to Southern markets. So why Marshall finally come around?
In 1962, Interior Secretary Stewart Udall and Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy issued an ultimatum — unless Marshall signed a black player, the government would revoke the team’s 30-year lease on the year-old D.C. Stadium (now Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium), which had been paid for by government money and was owned by the Washington city government.
2.) That team fight song I like so much is now ruined in my eyes forever, I learned that it’s taken from a Confederate battle hymn. The “win for Old Dixie” lyric was changed to “win for old D.C.” And Marshall once gave us this gem: “We’ll start signing Negroes when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing whites.”
Convinced the Washington Redskins name is racist and offensive? I mean CONSIDER THE SOURCE. Of course it’s racist and offensive.
On 10 June, Tim Graham of the Buffalo News said he would no longer use “the R-word”.
Two days later, Philadelphia Daily News’s veteran sports reporter, John Smallwood, wrote: “I no longer will consciously used the official name of the NFL team in Washington.” On 8 August, Slate’s David Plotz announced that the site would follow suit, and soon after so did the New Republic and Mother Jones. Baffoe and I have joined in.
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An analyst for 95.7 The Fan and 1620 The Zone, he also writes for Chicago Now. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) and FacebookPowered by Sidelines Follow paulmbanks