by Chris Lingebach
In an interview with Lavar Arrington and Chad Dukes on 106.7 The Fan Wednesday, Goodell emphasized the importance of both honoring tradition, as well as listening to fans of differing points of view, with regards to the largely debated team name.
“Well as you guys know, I grew up in Washington, so the Colts were my team early on and then I became a Redskins fan,” Goodell told Lavar and Dukes. “I know the team name is part of their history and tradition, and that’s something that’s important to the Redskins fans.”
“I think what we have to do though is we have to listen,” Goodell said. “If one person is offended, we have to listen.”
By Tom Geoghegan
It's one of the most famous names in American sports, with a logo recognised the world over.
But even fans of the Washington Redskins are facing up to a belief that it might all have to change.
For many years, some people have questioned why the football team has a name that Native Americans find offensive. And now the campaign is building momentum.
Protests have been organised to greet the team at their away game on Sunday in Wisconsin, which will also mark the start of a season-long ad campaign on the local radio airwaves in every city the team will visit.
More and more journalists are refusing to use the name, the most recent refusenik being Christine Brennan at USA Today, who announced the move on Thursday, thereby joining Peter King at Sports Illustrated and Mike Wise at the Washington Post.
Attitudes are also changing at grassroots level. A high school in upstate New York changed its nickname to "Hawkeyes" in April after students complained the longstanding "Redskins" nickname was offensive. A month later, members of Congress formally asked the league to consider a name change.
Players have remained silent but not former players. Washington football great Art Monk said no-one should question why Native Americans feel this way about the name.
The radio ad campaign which begins on Sunday is aimed at educating listeners in every city that hosts the team why the word offends, and is organised by the federally-recognised tribe Oneida Nation.
"It's derogatory, it's dehumanising, it's degrading and it's high time this was addressed and changed because it gives the wrong message to the world," says its leader Ray Halbritter, who says he was called a redskin at school.
Then there's Rush Limbaugh, whose long history of racism is well-documented:
Rush Limbaugh Denies Anyone Is Offended By 'Redskins' Name (Audio)
By Michael Allen
According to The Washington Post, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told WJFK-FM on Tuesday: "If one person's offended, we have to listen. 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."
However, Limbaugh denied that anyone was actually offended by the name "Redskins," noted MediaMatters.org.
"The Redskins sell out every week, NFL TV ratings are sky high, Redskins' paraphernalia sells through the roof, who is bothered by this?" asked Limbaugh (audio below).
"They can cram nearly 100,000 people in that stadium and every time they have a game it is full. Who's offended? This is a manufactured controversy, manufactured by the left. And they want the government to come in or a powerful authority to tell this individual owner what he can or can't do, unwittingly supporting the loss of liberty and freedom," claimed Limbaugh.
The talk show host didn't mention that Native American Indian tribes have been protesting the team name for years.
"The name is one of the last vestiges of racism that is held right out in the open in America," Native American activist Suzan Shown Harjo told NPR this week.
The Oneida Indian Nation has started a radio ad campaign against the name, reported the Mercury News.
According to the Associated Press, ten Congressional members requested a name change back in May.
Rush is a big fat liar if he thinks we care how the nickname goes away. All we want is it gone.
And if the "freedom" to use racist slurs is diminished...well, that's no big loss. If bigots like Limbaugh don't like having to curb their bigotry, they can leave.