By Theresa Vargas and Liz Clarke
Daniel Snyder, the owner of one of the NFL’s most profitable football franchises, had asked to see firsthand the struggles of the tribe living amid red-hued mesas. To do that, he needed to see this: A cracked indoor swimming pool that had teemed with children and the elderly before it was condemned about three years ago. A swath of reservation land that had been set aside for hotels and restaurants that were never built because the funding didn’t match the dream. A wellness center where a Zumba class was about to start—one way the community is fighting an alarming diabetes rate.
The team could soon make a financial gesture to address some of these problems, including selling popcorn from a South Dakota tribe at the games. The move, like the name debate itself, promises to draw praise and criticism from the community that has the most at stake: Native Americans.
By Chris Korman
He should also issue a release that says: “After meeting with this proud and noble people, I realize that we minimize their contributions and make their lives more difficult today by calling our team Redskins, which is a racist way of supposedly paying homage to only the narrowest part of this group’s history. Switching the name will send a clear message that we must stop seeing Native Americans as painted warriors and instead as an integral part of our country. Voting for a new name will begin shortly.”
No one's buying it
Why Jews Are Calling on Snyder to Drop 'Redskins'
By Stanley Heller
On the Move On petition site where the statement was housed there was this further explanation for the statement:
The "R" Word is the Same as the "N" Word and the "K" word.
We Jews are appalled that fellow Jew Dan Snyder is blind to the fact that the name of the Washington football team that he owns is racist and deeply offensive to Indian peoples. As Indian leader Clyde Bellecourt said recently the “R” word is no different than the “N” word. We’d add that it’s also no different than the “K” word that has been used to taunt Jews for centuries.
Words matter. They can hurt and humiliate. They can help turn people into targets of hate.
The name of the team has led to other practices that promote humiliating stereotypes like fans wearing “headdresses” of chicken feathers or the mass tomahawk chop or cries to “scalp” opposing teams.
It is especially wrong to be shaming Indians, who have suffered so enormously from mass killing, land theft, treaty breaking and attempts to eradicate their cultures.
By John F. Banzhaf
Team owner Daniel Snyder recently made several trips to Indian areas. Although the trips were supposed to be kept secret, team insiders admit that they are part of a strategy to address the issue of a name many now concede is racist. They suggest that the trips will result in the team paying off cooperative Indians, and even entering into sympathy contracts–e.g. selling popcorn from a tribe at games. The trips, by the way, were arranged by a lobbyist, and were described as “odd” by at least one tribal leader.
Snyder apparently is trying to persuade some Indians, especially those who may be the beneficiaries of his munificence, that Indians have far more serious problems than a racist NFL team name.
That’s obviously true, says Banzhaf, but hardly the point, and is simply an effort to distract attention.
Blacks had much more serious problems than Paula Dean using the n-word in private, or Dan Imus describing black hair as “nappy” or using thee word “Jigaboos,” but even a single use of the words led to condemnation and punishment, although some Blacks says they don’t really mind the use of the word.
Gay people have far more important problems than what a backwoods patriarch says about their sexual practices, but they quickly and strongly condemned his remarks–even though they were allegedly based on the Bible–about their sexual practices.
Fortunately, says Banzhaf, using his vast wealth to try to buy friends for the team’s name is likely to backfire. A former Redskins vice president of public relations admits that Snyder is in a difficult position. He says that using money to woo Indians would not help much, and could be “misinterpreted as a payoff.”
Even a recent ceremony, supposedly to honor Navajo Code talkers, was denounced, with the several Indians participating being called “props” for Snyder. One Navajo Nation Councilman condemned what he called team officials’ “antics to use our beloved and cherished Navajo heroes as pawns in their public relations battle to perpetuate this indignity and ignorance.”
“N*gger, W*tback, Ch*ink, W*p, J*p, etc. are racist insulting words, even though many of each ethic persuasion may not object, or feel that their people face more important issues. No reasonable person would use or repeat a team name like the C*nts, the F*ggots, or the R*tards, although each group faces more serious problems, and some no longer get upset by the use,” argues Banzhaf.