FAIR WARNING: DUE TO THE SUBJECT MATTER CONTAINED HEREIN, THE FOLLOWING POST IS DELIBERATELY OFFENSIVE. IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE TO OFFENSIVE MATERIAL, PLEASE LEAVE NOW. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
Since Dan Snyder refuses to change the name of the Washington D.C. football team and he insists that the name “Redskins” is respectful to Native Americans, here at My Not So Humble Opinion we’d like to offer a few alternatives that are equally respectful, and yet might allow for some compromise on this sensitive issue.
- The D.C. Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys
- The Washington Wetbacks
- The D.C. Micks
- The Washington Wops
- The D.C. Hymies
- The Washington Shoe Shine Boys
- The D.C. Rednecks
- The Washington Papes
- The D.C. Camel Jockeys
- The Northern Virginia Macacas
- The Washington Crackers
- The D.C. Sheep Shaggers
- The Washington Goyim
- The D.C. Krauts
- The Washington Limeys
- The D.C. Peckerwoods
- The Washington Shiksas (for the Redskinettes)
- The D.C. You Know You’re Thinking It, So Just Go ahead And Say It Alreadys
- The Washington Senators
10. Russet potatoes feel left out
9. “Wounded Knee” should refer to historic battle, not Robert Griffin III
8. “Pox Ridden Blanket” Theme Night not a big success
7. Other minorities don’t have major league sports teams named after their favorite ethnic slurs
6. Can’t be called the home team because “we were here first”
5. Team owner Dan Snyder insists on referring to season tickets as “reservations”
4. Stadium concessions stands refuse to accept beads and animal skins as currency
3. Tribes can’t scalp… tickets
2. D.C. allows casinos, but won’t put one in the stadium
1. Polls show Native Americans don’t want to be associated with the Federal government
In case you don’t follow football, there’s growing controversy over the name of the Washington football team, to the point where some news outlets won’t even print or say the name. (It’s Redskins, for those of you who are unaware.) The controversy is that this name is alleged to be a racial slur and thereby offensive, and there are those who are urging team owner Dan Snyder to change the name to something less offensive. On the other side of the debate you have Dan Snyder who continues to assert there is nothing offensive about the team name, it is a proud tradition, and he will never change the name (his words, not mine).
I find myself a bit torn on this one, although only a bit. The knee-jerk libertarian in me wants to say it’s his team and he can do what he wants with it, and free speech, and yada yada yada, but on the other hand I can understand where the offended parties are coming from and I don’t think Snyder is doing himself any favors. For all I care he can call the team the Hooligans, the Rednecks, or even the Crackers and I wouldn’t be offended, but that’s not the point. It’s not my place to tell people whether or not they should be offended, and it certainly isn’t Dan Snyder’s place either. His continues attempts to defend the team name involve so many logical fallacies it’s hard to list them all, but for starters how about: appeal to emotion, ad hominem (one of Dan’s favorites), bandwagon, anecdotal, and the fallacy fallacy.
There is of course the lawsuit moving forward to revoke the trademark protection for the team name, which some people have argued would force Snyder to change the team name, but then I doubt it. If it was only about money he would have done it a long time ago. For Snyder it’s about power and control. He will do what he wants, when he wants, how he wants, and damn the consequences (if you don’t believe me, ask any Washington football fan). With friends like this the home team doesn’t need enemies, but then it doesn’t much matter, because Dan “Never – you can use caps” Snyder has proven time and again he’d rather lose ten million dollars “proving” he’s right than earn a red nickel admitting he was wrong.
Of course, there is another side to all of this. As My Not So Humble Wife pointed out, it’s a numbers game, and until there are enough people offended to form an army that will march on Washington and threaten to burn down the stadium, Snyder won’t even think about budging. There are also a lot of loyal fans who have a lot of emotion tied up in the team’s identity as well, memories of good times and friends and even loved ones long gone who were bonded with over the team, and that is a powerful force to contend with as well. Simply letting that go because there is a “vocal minority” that is offended is going to be hard for them, and people need to respect that. Simply shouting “you’re wrong!” is never a way to make friends and influence people (or so I have found). Insistence that “if one person is offended, this is something we have to listen” is more likely to make them more defensive and hostile than to bring them around. Better to point out the ways that the Washington team has evolved over its proud history, for example moving away from “Dixie” to “D.C.” in the fight song and finally accepting integration of players.
Talk of being on “the right side of history” is a threat, and threats drive people apart. Maybe it’s time we start talking about how we want to have a team in our nation’s capital that the whole nation can be proud of, and that the entire country will stand to cheer. Hail to you, Washington, whatever your team may be.
Once again it seems that Major League Baseball is facing a doping scandal, although hopefully this time it will be a minor one. I would say I’m surprised, but then even I wouldn’t believe me. Doping scandals in professional sports have become more common than paternity tests, and I for one don’t really understand why when there seems to be a simple solution. Let ‘em dope.
Here’s how I see it. The great myth of professional sports these days is that these players are at the height of physical perfection, having worked for years to hone their bodies, their skills, and their natural talent all for love of the game. Does anyone even begin to believe that line of bullshit anymore? Even a little? That was the same line they sued to feed us about the Olympics, and that was back when people barely even watched them (as opposed to now, when people… oh, wait.) Then the Olympic Committee finally admitted that the Olympic athletes really were basically professional athletes (and some of them were professionals in fact as well as in theory) and finally changed the rules of the game. Maybe it’s time professional sports had a similar moment of self-realization.
Most people don’t watch professional sports because they want to see a well-executed play handled with grace and skill. They watch because they want to see a 100-MPH fastball or an out of the park homerun. Passing is passé; they thrill to see the perfect three-point shot or awesome slam dunk. Even golf isn’t immune. Talk all day about a great short game if you want, it’s the guy with the 425 yard drive who gets people excited. So why not give the people what they want?
I’m not suggesting that dopers should be let off the hook. They knew the rules going in, and they decided not to abide by them. For every doper in professional sports (whether or not they’ve been caught), there’s somebody who played fair that never got to go to the Big Show. But does it really make that much of a difference to kick them out for a half a season, or even an entire season, if they just get to come back? Does that really send the message “don’t do it”, or does it send the message “don’t get caught, and if you do make sure you have a good lawyer”?
Instead, how about having two separate leagues? One league can be just like the leagues we have now, where any sort of doping is forbidden, only in my vision of things if you get caught you get bounced. No suspensions, no probation, just one and done, you’re out, no exceptions. In the other league you can do any sort of artificial enhancement you and your conscience can agree to, as long as it’s legal in the country you had it done, and you also have to register with the league all the enhancements you’ve had done (and no, I don’t care if you think it’s not relevant to your performance. We’ll decide that.)
In this vision of sports, we’ll be able to sort out what the people really want. Do they truly care about “the height of physical perfection” and players’ “love of the game”? Or is it all just about the biggest, wildest spectacle possible? We might learn as much about ourselves as we do about our athletes.