ESPN’s Rick Reilly pissed off a lot of people this week by writing in support of the Washington Redskins’ team name. For decades, team executives have stubbornly clung to the name despite growing outrage from fans and, notably, prominent Native groups who point out that the name is an obvious racial slur.
White America has spoken. You aren’t offended, so we’ll be offended for you.
…The 81-year-old Washington Redskins name is falling, and everybody better get out of the way. For the majority of Native Americans who don’t care, we’ll care for them. For the Native Americans who haven’t asked for help, we’re glad to give it to them.
Trust us. We know what’s best. We’ll take this away for your own good, and put up barriers that protect you from ever being harmed again.
Kind of like a reservation.
Dave Zirin offered up a scathing criqiue of Reily over at The Nation:
Every poll shows overwhelming support for preserving the name as is. But saying "white America" is imposing this name change on the Native American community is not only ass-backward. It is incredibly insulting to every Native American–people like the original activists of the American Indian Movement, Suzan Harjo and Vern Bellecourt–who have organized to change it in the face of constant abuse by high-profile, invariably white sportswriters like Rick Reilly. By not giving even token mention to the long history of Native American organizing or agency, Reilly makes them invisible or implies that they are just pawns of this PC liberal elite just looking to be offended for the sake of being offended.
It’s going to be a very long football season.