Joe Theismann Goes on Fox News to Offer Terrible Defense of “Redskins” Name (Video)
The old debate over the name of that Washington NFL franchise was stirred up again this week when a federal judge upheld the decision of the U.S. Patent Office to cancel the team’s trademark on the name “Redskins.”
Now, I’ll just say right now that I think the Washington NFL team should change it’s name. However, I am willing to admit that there are decent, reasonable arguments to be made for keeping it.
Unfortunately, Washington legend Joe Theismann does not know what those decent arguments are. He went on Fox News’ “Outnumbered” to defend the name this week, and it was just so bad.
Take a look:
That part about the Florida State Seminoles was especially brutal, wasn’t it? “What, it’s okay to use Seminoles just because the Seminole tribe of Florida gave them express written consent to do so?” Uh, yeah Joe, exactly.
Theismann is right about one thing, though: there is disagreement within Native American communities as to whether the R-word is offensive. Some see the word as inherently derogatory and tied to racial abuse and discrimination. Others see it as either harmless or a term of honor. And others still fall in the middle, arguing that the word used to be hateful, but has since been re-appropriated by Native Americans and transformed into something else, much like the n-word has been re-appropriated by African Americans and transformed into something else.
Here’s the crux of the problem, though. Joe says, “The Redskins name, to me, has always represented something special and something sacred and something honorable.”
“To me,” he says.
Joe, for the love of God, it does not matter what the Redskins name means to you. That’s the whole point! You are a rich white guy, and Dan Snyder is a rich white guy. Native Americans may disagree as to whether the r-word is a racial slur, but it is not okay for you (or me, a poor white guy) to decide which Native American viewpoint is correct.
If Native American schools want to call their sports teams the Redskins—and some do—that’s fine. Because it’s their culture and their history and they get to decide what means what to them.
Dan Snyder may be trying to honor Native American culture and history with his team name. But it’s not his culture or history to honor.