I raise this in case any of y’all would like to weigh in. I’ve never felt inclined to, on account of this being about, you know, football, and it is my firm belief that far, far more than enough words get spent on that subject on a daily basis.
But in case you want to discuss it, here’s the latest:
WASHINGTON — Fifty members of the Senate have signed a letter to the N.F.L.to urge its leadership to press the Washington Redskins to change the team name in the aftermath of tough sanctions against the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers for racially charged comments.
The position embraced by half of the Senate, and the willingness of the lawmakers to sign a formal request to Commissioner Roger Goodell, escalated the fight over the name and represented an effort to put increasing pressure on the league, which receives a federal tax break, and the ownership of the team.
“The N.F.L. can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur,” said the letter, which was circulated by Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington, and endorsed by Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, the majority leader. “We urge the N.F.L. to formally support a name change for the Washington football team.”
Cantwell said that “we are going to find out if the N.F.L. can act against this kind of discrimination as quickly as the N.B.A. did.” She said she considered the Senate letter an important milestone….
I will say this: I do have a bit of trouble following the logic in the statement that what the NBA acted on earlier was “this kind of discrimination.”
I mean, let’s stipulate that both are instances of discrimination. The point can be argued, but let’s say they both are. By what logic could they be seen as the same kind of discrimination?
In one case, you got a befuddled, besotted old man spouting outrageous things during an argument with his mistress. At least, I think they were outrageous things. He was so incoherent it was kind of hard to tell. (How is it that people who can’t explain their way out of a wet paper bag can get to be so rich?) It was a sudden revelation of a surprising conversation.
In the other, you have the public, avowed, official, legal name of a team, one that it has never made any secret about. No one has been “caught,” or “exposed.” There’s nothing new or startling. Just a slow, gradually mounting tide of dissent against a name that the team has been known by since 1933, when it was still in Boston.
One was a startling incident revealing the character of a man. The other was a gradual, tectonic shift in consensus about the connotations of a word.
So basically, while “Redskins” may or may not be a name that a team should go by, what happened with that basketball team owner doesn’t bear on this one way or the other. The league might take action in this case as well, but the probability of their doing so doesn’t follow from what happened in a very different case.
I don’t know. I’m just in a pedantic mood today…