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Dowd: What’s in a name? In this one, there’s a slur

  • (MIKE PETERS / Dayton Daily News)

Whenever I want to be called a detestable, insidious proselytizer of political correctness, I just bring up the idea of changing the name of the Redskins at a family dinner. What if our football team’s name weren’t a slur, I ask brightly. Wouldn’t that be nice?

My family may disdain the ineffectively megalomaniacal Daniel Snyder — I gave my sister a “Fire Snyder” T-shirt to wear at games — but they leap to the defense of the Redskins owner at the mere suggestion that he should consider the pleas of American Indians, 10 members of Congress, the president, several sports columnists, prominent publications, little sisters or anyone else who finds the team name offensive.

“Political correctness is like a creeping skin rash in a horror movie,” says my brother Kevin, who has been going to Redskins games since he could heckle. “If you don’t stop it at the beginning, it just keeps spreading. If the Indians were not asking for this, the liberal elites would do it for them. Even seemingly innocuous nicknames such as Warriors, Braves and Indians may not survive the outcry. The once proud Stanford Indian was replaced by a tree.”

My sister argues that the Redskins should not have to change as long as the Atlanta Braves have their Tomahawk Chop and the Cleveland Indians have their logo, Chief Wahoo, a crimson-faced Indian with a big cheesy grin.

“Their logo is a disgrace,” she says. “At least our logo is a profile of a strong warrior and not someone who looks drunk.”

In the middle of budget Armageddon here, President Barack Obama found a moment to address the notoriety about the Washington team name when he was asked about it by the Associated Press. “Obviously, people get pretty attached to team names, mascots,” said the president, who recently experienced a racist rodeo clown incident. But, he added: “I’ve got to say that if I were the owner of the team and I knew that there was a name of my team — even if it had a storied history — that was offending a sizable group of people, I’d think about changing it.”

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