Washington Redskins cornerback E.J. Biggers (30). Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Politicians use the Donald Sterling issue against the NFL

Senate majority leader Harry Reid has joined the chorus of political leaders pressuring the NFL and Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder to change the team’s nickname.  Reid, house minority leader Nancy Pelosi and president Barack Obama and other politicians have called for Snyder and the NFL to change the name.

Reid even called out Snyder by name, saying the owner has shown no leadership on the issue, and that Snyder is hiding behind tradition.  Reid stated the NFL needs to follow the NBA’s lead on how a sports league needs to act in the face of racism.  Referring to the NBA’s ban of Los Angeles Clippers Owner Donald Sterling for making racist comments.

It seems that Reid and other leaders are using the Donald Sterling scandal to ramp up even more political pressure on the NFL and Snyder to change the name.  But Snyder has recently stated that he thinks critics should stop focusing on the name of a football team, and place more emphasis on dealing with the real issues plaguing Native Americans.

I’ve been saying for months now that the longer the Redskins and the NFL fight this issue, the bigger it will become.  I think the Redskins should change the name not because it’s offensive or racist, but because it’s become a huge distraction to the team with each passing year.  In time, this issue could become bigger than the team.

However, with politicians calling out Snyder by name that will more than likely only result in him becoming more even resolved in his conviction not to change the name.  The Redskins name itself isn’t as obviously offensive as the racist comments that Donald Sterling made, so it’s not quite the Slam Dunk that Harry Reid believes it is.

Many Native Americans and Redskins fans aren’t offended by the name, but that won’t stop politicians from continuing to hammer away at this issue.  The NBA acted quickly to ban Donald Sterling after seeing the overwhelming outrage from fans, but a similar outrage doesn’t exist from fans about the Redskins name.

I can’t see Snyder budging on this issue unless he’s absolutely forced to do so.  Otherwise, until the NFL is affected financially by this, I can’t see commissioner Roger Goodell and the other NFL owners taking action to make a change either.  So for now, unfortunately the debate continues.


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Tags: Dan Snyder Donald Sterling Harry Reid Washington Redskins

  • Force Crater

    “The Redskins name itself isn’t as obviously offensive as the racist comments that Donald Sterling made” ??? Really? When a truck drives by in ‘bama and some one screams, “Hey, N….r!” that does not offend you? Better man than me (or more willing liar.)

    • http://fanonfiresportswire.com/ Maurice Barksdale

      I understand the analogy you’re making, but with respect it’s not the same thing. There are Native Americans who don’t take offense to the word Redskins. That’s why I say it’s not as obviously offensive, because it doesn’t offend some of the people in question.

      But I seriously doubt you’ll find any Black person who wouldn’t take offense to the N-word being used the way your example did. There in lies the difference. Redskins fans don’t use the word Redskins to offend any one in the way your example uses the n-word. it’s not as cut and dry as you’re trying to portray it.

      • Force Crater

        The name ‘Redskins’ was picked because it was offensive! Repetition can desensitize people but it cannot strip the words of their content. My point (even to the Native Americans (partially me)) is that you should be offended! Don’t let their fog blind you to their ignorance.

        • http://fanonfiresportswire.com/ Maurice Barksdale

          The fact that there’s a conflict among Native Americans as to whether the word is offensive or not is one of the major reasons the Redskins name hasn’t been changed. Because whether they should be offended or not, some Native Americans say they’re not offended.

          Unlike the Donald Sterling issue, where not only most Black people were offended, but an overwhelming majority other ethnic groups were too. That kind of outrage coupled with the loss of sponsorship money forced the NBA to act. Unless similar circumstances occur for the NFL and Snyder, they won’t be motivated to make a change.

          However, mounting political pressure might change that in the coming years. So at some point I think Snyder is going to have to throw in the towel on this fight.