I don’t fully understand the public backlash against billionaire Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins in the National Football League, for fiercely clinging to the controversial nickname of his team. The man, by his own admission, has simply been standing up for what he believes in - football tradition and old-fashioned American values, including the First Amendment. Meaning: A hard-working billionaire can call his billion dollar team whatever in God’s creation he wants to call it.
And what could be more American than that?
Speaking of traditional values, perhaps it is no coincidence his team reportedly was originally founded in 1932 and owned until 1969 by the notable white-racist George Preston Marshall. According to sources, in 1962, Washington was the last team in the NFL to become integrated, and this, only after the federal government threatened to shut down its federally funded stadium in Washington, D.C., if it didn’t start mixing races.
Other NFL teams had been integrating since 1946.
Perhaps also not so coincidentally, other traditional derogatory names for Native Americans, besides “redskins,” have included: Prairie Niggers, Trail Niggers, Timber Niggers, Tundra Niggers, Cherry Niggers and Bush Niggers. So you can imagine the difficult time that ol’ cracker Marshall must’ve had in choosing just one mascot for his team.
But let’s face it, a redskin by any other name would still look the same on the team’s helmets. In fact, the term “redskin” not only has been derived from the (erroneously) perceived color of Native Americans’ skin pigmentation, but also it has sometimes referred to the cruel practice, back in the day, of skinning, or cutting off, a dead Indian’s flesh and scalp in order to receive hefty government bounties for those “red skins.” In other words, early settlers’ dinner conversations occasionally went something like this:
“See this fine red skin and scalp that Poppa and me brought home from huntin’, Ma?” a 10-year-old white boy might have said.
“Yes, son, it’ll fetch a few coins. Now toss that red skin and scalp in the corner with the beaver pelts and eat yo’ suppa.”
But maybe current Redskins owner Snyder has had even loftier goals in mind while battling to keep his team’s nickname. His admirable secret desire all along could be to start a new trend in sports whereby we honor all the oppressed people in America with the same names they were most known by, historically, to pay homage to our country’s real heritage. With that in mind, then, let’s suggest some new nicknames for other NFL teams, in the spirit of national pride for our cunning linguistic past:
1) The New York Niggers
2) The San Francisco Faggots
3) The Pittsburgh Peckerwoods
4) The San Diego Spics
5) The Baltimore Bitches
6) The Houston Homos
7) The Detroit Dagos
8) The Jacksonville Jewboys
9) The Chicago Chinks
10) The Carolina Camel Jockeys
What fine traditions those could become! On the other hand, if Snyder should cave in to the public pressure regarding this and give up his Redskin fetish, he could easily choose another nickname once used to describe Native Americans: Cowboy Killers. Ironically, his team lost to Dallas a couple of weeks ago, 31-16. Maybe his seemingly cursed team would start winning more games if it weren’t named for the flesh and scalps skinned off of dead Indians, for a bounty. Something to think about.
CHIP MOSER is a simple classroom teacher.