Epic Fail Ethics Racism Sports

Mike Ditka is a Clueless Asshole


While I would and have said that hiring the likes of Frank Luntz, Lanny Davis, George “Macaca Allen,” and Ari Fleischer to defend the Washington football team’s name is a bad idea, Dan Snyder clearly could have done worse by hiring former Chicago Bears coach and ESPN analyst Mike Ditka.

During an interview published last week Ditka denounced the campaign to change the team’s name as “horse shit” from the mouths of liberals.

“What’s all the stink over the Redskin name?” Ditka said in the interview, which was posted Thursday. “It’s so much horse shit it’s incredible. We’re going to let the liberals of the world run this world. It was said out of reverence, out of pride to the American Indian. Even though it was called a Redskin. What are you going to call them, a Proudskin? This is so stupid it’s appalling, and I hope that owner keeps fighting for it and never changes it, because the Redskins are part of an American football history, and it should never be anything but the Washington Redskins. That’s the way it is.

I suppose it should be implied at this point that if you’re against racism or against racist symbols, you’re probably (but not exclusively) liberal.

I doubt that is a distinction Dan Snyder’s PR team would like to make even if it is more or less true, but Ditka has gone and made it for them in the most ugly fashion imaginable. And given the home location of the team on the relatively liberal East Coast, Ditka will undoubtedly offend a number of people and a number of fans (both liberal and conservative) who may not have given it much thought up to this point.

To say that things should remain as they are because “that’s the way it is” is a non-argument that really doesn’t endear people to your side, but I digress. Please proceed.

“Its been the name of the team since the beginning of football,” he continued. “It has nothing to do with something that happened lately, or something that somebody dreamed up. This was the name, period. I mean, leave it alone. I mean, these people are silly — asinine, actually, in my opinion.

Ditka is right that it’s not something “somebody dreamed up,” and he’s wrong that it has “nothing to do with something that happened lately.”

This is not an imagined slight or a fictional grievance, and racial stereotypes and racial caricatures are a problem that persists today

The only silly or asinine person in this conversation is Mike Ditka who clearly feels that holding onto some warped nostalgia for a time when white people could say racist things without being called out for it — or the way it still mostly is — is more important than being respectful or moral.

Mike Ditka doesn’t get to decide for others what is and is not offensive.

(via TPM)

  • mr spork

    Washington Foreskins

  • Lady Willpower

    They should change the name of the Chicago Bears to the “Chicago Fat Pornstaches” out of respect for Ditka.
    What? It’s said with nothing but love!

    • D_C_Wilson

      Da Bears!

  • FlipYrWhig

    Mike Ditka, the iconic coach of the Decatur Staleys? Of course we keep calling them the “Decatur Staleys” because tradition, that’s why.

    • D_C_Wilson

      Since his argument is that nothing should ever change, then the Redskins should revert to their original name of the Braves and move back to Boston.

  • Christopher Foxx

    This is so stupid it’s appalling, I hope that owner keeps fighting for it and never changes it, because the Redskins are part of an American football history, and it should never be anything but the Washington Redskins.

    Hmmm. Interesting logic there. Let me see if it always works.

    “I hope that owner keeps fighting for it and never changes it, because the slaves are part of a American history, and it should never be anything but the niggers in chains.”

    Yeah, something is stupid and appalling. It’s Ditka’s argument that racism and bigotry should be preserved because “history”.

  • Christopher Foxx

    We’re going to let the liberals of the world run this world.

    Sounds like a plan.

  • aynwrong

    “I suppose it should be implied at this point that if you’re against racism or against racist symbols, you’re probably (but not exclusively) liberal.”
    It shouldn’t be the case. But conservatives in this country have been working for a very long time to define anyone who disagreed with them about anything as a liberal. Whether you thought of yourself as a liberal, or not.

    • JMAshby

      My point exactly. And I doubt Dan Snyder wants to have the issue framed that way, but here we are.

    • D_C_Wilson

      It’s interesting that conservatives are now conceding that opposition to racist symbols is a liberal thing now.

      • aynwrong

        I suppose that is progress compared to their habit of babbling out some nonsense about “liberal racism.”

  • muselet

    I’m willing to make a deal with Mike Ditka.

    For the next five years, make the name of the Washington NFL team the Khokhols, and the emblem will be a Cossack in a furry hat brandishing a shashka. It would be a respectful representation, of course, with no insult intended.

    If Ditka can go five years without blowing a stroke over that ethnic slur, then Dan Snyder can go back to using the venerable ethnic slur the team he owns is famous for.

    It’s the 21st century and we’re still bickering over whether an insult is an insult. Astonishing.


    • JMAshby

      Thanks for the history lesson.

    • Brutlyhonest

      Is that what ditka is? I thought he was just another dumb Polack 😛

      (Funny aside from following your link is that Poles are listed as using the slur Khokhols).

      Bottom line is people are, generally assholes.

  • GrafZeppelin127

    Most people I talk to who think the Redskins name controversy is, at best, a non-issue, just aren’t aware, don’t believe, or don’t think it’s relevant that the word was once used as a racial slur. No one uses it anymore, they say, and certainly no one goes around calling American Indians “redskins” in a derogatory way. Even if a handful of Indians are bothered by it, that’s all they are is bothered by it, and plenty of Indians don’t care one way or the other. Most people, when they hear the word “redskins,” immediately and exclusively think of the football team. This just is not a problem, they say, let alone one worthy of anywhere near the attention it’s getting.

    OK, all that is well and good. But at the same time, if it’s not a problem, why not change the name? If it’s not important, why argue about it? If it’s not important to change it, why is it important to not change it?

    Bad anecdote, but hear me out: When I was in high school I played QB on the football team. The signal to start the play at the line of scrimmage was “Go!” if the play was “on one,” it was “Go!” On two, it was “Go! Go!” On three, it was “Go! Go! Go!” the problem was we couldn’t run a play on anything more than one because “Go!” means go and people kept jumping offsides. So I changed it to “Hut!” (on one, “Hut!” on two, “Hut! Hut!” etc.). A teammate got all upset with me for doing that, insisting that it was not the least bit important what the signal was. I said, “Well, if it’s not important, then I’ll do what I want.”

    That’s why I have an issue with those who will never walk in those shoes defending the name on the grounds that it’s just not important at all what the name of the Washington NFL team is. I can understand why they’d want to keep it, not just for “tradition” but for business reasons as well. But I think it’s time they at least consider changing it.

    • Username1016

      “No one uses it anymore” is an argument? Wow, and yet there aren’t any teams named the Pickaninnies or the Octaroons, I wonder why that is?


      • GrafZeppelin127

        I think their point is that if someone came along in 2014 and named a team the Pickaninnies or the Octaroons, most people wouldn’t bat an eye because most people wouldn’t even recognize those words, let alone know what they mean or how they were used historically.

        I encountered a college basketball team several years ago called the “Billikens.” I had never heard or read that word before and had no idea what a billiken was or what the name referred to. It could have been a mythical creature, it could have been the name of the school’s founder, or it could have been an 18th-century slur against Irish people. Should I have been required to look it up, study the etymology of the word, evaluate it and treat the team/college accordingly? Or was it OK for me to just accept the name “Billikens,” call the team the “Billikens” and leave it at that?

        Are people that much more likely to know what a “pickaninny” or an “octaroon” is, than a “billiken”?

        I’m not saying we shouldn’t be sensitive to words and names that are clearly or obviously racial / ethnic in nature, as “redskins” is. The “argument” is that even if the word has a racial denotation, it no longer has racist connotations as it once did. Even if you agree with that, you could argue that the name is still inappropriate.

        [BTW, this is a billiken.]

  • Victor_the_Crab

    Contrary to what that blockhead Ditka says, the team was originally called the Boston Braves because, naturally, they played out of Boston at the time and were named after the National League baseball team there, as were plenty of NFL teams at that time. Then, owner and galling racist asshole George Preston Marshall renamed them the Redskins in “honor” of their head coach at the time, Lone Star Dietz, who was Native American (a claim that has been highly scrutinized).

    Marshall was notorious for vocally refusing to allow African Americans to play on his team and was forced to by Congress because the new stadium he was playing in – RFK Stadium – was on federal land and was forced to adhere to federal non discrimination policies. Michael Tomasky of the Daily Beast has a lot more interesting anecdotes at the link below.


    • D_C_Wilson

      Just one correction: It wasn’t an act of Congress but the threat of legal action by the Kennedy administration that forced Marshall to integrate the team. That makes for some wonderful irony that the stadium they played in, originally called “D. C. Stadium”, was renamed Robert F. Kennedy stadium in 1969, the same year Marshall died, especially given that, as attorney general in 1961, it was RFK who threatened to sue Marshall if he didn’t integrate.

  • Username1016

    That’s a fairly widespread attitude: your dignity is all very well, but the minute it requires ME to change one iota of my behavior, you’ve gone too far.

  • Even though it was called a Redskin. What are you going to call them, a Proudskin?

    The quote I read used the word “Brownskin” rather than “Proudskin”. Do we know which it was? Brownskin makes him even more of a racist asshole.