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.