October 15, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; Denver Broncos executive vice president of football operations John Elway (right) helps apply makeup to ESPN the Magazine columnist Rick Reilly before the San Diego Chargers game against the Denver Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN columnist Rick Reilly hacks at Redskins controversy


There was a time when Rick Reilly graced the back page of Sports Illustrated–the most coveted real estate a sports columnist could ever dream–and wrote some of the greatest takeout pieces of his generation. He was an 11-time National Sportswriter of the Year, and earned pretty much every distinguished award imaginable in the industry.

Now, sitting on a fat contract courtesy of ESPN, his jokes are laborious and based almost exclusively on blatantly atrocious puns, his writing has become nonsensical and stagnant, and sometimes the man who seemed to routinely tug on the heart strings and capture the spirit of the American public seems genuinely insensitive, if not entirely out of touch.

Wednesday night he decided to put his stamp on the Washington Redskins name controversy. That is his right–and technically his job–as a columnist, but long gone are the days where Reilly’s input mattered. Now it’s just gotten to the point where we laugh, or, even worse, shake our heads.

Especially when he writes kickers that equate putting an end to a nickname derived from a racial slur to pushing the Native-Americans onto reservations in the first place.

Trust us. We know what’s best. We’ll take this away for your own good, and put up barriers that protect you from ever being harmed again.

Kind of like a reservation.

Perhaps Reilly’s collapse is the byproduct of the void between print and television that swallowed so many other talented writers before him. However, regardless of the reason, Rick Reilly  has gotten so out of touch, that he devoted 800 words to a contrary piece taking other members of the media to task for calling out the Washington Redskins for their racist nickname.

The basis of his argument: His Native-American father-in-law doesn’t find it offensive at all. As a matter of fact, Rick Reilly’s father-in-law apparently finds the Kansas City Chiefs and their fans even more offensive than Redskins.

Reilly goes on to state that the feigned outrage of national columnists like Christine Brennan of the USA Today and Peter King, a former Sports Illustrated colleague, of MMQB.com is another effort of white people to enforce political-correctness light-heartedly in an effort to atone for past transgressions.

In the heart of Wednesday’s column, he claims:

Too late. White America has spoken. You aren’t offended, so we’ll be offended for you.

Now, perhaps Rick has a point. Maybe we do take ourselves too seriously as a nation sometimes in regards to race. However, other times we don’t take things near seriously enough.

But, you know what seems just as hypocritical as white sportswriters addressing a racial slur that in no way, shape or form pertains to them? White sportswriters speaking on behalf of an entire race of people to claim that the aforementioned racial slur isn’t offensive AT ALL.

Even if that racial slur happens to be an outdated term, there’s really no mistaking the history of the word. And, as many of those other columnists had already mentioned, if we used an outdated racial slur of any other kind in reference to any other peoples, you could be certain that nobody would stand for it.

However, Native-Americans only account for 0.9% of this country’s population. Rick Reilly happens to know one of the three million Native-Americans in this country and he doesn’t find the word “redskin” offensive. Then, like all great journalists in search of a well-sourced story, Reilly found three high schools with large percentages of the student body that have at least trace amount of Native-American ancestry that use “Redskins” as their mascot that don’t find it offensive, either.

So, that automatically means that the word is universally inoffensive and has never been offensive, right?

Wrong, Rick.

The word “redskin” is offensive BECAUSE the nickname is derived from using the word as a derogatory term. It’s not something we came up with that honors a near extinct race of proud people. It’s a word that was once used to taunt them and then used in very close proximity to the taunting as a convenient mascot for our sports teams.

Rick Reilly mentions other potentially offensive names like the Ole Miss Rebels and wonders where the outrage is there. Well, Rick, in case you hadn’t heard, Colonel Reb is no more, and that’s thanks in large part to an outcry against a mascot and nickname that is derived from allegiance to the Confederacy–the guys who fought FOR slavery.

Chances are the Rebels nickname, despite Mississippi maintaining that the nickname is designed to preserve Southern heritage, won’t last much longer. The outrage, while past-due, is very clearly there.

But, by Rick Reilly’s standards, he’s allowed to speak on behalf of Native-Americans as a whole. He knows a Native-American. He called some more Native-Americans.

I guess that makes me qualified to write the rebuttal. I played for a high school whose nickname is the Redskins. I lived it. I still do, and though I didn’t find it offensive as a 17-year old, I’ve learned over time that referencing an atrocity for the sake of sport probably isn’t necessary.

There’s about 15,000 people in my hometown who would vehemently disagree. Not more than a handful of them are Native-American (the Native-Americans who once lived in the Illinois River Valley have long since been driven out of the area and onto reservations in Wisconsin and Iowa), but that really doesn’t matter. Because their vitriol would be an almost entirely knee-jerk reaction to change. People don’t simply don’t like it.

Just ask the city of Washington D.C.

However, 15 years from now, after the Washington Redskins become the Servicemen or the Generals and the Morris Redskins become the Cornhuskers or the Rivermen, we’ll probably all be better off for not using a racial slur as a nickname for no damn good reason. And the discussion will probably make us all closely examine our checkered past as a nation, as well.

But Rick Reilly can go ahead and keep being dismissive. His father-in-law is Native American.

And Riley Cooper isn’t racist. He has black friends.

Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: NFL Rick Reilly Washington Redskins

  • jersey joe

    Well said Ryan.

  • Jimmy Baker

    Name changers can stick it! Go Redskins!

  • Chaz Mattson

    Ryan, I suggest to further both your own education and that of Dan Snider you both go live on a reservation for a year – because this take is out of touch with the realities that surround Native Americans living and breathing in this country today. The fact is it is offensive to some people (the actions to endorse the Washington football name), most of those people offended happen to be Native Americans, meaning everything they had was taken from them or their families in the end.

    We don’t need to replay or re-discuss history here, but part of what has become the strength of America is it’s diversity. To ignore that is not being in touch with the country and the world we live in. So the fact of the matter is ignorant views to retain a name that exploits any people should not be tolerated, especially in the USA – because of our great diversity.

    I have always personally stated – and I will say it here – first and foremost Washington has done nothing to work on advancement programs for Native Americans – they should do that first because making money off of another people for free is the definition of exploitation, capitalism, and in this case racism is involved.

    The team name was not necessarily intended to be that – I think most people understand that, but the end result is greater than their initial intention. Finally, they need to change the name. I think the easiest out is to call them the Washington Natives, keep the helmet logos – but start working towards advancement with real dollars of Native Americans through things like scholarship programs and improved living conditions. The NFL is the largest cash cow in America – there is literally no excuse for not doing the good they should do now or should have done in the past.

    • Ryan Wooden

      Appreciate the lecture, Chaz, but I’m FULLY aware of the plight of the Native-American people. This, however, was a column about another poorly constructed column. One that really came down on the same side of the issue as it appears you’re on, so I’m not sure why I need any “education” on the subject matter. Thanks, though… I guess?

    • Ryan Wooden

      Also, where in the world do you get the idea that I don’t find the name offensive? The whole damn column is about the name being offensive. Reilly is the one who thinks it’s inoffensive.

      • Chaz Mattson

        Ryan, the long and short of it here is I think your argument had some gaps and was not as solid as maybe it could have been, and at points it sounds like you and in the comment section grego115 endorse doing nothing. Maybe that’s why it sounds more like a lecture than anything to you.

        To me, because it is exploitation of a race there is only one correct solution.

        Washington needs to change their name and give back to the communities they exploit.

        • sfaomx

          Chaz,There’s no way you read either column in question…

          • Chaz Mattson

            Nope not true ~ I think personally that both Ryan and Reilly have a similar way of approaching their writing styles and their articles. However, I think the issue itself was muddied a bit.

            Like I said previously the answer is very clear on what needs to happen.

            It is sort of “silly-ness” similar to the way people might be offended by rock lyrics here and there ~ however, again, this issue involves a race of people who are under-represented ~ so it’s important to keep that in mind when we consider making a name change mandatory.

            If I were the commissioner of the NFL ~ with my ultimate dream job ~ I would do everything in my power to ensure the name did change. I understand all of the reasoning for not changing it ~ and really it all revolves around money and the possible devaluation of an asset. That is how stupid this is ~ we care more about one guys asset than we do entire groups of people.

            Tell me that isn’t wrong in it of itself.

            You see there is no mud involved there, it’s pretty clear cut.

  • grego115

    ryan, i respect your opinion, but reilly is simply pointing out that evidence seems to indicate the native americans are overwhelmingly not offended by the name- and many embrace it. if columnists are now refusing to use the word to align themselves with the offended people, they are actually representing a very small percentage of native americans while ignoring the majority, which has been ignored by the national media.
    you refer to the name as a ‘slur’, yet reilly correctly points out that the term was invented by native americans. activists such as amanda blackhorse and susan harjo insist that the name comes from scalping, yet ives goddard (and expert in anthropology and native american history and language) vehemently refutes this, going so far as to call harjo out by name. harjo is offended by a definition not based in reality.
    i dont understand the outrage over reilly pointing out that most native americans dont have a problem with the name. there is nothing wrong with one column out of seemingly hundreds that gives the other side of an opinion, one that happens to represent the majority opinion of the supposedly offended party.

    • Ryan Wooden

      Three columnists have gone as far as to not use the Redskins name, and the point isn’t that you can’t make an argument for the name. The point is that a columnist named Rick Reilly, who has entirely fallen off the wagon, is using the “I have a Native-American family member, so now I can speak on behalf of an entire people” argument to make his case. That’s asinine and probably a hindrance to your cause (assuming you’re a supporter of the Redskins nickname).

      Now, as far as an overwhelming number of Natives not being offended. A) Not being offended is more an indicator of a slur (and it has undoubtedly been used as a slur during our history) being outdated than anything How many Natives have been called a “redskin” in their lifetime? Probably not many, but I’m guessing anyone who has been called that probably wasn’t overly thrilled. B) That may have something to do with the fact that the population percentage of Native-Americans in this country has dropped from about 100% just over 500 years ago to about 1% now. Anything that makes even the slightest allusion to a massive genocide and general disdain for a race should probably be off limits as a nickname or a mascot.

      It’s like Dave Zirin said in his piece for The Nation, would Reilly feel comfortable going to visit with the Oneida Nation (who has made clear that they’re offended) and saying of their children, “My goodness these are some cute little Redskins?” The answer is no. So if you wouldn’t be comfortable saying that to a Native’s face, then why would you write a column that cries blasphemy at the idea that people are offended?

      Because it’s become a sports tradition? Give me a break. You want to make the argument for keeping the name, you can do it much more eloquently than Reilly. That’s for damn sure.

      Thanks for the comment, though, Grego. Appreciate you bringing a reasoned argument to the table. Wish Reilly would have.

      • grego115

        thanks for your response, ryan.
        one thing about the “walk into a bar full of native americans and say ‘whats up redskins’” argument. i think thats an argument thats more flash than substance. im from england originally, but if walked into a bar in the UK and said “whats up, brits?!’, i’d expect some odd looks, to say the least. i wouldnt go into a bar in norway and say ‘whats up vkings!’ either.its because the context of my language is completely out of place, even though the word is generally benign. if i said ‘i was at the mall yesterday and saw two redskins”, youd think i saw two football players, not native americans. proper etiquette tells us to address people a certain way, not with random out of context words. thats why nobody would say ‘redskins’ to a native american, not because the word itself is wrong.
        that said, ‘redskin’ absolutely can be used as a slur, but so can any word depending on its context. however, i dont believe a words very rare use should supercede its common, accepted definition.
        ryan, even though we may disagree on this issue, thanks for doing so in a classy way. i’ll pass along your column to some of my favorite posting site. good luck!

        • Ryan Wooden

          The problem is, the high school he uses to support his arguments are as big a byproduct of an antiquated sense of tradition as the Washington Redskins or my own predominantly white school. They’ve had the names and they resent the idea of change. For them, it represents who they are, because to their people, their skin color was a point of pride. Something that differentiated them.

          The Washington Redskins name isn’t derived from the same concept of pride in a race of people. It’s derived from the idea that the Indians were a brave, but barbaric people worthy of serving as a mascot.

          The overall point being, when you’ve lived the majority of your life as a fan of the ‘Redskins’, whether you’re white or Native-American, you’re going to be inclined to want to hold onto that. My hometown is a perfect example. I don’t think anyone where I’m from thinks of the word redskin as a slur, but they don’t give any thought whatsoever to the name’s derision because the concept of change is scary and foreign.

          Then, when it comes to the Annenberg survey, you’re referencing a study that polled 768 people who claimed to be Native-Americans (and let us take a second to consider how many people make that claim). So, while I’m sure it accurately portrays the beliefs of those 768 people, it’s awfully shady to transpose that polling result onto the race as a whole when the survey itself wasn’t exactly scientific.

          Again, appreciate the response. Just can’t stress enough the flaws in Reilly’s argument. Not being offended by something out of shear indifference is different than the word NEVER being offensive in the least.

          • grego115

            i would ask a native american ‘what about the name is offensive?’. we know that harjo and amanda blackhorse are wrong about the origin of the name, so i their case, i dont think you could go to dan snyder and say ‘even though they have their facts wrong, you have to change the name’.
            i agree that one shouldnt be opposed to change just because we dont like change, but i do believe that it should be demonstrated that the word is, indeed, offensive. the best way to know that for certain is to ask as many native americans as possible. while people criticize the annenberg poll, the fact is, its the best we have and nobody has provided anything better.
            walter wetzel, who, in the 60′s was president of the congress of native americans, approached the redskins and said he wanted an ‘indian’ on the helmet (as opposed to the R with feathers), because it would properly represent them, and be a source of pride to see a chief on the helmet of a football team. the team agreed. wetzel provided photographs of indian chiefs and together they came up with the image that is still on the helmet today.
            when i look at all the facts behind the name- polling results, combined with various other native americans opinions, native american high schools use of the name, which i believe doesnt happen if its a ‘slur’ like susan harjo says it is, the origin of the name, the origin of the logo, the 9 protesters in wisconsin this past weekend- i can’t help but feel like this is a situation of a few people who are offended (and some like harjo for imaginary, non existent reasons) and taking it upon themselves to speak for a whole people, when the people they claim to represent feel very differently.

          • Ryan Wooden

            It’s not the origin of the name that makes it a slur. It’s the use during a particular time. In the late 1800′s it starts appearing in print and in literature as a derogatory term for Native-Americans. A couple of decades later, while United States government is still rounding them into reservations, we start using it as a name for sports teams.

            And, while the fact that it was born into benign usage and it currently exists as a benign term is true, the fact that it ever was used in a derogatory fashion makes its use sketchy at best. The N word was born into benign usage as derivative of the Latin word for the color black, so in 100 years if that word ceases harboring all the racial aggression it does right now, is it okay to use it as a nickname or a mascot? 200 years? Hard to say for sure, but it’s difficult to imagine that’d be okay.

            Bottom line in terms of the name itself–at least to me–is that people who have a right to be offended are offended. Not all of them, but that doesn’t invalidate their stance at all.

            Bottom line in terms of the article: Rick Reilly’s argument is horribly flawed and possibly even more insensitive than the name itself. I mean, my God, that kicker is absolutely insane.

          • grego115

            ryan, i think we both would agree that native americans should be able to decide whether or not its offensive. we know that there are some who like the name, and some who do not, its just a question of how many of each.
            what if native americans had a vote on the issue? what if more than 50% voted in favor of the name? if theres any substance behind the annenberg poll, then it would seem the name stays.
            what do you think would happen then? would that put it to rest?

          • Ryan Wooden

            That’s difficult to say. While I believe wholeheartedly in democracy, I don’t know that it can automatically be transferred onto every issue. And, while the Annenberg poll suggests that Native-Americans aren’t offended by the term, the question specifically mentioned offense. If you legitimately polled all Native-Americans (aka a vote) and you asked them straight up if they thought the Washington Redskins should remain the Redskins or just be named something else for simplicity’s sake, that probably significantly alters the result.

            Another problem is that this is such a lobsided issue. If the name changes who is hurt? Nobody, really. Sure people gripe, but over time, they just adjust to a new name and mascot. It’s happened before.

            If you don’t change the name, you’re still offending people and essentially telling them they’re opinions and feeling aren’t valid. It just seems unnecessary, but that’s me.

          • The_Von

            Go to New Mexico sometime and spend some time on the reservations. You’ll be able to tell pretty quickly that most people in Gallup, NM aren’t offended by Redskins, because everyone has Redskins gear. The Chiefs and the Redskins rule the reservations during the winter; the Braves rule the summer.

          • Matt Aaron

            “If the name changes who is hurt?” – Ryan, the Redskin incredibly large and diverse fanbase… that’s who. Many of us would be offended by having to change the name of a sports team that we have identified with for years.

          • Ryan Wooden

            So you won’t be a Washington fan if they’re called the Chesapeakers? Riiiiiiight…

          • Matt Aaron

            No, I wouldn’t. And I would be offended we had to change our name in this overly PC culture. And Native Americans can still carry on if the Redskins name doesn’t change.

            We face real problems in this difficult world. But as a coping mechanism, people like to make excuses for why they don’t get what they want in America and say they are offended.

            Sick of people telling us how to speak and what we can and can’t say in the English language.

          • Ryan Wooden

            World’s tiniest violin.

          • Matt Aaron

            There you go. I broke down your argument with logic and you are unable to come back with anything besides a saying.

            Can’t wait for October 20th when the Redskins crush the Bears. Hail to the Redskins.

          • Ryan Wooden

            That’s actually called indifference.

      • musicman495

        Total misrepresentation of Reilly’s column. What is your answer to his point that numerous high schools on reservations use the name Redskins. I suppose you know better what is good for them, right? They are just not as smart as a bunch of self appointed white sports writers like you and Christine Brennan.

        • Ryan Wooden

          That they’re entitled to view their race as a point of pride, whereas a bunch of entitled white folks like myself, Christine Brennan and the vast majority of Redskins fans everywhere probably aren’t.

  • William Rhoads

    Well being a native American I find it offensive! Because in our history we taught you how to grow food and how to make it through the winters and we even fought with you and against you! The fact of the matter we taught how to conserve the land by moving on to other areas for a season giving the original spot time to regenerate! Then we would go back stay for a while and then move on! We were the first to allow what was right a natural order! Then your drove us off our lands destroyed the land for yourself! The native Americans also where the first to help the blacks they allowed them passage because they were in the same boat as we were! So to excuse the behavior towards Native Americans with the term redskin is negative word just calling a black person a N is offensive and degrading Florida state Seminole as mascot but they use the name of tribe of native Americans who call Florida home! I find that in good taste because it does not portray the image of redskin is like saying the N word is to black Americans!

    • Matt Aaron

      William,

      When the Europeans arrived to the United States, what was happening in Native American culture? Tribes were fighting bloody battles between themselves. That was what it was like. Dog eat dog world, tribes trying to come out on top.

      The Europeans, in an effort to conquer land, teamed up with other tribes as a strategy, and they came out on top. They won…

      History is cruel, but that is what happened. Europeans came into a game, and they won.

      You should read “Black Rednecks, White Liberals” by Thomas Sowell.

      • Ryan Wooden

        Welp, that’s racist.

      • William Rhoads

        They were fighting each other! I am from potowatami that is now with the souix nation! what a sorry knowledge of the native American culture if was not for the american Native the whites would have not lived threw the first winter! Tribes always fought for land and control but they learned from the Europeans My great,great grandmother was Princess and my great grand father was french and he fought in the civil war my grandmother was a midwife and she could tell each plant to use for healing and she deliver many babies of both Native American and non Native Americans she was a generous loving soul! You can not put all Native Americans in a beer group discussion just because you have a little knowledge of The native Americans the truth is the young native Americans on highest among all that die of drinking themselves to death ! So please get of this discussion because you do not the native Americans like me and my family we our real and not just a discussion at a dinner table by one Native American does not make you an expert because I live it everyday and you do not!

  • BJOSEPHS

    Oklahoma is based on Choctaw Indian words which translate as red people (okla meaning “people” and humma meaning “red”). WE MUST CHANGE THE NAME OF OKLAHOMA TO TEXAS NORTE

    • Ryan Wooden

      And they tried to make it an all-Indian state so…

      • BJOSEPHS

        IF YOU UNDERSTAND THE MEANING IT IS OFFENSIVE…NO? How about Texas Norte? Large Hispanic population in Oklahoma so i think it is culturally sensitive

  • The_Von

    Why can’t normal, seemingly well educated people understand that word meanings change over time? One hundred years ago, some people might have used Redskin as a slur. If I say Redskins now, does any reasonable person think slur? No, they think football player. Some people have a fascination with persecution; they continue to bring up the (very far) past for their own ends. This controversy is nothing new; the Post does at least one column on it a season. For some reason, the cabal of media personalities have decided to listen and amplify it this year.

    Do you know what the current racial slur for Native Americans is in Canada? Native. Now tell me how can people use an innocuous word that is apart of everyday lexicon in such a hateful way? Well, you’d have to hear it, but you can definitely tell when its done. Does that mean that regular Canadians have eliminated native from their vocabulary? No. They have the sense to realize that usage and tone give important clues to meaning; something current “sportswriters” have completely forfeited.

  • musicman495

    So, Rick Reilly did not talk to enough Native Americans to satisfy Chicago-based freelance writer Ryan Wooden. So tell us Chicago-based freelance writer Ryan Wooden, how many Native Americans on how many reservations in Oklahoma did YOU ask before you wrote YOUR column?

    • Ryan Wooden

      Considering my column was on Rick Reilly’s column, I’d say I did just about everything I was supposed to do. You know… read Rick Reilly’s column. If you’d like me to cold call a few Native-Americans and ask them about how they feel about Rick Reilly equating taking the Redskins name away to forcibly placing Native-Americans onto reservations in the first place, I guess that’s another column for another day.

      • musicman495

        Uh, no. First of all, your response here is a misrepresentation of the totality of the content of Rick Reilly’s column. Yes, what he said at the end was very provocative – and I probably would not have drawn that parallel – but the totality of the column concerned the misrepresentation that has taken place on the part of white sports writers (uhem) that the name Redskins is universally rejected by Native Americans themselves. Reilly did not reply based on what his buddy sportswriters said, he actually did some reporting and asked some Indians themselves, and found something quite different. Now I would think that someone calling himself a journalist would, before sanctimoniously rejecting Reilly’s contention that many Native Americans actually embrace the name as a sports mascot – in fact rejecting it on the very basis that Reilley did not ask enough Indians or did not ask the right ones – would make an attempt to make a few phone calls himself. Reilley did not say he spoke for all Native Americans, but he did give voice to the small number that he talked to in Oklahoma and mentioned in his article. I know of no other sports writer who has lifted a finger to do so up to now. I appreciate his effort, and I bet they do, too.

        • Ryan Wooden

          No he didn’t, he talked to three high schools who actually have a right to call themselves Redskins (which is entirely different than asking a significant number of Native-Americans if they LOVE the Washington Redskins name), he talked to his father-in-law, and he used a poll that ITCMN.com has completely denounced as skewed. So to use that to come out and say that the name is universally inoffensive is both insensitive and flat out wrong.

          Tell the Oneida Nation the name isn’t offensive. Go call them “redskins” and see how that goes over.

          • grego115

            ryan,

            i believe you are referring to the annenberg poll that itcmn denounced? do you have a link for this? i’m very familiar with the poll in question and have heard no actual evidence that it is skewed.
            and, again, i’m not going to call anyone ‘redskin’ any more than i’m going to a bar in the south and saying ‘redneck’. context, my friend, is everything. :)

          • Ryan Wooden
          • grego115

            ryan,
            that link says two things about the poll- that its old (I wouldn’t say 10 years is old regarding the subject of a football nickname that’s been around for 80) and that its hugely flawed. nothing specific, and no actual evidence that its flawed, but i’m assuming they mean that people could have exaggerated their ethnicity. the problem I have with this accusation (besides a lack of supporting evidence) is that the poll was done by the Annenberg center. its a professional organization, its what they do. to think that they didn’t have these bases covered is far fetched, to say the least.
            another problem I have is one I have with the criticism of reillys article in general- people say they don’t like the ‘facts’ presented, but aren’t presenting their own to refute the ones they don’t like. they don’t like the facts because they don’t support their preconceived conclusions. people have concluded ‘redskins’ is a slur, because, well, outside of the team and potatoes, nobody uses the word. all reilly is saying is that most native americans either don’t have a problem with the word, or they outright embrace it, which is contrary to what has been said by nearly every columnist in America who has written about it.

          • Ryan Wooden

            Grego, they interviewed 768 Native-Americans. No polling data from a sample of that size could ever be all-encompassing for a population of 3,000,000. Not without exit interview data confirming the demographics of the polling sample. Which, the Annenberg people didn’t do.

            And besides, it’s not Reilly’s “facts” that anybody is questioning, it’s his applications of those “facts”. I won’t call Rick Reilly a liar (except for that whole part where he published a column in 1991 denouncing Native-American nicknames), but I’ll say that he structured his argument to conceal significant flaws in his argument.

            For example, there’s the three high schools he spoke with. As Native-American schools, I’d say they’re entitled to use the name because it represents an entirely different meaning among their student body than it does to the millions of predominantly white fans of the Washington Redskins.

            So, to use the logic that taking the name away from the Redskins means we’re taking the name away from these predominantly Native-American high schools is misleading in an almost intentional way. Because that’s NEVER been the issue.

            I’m sorry, but when it comes to issues of insensitivity where it pertains to something as inconsequential as a sports team’s nickname, there’s really no need to push the envelope when people are offended. Even if it’s only 10% of the population (which, I guarantee you an accurate poll in today’s climate would be MUCH higher), why do we (the non-red people) get to be dismissive of that? It’s not being PC. It’s basic human decency.

            Go be the Chesapeakers and pout for five years, and then buy a whole bunch of new gear when RGIII leads you to a Super Bowl.

  • Dan Barry

    At least Reilly knows a Native American. I bet most of the white folks who are “outraged” by the name don’t.

    It seems Reilly is one of the few people who are qualified to even address the issue (aside from Native Americans, of course).

    • grego115

      i think you bring up a valid point. as someone who has followed this subject for a long time, i see very little space devoted to native americans feelings about the name, and alot of space devoted to two non-sympathetic figures- dan snyder and george preston marshall. we are questioning the best poll available, but not bothering to either conduct our own, or question why there hasnt been another conducted.
      reilly brings some facts to the table regarding actual native americans and has been getting ripped. if his facts are incorrect, i’m all ears.

      • Ryan Wooden

        Guys, it’s the Internet age. If you want to know the opinion of Native-American people, check Native-American news outlets and look at social media.

  • Ryan Wooden

    Hey guys… this one time, in 1991, Rick Reilly wrote about how Native-American nicknames were offensive. That’s SUPER ironic. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1140310/1/index.htm

  • Andrew C Eden-Balfour

    Let’s be realistic here, the name should stay and side with Rick Reilly. I know the name is offensive, and that no one should use it as a way to name-call native Americans, but as a team name that has been used for close to a century. I’m giving it a big so what. While there are no doubt Native Americans who would find the team name offensive, I imagine it is pretty divided between those who are offended, those who want the name to stay, and those who really don’t give a hoot, as long the team plays well.

    Let’s also keep in mind that there would no doubt be just as much of a public outcry coming from people if the Washington Redskins does decide to change it’s name; as they will view this as nothing more then caving into the political correctness machine. I can imagine that representing a whole lot of conservative Americans, and no doubt this would get political and be turned into a political story of “How the liberal/progressive/socialist left is destroying America through political correctness and forcing Americans to be afraid of speaking their minds without being called racist” by the likes of prominent conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, etc. It’s absurd definitely, but as I have seen with American politics, you can basically politicize anything and turn it into a left or right issue.

    And this applies to other teams that are facing the same sort of heat as the Redskins; like the college team you mentioned the Ole Mississippi Rebels. There is outrage, but let’s be honest here, your talking about MISSISSIPPI here, one of the most conservative states in the entire country. They would rather secede from the Union then allow someone to tell them they have to change the nickname because it is offensive.

    This is a huge reason why think the naming controversy surrounding so many teams in America are just distractions and pointless, I am against political correctness like this as it is just so stupid to be offended over. The Native Americans who are against this fail to see that while Americans are against hatred and racism, a large majority of them hate being told that their team name they root behind is offensive even more, as they despise political correctness.

    Well, that’s my two cents on the issue.

    • Ryan Wooden

      If you are making an argument FOR keeping the name and you start that argument with “I know the name is offensive…”, you should probably reevaluate your stance. I’m just saying.

      • Andrew C Eden-Balfour

        I’m being realistic about this controversy, or if you would prefer, being in the middle. I know the name is likely offensive for some Native Americans, but it’s too late to change the name now without creating an enormous backlash. They had a better chance of changing the name from the 1960′s to the 1990′s, and they missed that opportunity; as crazy as that sounds.

        • Ryan Wooden

          Andrew, they’ve been lobbying against the name for nearly 40 years. This isn’t a new thing.

          • Andrew C Eden-Balfour

            Which, again, they missed the opportunity. The lobbying has been picking up steam rapidly right now as there has been a lot of news coverage about it; the problem is that it gained steam at the moment where it is simply impossible to change the name without it blowing up in the teams face financially. In today’s world, America is practically at a war of words with itself between left and right, where everything is politicized and there would be some influential people who would fight tooth and nail to make sure this change in the name of “political correctness” doesn’t happen.

  • Peter Combs

    its a non issue, except for guilt ridden self loathing Liberals..Perhaps they should change the name of Oklahoma..the words means “Red People”….