Redskins Name Change 'Kind of Like a Reservation'

Not everyone a fan of Rick Reilly's argument
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2013 11:01 AM CDT
Redskins Name Change 'Kind of Like a Reservation'
The Washington Redskins logo on the field before the start of a preseason NFL football game in Landover, Md. in 2009.   (AP Photo/Nick Wass, File)

(Newser) – Slate will never again write the word Redskins in reference to DC's football team out of sensitivity to Native Americans—but what if Native Americans aren't actually insulted by it? asks Rick Reilly at ESPN. In Reilly's telling, they're not, and his column arguing for the name's continued use has not gone over well. Before we get to the derision, here's a synopsis of it: Reilly cites a poll that found 90% of Native Americans weren't irked by the name, lists three Native American-majority high schools that have "proudly" worn the name for decades, and mentions that "nobody on the Blackfeet side of my wife's family has ever had someone insult them with the word." His take? "White America has spoken. You aren't offended, so we'll be offended for you."

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But it's his closing lines that are particularly under fire:

  • "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."
Some reaction: "We don't know why he's essentially equating criticism of overtly racist iconography with the forced relocation of entire nations, or how anyone could possibly publish this," writes Tim Marchman at Deadspin. "We're not sure we want to know." But the most, er, descriptive critique comes from Dave Zirin at The Nation, who writes "like a poop in the pool, I think I'm just going to let [the closing lines] sit there and speak for itself." (Zirin's fairly lengthy takedown is worth a read.)

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