The Washington Redskins are going to change their name. I don’t want to debate whether the name is a hateful racial slur (it is) or a show of respect for Native Americans (it isn’t).
Nor do I want to discuss the fact that this is primarily being done because FedEx and Nike have threatened to pull a massive amount of sponsorship money if the team doesn’t change its name. I have a different fish to fry.
Since outrage fuels the modern political engine, I thought we’d examine the other 31 franchises in the NFL, to root out any potential for future offense.
For instance, if you check the rosters of the Giants and Titans, they’re no bigger than any other team in the league. Isn’t that false advertising? Likewise, many of the players on the Texans aren’t from Texas. Should Texas require a player called a Texan to actually be a Texan? And don’t the Cowboys, Steelers and Packers trivialize hard-working folk? We wouldn’t want to offend real cowboys, steel workers and packers, now would we?
And you know, Jets are fighter planes, that indiscriminately kill people. Why glorify that? (Unless, of course, the jet in question is a passenger jet, but that wouldn’t make sense, would it?)
The Vikings further the erroneous notion that their namesakes wore horned helmets. Nordic people may find offense in that. (Nothing worse than a ticked off Norwegian, Swede or Finn I always say.)
The Buccaneers and Raiders glorify a murderous, larcenous, just plain ishy pursuit. If you or anyone in your ancestry suffered at the hands of a pirate, no doubt you’re offended.
Likewise, the Forty-Niners were a greedy, oftentimes larcenous, lecherous bunch. Why glorify them? And frankly, people in New England aren’t any more patriotic than anyone else in the country. Such arrogance! And as for the Bills, shouldn’t Bobs, Crags, Glens and Stanleys feel left out? How dare you leave the Crags out? (The Buffalo Crags. Rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?)
And the Browns. Given things that are that color, should we be offended?
And speaking of colors, sports teams at Stanford University used to be called “The Indians.” So being the bastion of liberalism it is, Stanford decided to rename their mascot, to avoid offense to any animal or person. They named their teams, “The Cardinal.” (The color, not the bird,) and their mascot is a giant pine tree, with a tongue in a disgusting place. (Disgusting, yes, but we would’ve missed that incredibly funny fight between the Oregon Duck and the Stanford pine tree on the sidelines a few years back if Stanford wasn’t so weird, so there is that.)
Getting back to it, I’m very surprised the animal rights folks aren’t up in arms about the plethora of disrespectful animal names. The Eagles, Falcons, Cardinals, Rams, Colts, Broncos, Bears, Lions, Panthers, Dolphins, Ravens, and Bengals all exploit helpless animals, don’t they? (I don’t include the Seahawks in this, because there’s no such thing. Who cares if no such thing gets offended, right?)
Besides, imagine an eagle, cardinal, or falcon in football gear. That’s hardly fearsome or intimidating at all.
And finally, why haven’t the Chiefs ever really faced any backlash from Native Americans? Does the fact that you single out the leader make the difference here? Shouldn’t the other members of the tribe feel left out?
And in closing, let me emphatically state my intent wasn’t to offend. I just wanted to enter the cave and poke the bear. (Not the Chicago Bear. The bear of over-sensitivity.) I was trying to make the larger point that we definitely have bigger things to occupy our national debate than the names of sports teams.
(If you have to explain, Craig, it doesn’t have the same effect. You know that, right?)
By the way. If I missed your team, please don’t take offense.
It happened because I’m stupid, not hateful.
Craig Carter is an Ontario resident and can be reached in care of The Argus Observer, 1160 S.W. Fourth St., Ontario, OR 97914. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of the Argus Observer.