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You may just get what you wish for …! PDF Print E-mail
Saturday, June 21, 2014 8:00 PM

Metcalfe's Musings

By JIM METCALFE

Sports Editor

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Perhaps this item goes along — in some regards — with my column from last week about Donald Sterling and his issues with the NBA.

Here goes.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark office ruled that the Washington Redskins’ name was disparaging of Native Americans and should lose its trademark protection.

Is anyone surprised by this “news”?

This was as “unexpected” as an arson fire.

I have written about this stuff before and I re-iterate now what I put to “pad and pen” then — be careful what you wish for; you may not like what you get.

First of all, is the term “Redskins” offensive?

I know there is some controversy about why the team was renamed the Redskins from the Boston Braves in the early 1930s — was it to honor the then-coach and six of his players or for some other reason — but it made sense to distinguish the Boston Braves (before moving to D.C.) football team from a baseball team of the same name.

All I know is — I can only speak for myself — when I think of the Washington Redskins, I think of a football team; I do not think of what is now termed Native Americans.

Just like when I think of the Dallas Cowboys, I don’t think of a bunch of guys roping a cow and riding a horse.

Can someone else have a different opinion and truly be offended? By all means.

I guess that is determined by what you’ve experienced in your life, your perceptions, views, etc., and I cannot speak to what someone else might feel or think in their heart of hearts.

I don’t pretend that the history with Native Americans is all roses and sugar plums.

However, when a national sports writer wrote an opinion that if one — yes, ONE — person is offended by a word, it is offensive, “Houston, we have a problem!”

If we take that to its logical end, well, you get the picture.

 

I have tried to do some research before I wrote this (it is by no means exhaustive and comprehensive and anyone interested in this subject can look into it more) but what I have found is that the majority of people polled (sometimes by a wide margin, sometimes not) — including some done by Native American interests — is that the name should not be changed or they have no opinion.

In the reportage on this item, the office itself claimed it used polls — along with old movie clips, current dictionaries and other evidence — that claimed at least 30 percent of Native Americans were offended to make its ruling.

If this is part of the why, then what about the other 70 percent that apparently either don’t give a flip or aren’t offended? They might have other issues on the table to worry about.

I also don’t necessarily like to use polling — for various reasons — but it is part of the story here.

Quite frankly, when I hear politicians talk about Washington owner Daniel Snyder “doing what is right” or some other remark —- well, consider the source.

Are these same nattering nabobs of negativism going to demand — if they are consistent, they should, but we all know how that turns out — that the Notre Dame Fighting Irish are offensive?

How about as a Catholic: the New Orleans Saints? It is supposed to be a term of endearment and part of its history but is it really, with Bourbon Street and all?

When you think of the NO Saints, do you really think of saints?

Or the San Diego Padres, with its mascot being the “Swinging Friar” — what looks to me like a fat friar that I consider a “cartoon” of a real Franciscan friar.

We can go on down the list: the cut-throat Raiders, Buccaneers, Pirates, Vikings, etc. — those that murdered and stole as a way of life. Should we be “celebrating” or “honoring their spirit?”

Are Braves, Chiefs, Seminoles and the like offensive or are they somehow OK as positively celebrating a spirit (“Tomahawk Chop”, anyone?)?

Guaranteed, someone is angry about nicknames such as Bears, Bengals, etc., as being offensive to animals, to being anti-animalist.

Why is my “offended” not as important as someone else’s?

It can get pretty ridiculous, can’t it, but I guarantee you that I am not the only one thinking this way.

Snyder has vowed he will not change the name of his team. He is arguing out of principle.

We shall see if that holds sway.

Last Updated on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 7:52 PM
 

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