On Tuesday, we wrote about how two Washington Redskins legends, Darrell Green and Art Monk, came forward to say the team name was offensive. And of course it's offensive. We know it's racist, and you know it's racist, and most importantly, owner Dan Snyder knows it's racist, because actual Native Americans have come forward and said it's racist. Still, Snyder's not budging, because he's a bad person.
Because Snyder doesn't even care what Native Americans have to say about a slur toward Native Americans, one potential way that this is going to get sorted out and the Washington Redskins are going to stop embarrassing themselves is if the players—current ones like RG3 and past greats like Darrell Green and Art Monk—come together and condemn the Redskins name.
And it felt like that's kind of what happened, because in a WTOP interview, Monk came out and said, "If Native Americans feel like Redskins or the Chiefs or [another] name is offensive to them, then who are we to say to them 'No, it's not'?"
And it felt like Green kind of cosigned. "It deserves and warrants conversation because somebody is saying, 'Hey, this offends me,'" he said.
But yesterday, Green clarified both his and Monk's remarks.
“In no way I want to see the Redskins change their name,” Green said to 106.7 The Fan’s Lavar and Dukes. “So that just makes that clear. And I’ll speak for Art, there’s no way he wants it, and I guarantee he didn’t say it, and I know I didn’t say it.”
See, he didn't say the Redskins should change their name. He just thinks we should talk about it, and then decide not to. From CBS Washington:
“What my real comment in response to the question was, ‘Does it deserve merit?’” Green clarified. “And my comments were that, ‘Look, if it offended somebody – if somebody was offended, then I think it merits at least a discussion.’ I mean, goodness, I mean, people should be able to say ‘Hey, you offended me’ and somebody should be able to have a dialogue. Now, where it lands, that’s another thing.”
“You know and I know, in your industry, certain people, you know, they want to have different agendas and they’ve got stuff to say, and you know, you want people to think this,” Green later added.
“My point was, in this country guys, you start talking about politics, racism, lesbians, gays … oh you can’t say all that! Wait a minute. We can’t talk about it? I talk about it with my daughters,” Green further clarified his stance.
He does believe opposition to the Redskins name is missing a face representative of the issue, however.
“See, Rodney King has a face. Trayvon Martin has a face. Some of these issues have a face and a personality,” Green noted. “One thing I will say on the Redskins side of it, there is no face or personality.”
His last comment about Rodney King and Trayvon Martin is a good point, even as it misses the point. The idea that because there's no individual, publicized victim, this racism is somehow a victimless crime is dumb. That's how change is stalled. That's how Rodney Kings and Trayvon Martins are made. There are many victims of our relationship with Native Americans, because for a large part of our history, we slaughtered Native Americans like animals. The Washington moniker is a memento of this past, a past that can't be righted.
Green could say there are no figures in the movement to change the name, but of course there are lots. Many are dead. Others are alive, and have petitioned Snyder to change the name.
Snyder won't, though, because he's rich and powerful and racist. And sadly, some of the only ones capable of challenging him, who can make a difference, are his players. But when they, like Green, scamper in line with the racist owner of the league's most historically racist franchise, it gives off the impression that a racial slur as a team name is OK, acceptable, a source of pride, even when we all know it's not.
Photo Credit: Associated Press