ESPN's Emmy Award-winning investigative news program Outside the Lines recently examined the Redskins naming controversy. Featured guests were Notah Begay, Navajo/San Felipe/Isleta, and and journalist Mark Trahant, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.
The ESPN episode (titled "Redskins Nickname Controversy") is the latest examination of the swelling opposition to the use of the derogatory term Redskins by owner Daniel Snyder's NFL team. Interestingly, as host Bob Ley wryly noted, ESPN had extreme difficulty finding anyone to come on air in support of the use of the name Redskins. But they did find one: Ray Smith of SonofWashington.com. Here's video of his segment.
Is Smith's argument convincing? Let us know what you think in the Comments section below.
You can listen to a podcast of the entire episode by clicking here.
Here's a transcript of the show's intro:
Recently, at a daylong symposium on racist sports nicknames at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, the Washington Redskins nickname came under heavy criticism from many voices. Among the voices was Judith Bartnoff, a deputy presiding judge in District of Columbia Superior Court, who said “ I can only imagine what it would be like to be at a football game at FedEx Field in a crowd of close to 90,000, all screaming at the top of their lungs, when what they are screaming is a racial slur.” Following the symposium, Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen said the team isn’t considering changing the nickname and added that it was “ludicrous” to imply that the franchise was trying to upset Native Americans. Allen added that there was “nothing that we feel is offensive, and we’re proud of our history.“ Today on Outside the Lines, we discuss the controversy involving the Washington Redskins nickname.
Regular ICTMN contributor Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. Trahant’s recent book, The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars, is the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.
Four-time PGA Tour winner Begay is a TV analyst for NBC Sports and the Golf Channel. Through his foundation, the Notah Begay III Foundation, Begay efforts to improve the health of Native American youth nationwide.