Renowned New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd says that all one has to do is “watch a Western to know that the word Redskins is not a compliment.”
Dowd, who is from Washington, D.C., and rooted for the Redskins growing up, wrote in her column today that the team should change its name because it is a racial slur.
She asked her family to weigh in on the debate over dinner, and reports that while the members of her family may “disdain the ineffectively megalomaniacal Daniel Snyder,” they leapt to his defense regarding changing the team’s name.
“My sister argues that the Redskins should not have to change as long as the Atlanta Braves have their Tomahawk Chop and the Cleveland Indians have their logo, Chief Wahoo, a crimson-faced Indian with a big cheesy grin,” Dowd wrote.
“Their logo is a disgrace,” her sister told her. “At least our logo is a profile of a strong warrior and not someone who looks drunk.”
Dowd also cited “big name” columnists who swore off using the name, like, Peter King of Sports Illustrated and Christine Brennan of USA Today.
Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, she said, was “feeling the heat” although he once stood by Dan Snyder, the team’s owner, and then backed off from supporting him on his vow to “never” change the team’s name.
She wrote, “Goodell doesn’t want Congress pressing safety issues with the NFL and he doesn’t want to alienate people with bigotry. So why not appease critics on a name?”
She also mentioned Suzan Shown Harjo, who told the Times’s Ken Belson that “deracinating the name was ‘king of the mountain because it’s associated with the nation’s capital, so what happens here affects the rest of the country.’”
But after presenting all those opinions, Dowd went to her friend Bob Pollin, whose father, Abe Pollin, owned the NBA Washington Wizards. He changed the team’s name from the Bullets to the Wizards as a message against gun violence.
“My father was righteous, maybe even self-righteous,” Bob Pollin told Dowd. “He had a moral motive for doing this. Now some find the name Wizards wimpy. They think Bullets is cooler, as in Navy SEALs shoot bullets. But I take great pride in my father having done it.”
Pollin said that Snyder (who Dowd called “stubborn”) should change the team’s name “as an act of courage and civic contribution.”