You know you’ve got problems when even a notorious criminal who had an astounding lack of morals and zero ethics thinks you’re being offensive.
Former lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who went from being one of the most powerful, shameless players in backroom D.C. politics to serving four years in the minimum-security prison camp of Federal Correctional Institution in Cumberland, Maryland, has a new book out in which he rips into Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder for the team’s hideous nickname.
The book, Capital Punishment: The Hard Truth About Washington Corruption From America’s Most Notrious Lobbyist, which hopefully nobody buys, details his relationship with Snyder. Abramoff used the Redskins stadium, FedEx Field, to entertain his powerful clients in their VIP suites. He had a list of complaints for Snyder, which he shared with the prickly owner at the time, feeling that because of the amount of money Abramoff was spending there, the owner should heed his advice.
And what was that advice? Sports website DeadSpin.com reports on the noise Abramoff makes in his book about how he and his cohorts deserved to be moved into the nicer suites (unfortunately, the prime suites he desired were already occupied—by journalists covering the game). Who cares. But then there’s this little gem that Deadspin delivers from the book: “The final item on my long list of suggestions was that he should try to change the offensive name of the team.”
Abramoff doesn’t stop there. Deadspin offers more from the book:
“Although the Choctaws had long ago assured me that a team named the Redskins didn’t bother them, I figured I would take a shot a trying to undo this insult. In my letter to Snyder, I asked him how we would feel if the New York team were called the Jew Boys, or worse. Moreover, I knew that all Native Americans resented the use of the feathered headdress in the team band’s uniform. I asked how he would feel if the New York Jew Boys band had a uniform of black hats and prayer shawls. I further argued that, were he to make this change now, he would immediately establish himself as a moral leader in our nation’s capital, and garner the respect of those who were likely to look askance on him.
“Snyder called me within hours of receiving the letter, and reviewed each point with me. He was kind and gracious, not the imperious brat the media had portrayed him to be. He said that he sympathized with my points about the team’s name, but he had been a Redskins fan since he was a kid, and he couldn’t bring himself to change it. His business acumen led many to think he was only a cold-hearted, cutthroat shark, but he was nothing but decent, honest and straightforward with me. A few seasons later, I was given first choice of the new suites in the former press section and our expenditures at FedEx Field grew exponentially.”
We suggest you check out Deadspin’s take on this excerpt; the verbiage they use is decidedly blue, but it fits in this case. The insanity of the above statement, from a man who stole millions from those very Choctaws he claims to respect, and of his assessment of the “decent, honest” Synder, who can’t bring himself to change an offensive name and mascot because he “liked them since he was a kid” is astoundingly selfish and lacking in base-level self-awareness.
American Indian communities do not need Jack Abramoff on their side, a man who said, and did, terrible things to the very tribes he pretended to be “in business” with. If you haven’t seen the documentary film Casino Jack and the United States of Money we suggest you do, but perhaps have a punching bag nearby.