Stephen Sonneveld, a correspondent for the popular sports website BleacherReport.com, wrote an article on July 30 titled “Washington Redskins: NFL Celebrates 80 Years of Disparagement.”
Sonneveld wrote to us alerting us to his piece (he had referenced an article written our own Gale Courey Toensing wrote about the state of Maine doing away with offensive mascots, logos and team names), which he was happy to be able to showcase on a site like Bleacher Report because of it’s largely non-Native readers. Bleacher Report is a well read site, and Sonneveld felt that the non-Native readers might be educated by not only his point of view, but about the many facts he inserted into the piece on the team’s history, the feelings of the team’s owner Dan Synder, and so on. Perhaps, the thinking went, a new population of non-Native readers would be enlightened by Sonneveld’s article.
Unfortunately, things didn’t quite pan out that way.
Instead, the article was removed by the site after the comments section lit up with a bevy of insensitive remarks (ranging from the boringly bone-headed, like one commentator’s “Hail to the REDSKINS” to the seriously misinformed (all grammatical errors belong to the commentators, FYI) non-point, such as “I mean you dont see a bunch of white people protest the vikings because the vikings were murderous rapists.”)
Many of the comments get worse, but to Bleacher Report’s credit, they reinstated the article, with more supporting evidence (including a link to the original lyrics to the Redskins fight song, which has to be read to be believed) and put the comments back up for the world to see in all their inane, insensitive glory.
Sonneveld was happy to see the comments back up. He wrote to us that “some of that ignorance was priceless and only supported the points I made in the piece, that people are more interested about their team then they are about the feelings of Natives.”
We suggest you read the full piece yourself, and, if you want to add your voice to the fray, perhaps you can do what Sonneveld, unfortunately, was unable to do as the original author—educate the masses who were so quick to pile up on him and accuse him of reheating an argument that has, apparently, already been put to bed and that no one is interested in any longer.
That they’re wrong is obvious to us and our readers, but clearly not to them.