Everyone's least favorite sportswriter can't be serious with his latest argument. Can he?
Written by Luke O'Neil (@lukeoneil47)
Having just accidentally bumbled into the satirical briar patch that is #hotsportstakes on Grantland, the regular feature in which they attempt to write the worst sports column on Earth, I was extra cautious when I saw a link to ESPN columnist Rick Reilly's latest Hallmark's man-musk line of concern troll sympathy stationery. If "Redskins" is racist, who's going to tell the three Indian reservation high schools that wear it proudly?” he Rick Reilly'd on Twitter. What followed was a 1,000 or so words that began with a variation on the old racist denial canard “Some of my best friends are Native American” and concluded with an analogy between an attempt to pressure a billion dollar sports franchise to change their racist-ass nickname to the systemic genocide of a continent's indigenous people.
Had Reilly out Rick-Reilly'd his satirists here?
The debate over the name of the football team has been heated of late, with a number of media outlets, including Reilly's counterpart in aww-shucks just-folks sports writing Peter King of Monday Morning Quarterback and Sports Illustrated saying he will no longer use it. Robert Griffin III, the team's once-and-maybe-not-future-anymore savior has been asked about the issue repeatedly, including Wednesday when he said during a press conference with the Detroit media that he had been advised not to talk about it anymore.
"Me and all these players in here, we're not the authority to speak on that issue," Griffin said. "We can't tell you anything from that standpoint because we have no authority to talk about that. Not a team-directed thing or anything.”
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell addressed the issue on Wednesday on Washington's 106.7, saying "Ultimately it is [team owner Dan Snyder's] decision but it is something I want all of us to go out and make sure we are listening to our fans, listening to people that have a different view, and making sure we continue to do what is right. We want to make sure the team represents the strong tradition and history that it has for so many years. If we are offending one person we need to be listening and making sure we are doing the right things to address that."
Instead of finding one person or a handful of people who were offended, he took up in favor of the slur, and found a few people who weren't offended. Even Steven!
It's safe to say at this point that more than one person is offended.
Reilly, on the other hand, found that quote amusing, and, in what I still can't believe is the actual argument made on a major sports news site, never mind one from their star columnist, picked up on that idea and decided to turn it on its head. Instead of finding one person or a handful of people who were offended, he took up in favor of the slur, and found a few people who weren't offended. Even Steven! One of them was his father in law, a Blackfeet Indian in Montana, which is how you know Reilly can't be racist. Next he trotted out a couple of majority-Native American high schools who themselves use the name Redskin for their sports teams.
"I've talked to our students, our parents and our community about this and nobody finds any offense at all in it," says Tim Ames, the superintendent of Wellpinit schools. "'Redskins' is not an insult to our kids. 'Wagon burners' is an insult. 'Prairie n-----s' is an insult. Those are very upsetting to our kids. But 'Redskins' is an honorable name we wear with pride. … In fact, I'd like to see somebody come up here and try to change it."
"My kids are really afraid we're going to lose the Redskin name,” another one of Reilly's sources says, quoting something his daughter definitely said. “They say to me, 'They're not going to take it from us, are they, Dad?'"
Who's this guy's daughter, David Frum in a headdress? “Why is Obama not letting grandma go to the hospital daddy? You work so hard.” I will change my name to Redskins O'Neil if that child's quote isn't a complete sack of horseshit. It wouldn't be the first time such a defense had holes in poked in it, as with the “full-blooded chief” the team had been flogging for PR.