I was a Redskin before it became uncool.
The name for the long-gone Erwin High School athletic program was the Redskins. We never heard of anyone being offended, except when a referee blew a call and we lost a game. My entire life, my brother Mike has been a diehard Washington Redskin fan. Much of our family comes from the shadow of Washington City, so it was a natural loyalty.
Personally, I have never really been an avid sports fan, at least not of conventional ball-sports. I love baseball from little kids up through minor league ball as a matter of principle. I was a lousy basketball player. I could only hit kids back according to the rules in football, and since we were gauged by size, not age, that didn’t work for me. I was always, until recently, rather ambivalent about soccer, but that’s a column for another day.
I really couldn’t care less about football teams and their names, especially since so many professional athletidiots sully the true sportsmen out there (and there are many). Football on TV usually gets in the way of things I want to watch, when I have time to stare at the idiot box.
But the hullabaloo over the Redskin name, a tempest in a teapot being dutifully overheated by the politically correct nincompoops, has grumbled me greatly.
I’ve yet to see more than one or two Native Americans growl about the name, and each of those folks was on TV and claimed heritage in tribes that historically never wore the “traditional garb” embraced by these professionally offended talking heads.
If you’ve missed the news, some folks are complaining that the Redskin name demeans Native Americans. No one growls about the Cleveland Indians, either, except for the Cleveland devotees who hope that maybe, some day, the Indians will win a baseball game.
Because some people have been offended, the US Patent Office refused to re-register the Washington Redskins trademark. I am sure that flooding the market with cheap, unlicensed Redskins products will offend far fewer people (yes, that was sarcasm) while it takes money out of the pocket of the ball club.
It’s funny, I think, how the Redskins honored and hosted some of the Navajo Windtalkers, American Indian volunteers who served as radio operators in World War II. These brave men spoke a language that could never be cracked by the enemy, and while they weren’t happy with the treatment their nation received from the country, they also were proud to serve the land they loved. The Windtalkers who were honored by the Redskins even wore (gasp!) team jackets with the offensive emblem. Like everyone in that greatest generation, they don’t seem to be too fluffed over politically correct foolishness.
Some of the finest men and women I have ever known—people who happen to be members of the Coharie and Waccamaw tribes—are Washington football fans. They also have far more pressing concerns than whether a sports team’s name is offensive.
If being offended by the name of a ball team is now an acceptable (and potentially, profitable for the offended) behavior, I am going to need a fresh pen to add up all the slights directed toward me. And they were all aimed at me, personally.
Okay, so I’m practicing being offended.
Let’s see—there’s the Boston Celtics basketball team. The NBA offends me generally, but as a proud Welsh/Irish/Scottish descendant, I feel demeaned because a team playing a sport I don’t like in a town I don’t care about is making light of my heritage.
Then there the Cornhuskers—everybody knows you shuck corn, you don’t husk it. That’s gotta change.
The Seattle Mariners are just rife with insulting ennui. To begin with, Seattle is the northernmost enclave of those who worship all things politically correct, happily buy $10 cups of coffee, approve of every alternative lifestyle and tolerate everything except meat-eating, fur-wearing Christians. Seattle offends me to my very marrow, and I have never even been there. And since I briefly spent time working as a professional fishermen, I am offended that they besmirch and belittle the name Mariner.
The Los Angeles Angels? Really? Just not going to go there.
The New York Metropolitans, aka Mets? Offensive to rural residents, as well as city people who are being lumped together with the pretentious term “metropolitan.”
Philadelphia 76ers? In the first case, 76ers ain’t even a real word. In the second case, North Carolina was part of the Halifax Resolves before the Declaration of Independence. Plus, the first blows for liberty were struck here in North Carolina. They should be forced to move the franchise to North Carolina, maybe someplace like Burgaw, Whiteville or Elizabethtown.
Minnesota Vikings? The stereotype is offensive to people of Nordic heritage.
New Orleans Jazz? Blues was around long before what we now call jazz. Jazz is unfairly taking advantage of its broader range of acceptability without properly acknowledging its roots in blues and folk music. Change it.
Denver Broncos? Offensive to well-trained horses.
Miami Dolphins? They use a porpoise as their symbol, not a dolphin. Porpoises are mammals, dolphins are fish—but I guess to the unenlightened, everything in the water looks the same. Gotta change that one.
San Francisco 49ers? Again, the whole numbers as a word thing, but we had a larger gold strike in North Carolina 30 years before Sutter’s Mill.
Eagles? Offensive to ospreys. Seahawks? Offensive to eagles. Bobcats? Offensive and demeaning to lynx rufus .
If this seems silly—then you have some common sense, which is more than I can say for the rabidly PC worldchangers of today.
I do not approve of, nor do I tolerate, insulting someone based on their race or racial stereotype. We should be well beyond that as a country, and we have made some strides in the past 50 years, but we ain’t there yet.
I am just inordinately angry that our society has gone so far that a handful of the perpetually offended can claim ownership of everyone else’s opinions in the name of other folks who haven’t felt insulted. Once upon a time, people chose their own battles and fought them. Now we have lawyers, lobbyists and looneys who choose what fights to fight, fight for how they think we should feel, get offended when we disagree, and send us a bill for their services.
My parents always taught me try to get along with folks, and to not make a big deal out of things that really won’t matter at the end of the day. They also taught me that sometimes we will get our feelings hurt, and there is no place in the Constitution or the Bible that says we have a right not to have our feelings hurt. Intentionally being nasty to someone is rude, an affront to my own family, and just selfish. They taught me to take responsibility for my actions, and to stand my ground regardless of the whining of the superfluously silly shenanigans of modern society.
They were so silly and misinformed, it’s downright offensive.