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Column: Virginia eager to embrace NFL team's racist mascot

Filed Under: Opinion | Sports
More on: mascots, nfl, racism, redskins, virginia
     


The logo for the Change the Mascot campaign

Politicians are running away from a certain NFL team but Washington Post columnist Mike Wise notes there is one place where a racist mascot can feel welcome:
For 23 years, the team headquarters has been in Ashburn. All the players and coaches either live in the suburb or nearby. They practice, shop and pay taxes in Northern Virginia. The three Lombardi Trophies Joe Gibbs’s teams won more than two decades ago gleam behind the glass there, not on the other side of the Potomac. Now more than ever the owner and team president Bruce Allen — son of George the coach, brother of George, Jr., the former Virginia senator — need their Virginia cocoon. During these delicate ChangeTheMascot.org times, Virginia is where the team has organized all of its remaining political support.

While half the U.S. Senate and the bipartisan New York legislature has demanded Snyder change what the U.S. Trademark and Patent court defined as a slur, while the largest governing body of Native Americans and 70 sovereign tribes representing tens of thousands have all bonded over a common cause, the Commonwealth is the only state in the union with an actual “[R-word] Pride Caucus.”

In a Roanoke Times editorial last month, House Delegate David Ramadan (R) summed up his fellow Virginia officeholders’ passion for keeping the name: “It’s no mistake that members of this newfound caucus come from around the commonwealth. For generations, the [R-words] have been Virginia’s team, even the South’s team.”

The South’s team.

That’s precisely what George Preston Marshall called his faux-Indian franchise. It’s the same reason the original owner who named the team was the last to integrate his roster in 1962, 16 years after the NFL’s color barrier had been broken. And that came only after the Kennedy administration threatened to prohibit Marshall’s team from playing on federal land.

Get the Story:
Mike Wise: Time to admit: The area’s NFL team belongs to Virginia (The Washington Post 8/4)

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Opinion: Teams with Indian mascots all play on stolen tribal land (07/08)
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