Courtland Milloy: A sad symbol of sorry 'Redskins'
"Poor Chief Zee.

As the "unofficial" mascot for the Washington Redskins during the past 31 years, he has suffered more than enough. His leg was broken. An eye was nearly punched out by a Philadelphia Eagles fan. He lost to the Baltimore Ravens' "Poe" bird in last year's Most Fierce Mascot competition and, before that, was rejected for the Mascot Hall of Fame.

His tomahawk has been stolen, his big toe amputated, and now, at age 68, he can be seen trolling the sidelines for cheers in a motorized scooter.

In many ways, Chief Zee's travails mirror those of the team, now 2-4 after Sunday's loss to Kansas City. But while watching fiascos on a football field may be masochistic, watching Zee calcify into some cigar store Indian on the sidelines is downright sickening.

Surely a friend would tell Zee -- whose real name is Zema Williams -- to hang up the war bonnet and take a seat in the 21st century.

Times are changing.

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering whether to hear a lawsuit arguing that the "Redskins" trademark violates standards of decency. And the U.S. Senate passed a resolution this month recognizing "years of official depredations, ill-conceived policies, and the breaking of covenants by the federal government regarding Indian tribes." An apology was made for "the many instances of violence, maltreatment and neglect inflicted on native peoples."

Washington could help make the proclamation more sincere by changing the team name -- and retiring Chief Zee. Set him up in a box seat with a plate of hot wings and a new tomahawk."

Get the Story:
Courtland Milloy: On the sidelines, the sad symbol of a sorry tradition (The Washington Post 10/21)

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