Opinion | Sports

Opinion: Enough is enough - Eliminate the 'Redskins' mascot

An open letter to Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington Redskins:
History tends to be unkind to those who make bold proclamations against change.1 You have made it crystal clear that you believe there is nothing wrong with the name of our region's beloved franchise and probably perceive Webster's dictionary to have some politically correct, liberal agenda when it defines redskin as "usually offensive." You've never commented on its past use in this country as a term of derision, humiliation, and violence. Why bother getting hung up on history? After all, as a wise man once said, that's why pencils have erasers.

No one has ever heard you speak about the well-known connective DNA between the team name and the man who coined it, original owner George Preston Marshall, who was called the NFL's "leading bigot" by legendary Washington Post sportswriter Shirley Povich. You surely know that Marshall was an arch-segregationist and your team was the last in the NFL to integrate. You probably see it as irrelevant to the name that Marshall had a deep affection for the slave South and minstrel shows or that for years he had "Dixie" played before home games.2 You've made clear that you want to someday bring the team back to D.C. from the suburban hinterlands of Landover, Maryland. You've also made clear your contempt for the D.C. mayor and the D.C. City Council, who have said if you ever want to see public subsidies for this venture, the name must change.

Get the Story:
Dave Zirin: Enough: An open letter to Dan Snyder (Grantland 6/13)

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