Many in the media aren’t comfortable with the ongoing use of the name “Redskins.” Peter King of TheMMQB.com and NBC’s Football Night in America has decided to do something about it.
He’s stopped using it.
King, who told PFT when word first emerged of the possibility more than a week ago that no final decision had been made, explained his position in a Friday column looking ahead to the coming weekend.
“The simple reason is that for the last two or three years, I’ve been uneasy when I sat down to write about the team and had to use the nickname,” King writes. “In some stories I’ve tried to use it sparingly. But this year, I decided to stop entirely because it offends too many people, and I don’t want to add to the offensiveness. Some people, and some Native American organizations — such as the highly respected American Indian Movement — think the nickname is a slur. Obviously, the team feels it isn’t a slur, and there are several prominent Native American leaders who agree. But I can do my job without using it, and I will.”
King and I talked about his decision during a break from Saturday’s FNIA rehearsals at 30 Rock (we’re in the Saturday Night Live studio this year). It’s not a P.R. move. In fact, he’s avoiding interview requests about the topic. King told me that, for example, he declined an invitation to appear on ABC’s Good Morning America. (If he wants publicity for the move, that’s definitely not the way to get it.)
Many will agree with King’s decision. Many will disagree with it. In my own personal view, the name when stripped from the team it represents should be regarded in modern times as offensive. Though PFT will (for now) continue to use the word as long as the team goes by that name, I’m confident that, at some point within the next 50 years, the name will change. Then, the debate as to whether the name should have been changed will linger for another 50 years.
Come 2113, the people populating the United States of America (or whatever we’ll be called then) will be amazed that, in 2013, that name was still in place. My primary goal is to live for as many of the next 100 years as possible. My secondary goal is to ensure that my great-great-great-grandchildren will realize when they go to Google (or whatever it’ll be called then) that I didn’t support it. And that I had a decent toupee.
One out of two ain’t bad.