Maybe it’s a good thing Daniel Snyder didn’t mention Rick Reilly’s pro-Redskins column in Snyder’s pro-Redskins letter.
Reilly, who has opined in the past that the Redskins name is racist, argued last month that the name isn’t offensive to Native Americans. Reilly cited his own father-in-law, who is Native American, as proof for the proposition.
There’s only one problem with Reilly’s representations. Via Deadspin, Reilly’s father-in-law says that he does indeed find the term “Redskins” offensive.
Bob Burns writes in an item for Indian Country Total Media Network that Reilly misquoted Burns, and that Reilly has failed to correct the misrepresentation, despite Burns’ request that he do so.
“My son-in-law, ESPN’s Rick Reilly, completely misunderstood the conversation we had, quoting me as saying ‘the whole issue is so silly. The name just doesn’t bother me much. It’s an issue that shouldn’t be an issue, not with all the problems we’ve got in this country.’ But that’s not what I said.
“What I actually said is that ‘it’s silly in this day and age that this should even be a battle — if the name offends someone, change it.’ He failed to include my comments that the term ‘redskins’ demeans Indians, and historically is insulting and offensive, and that I firmly believe the Washington Redskins should change their name.”
There’s a chance, we suppose, that Reilly’s comments were accurate, and that Burns changed his tune only after getting flak from other Native Americans. If that’s not the case, it’ll be interesting to see how ESPN handles smoking-gun proof of an employee deliberately changing quotes to fit a preordained narrative.
It’ll be more interesting to see how the Reilly family handles the situation at the next family gathering, which may not go quite as smoothly as the original Thanksgiving did.
Maybe they can mend fences over a screening of Leatherheads, which now officially ranks as the second worst thing Reilly has ever written.