RG3: Now’s not the time for me to speak on Redskins name

AP

Sports stars rarely wade into divisive issues, and so it’s no surprise that Robert Griffin III wants to steer clear of the controversy surrounding his team’s name.

Griffin said on 106.7 The Fan that he’d rather not talk about his own feelings about the Redskins name controversy.

“When it comes to those conversations, it’s just not the time,” Griffin said. “And I understand, trust me, I’m African American, I’ve grown up being African American my entire life and I understand oppression and all the things that come with it. But for us, like I said, as players, we have to focus on what we can control right now, and right now that’s the football season.”

That’s not a surprising answer. Athletes usually calculate that if they speak out, they’re more likely to lose fans, lose endorsements and distract from their primary jobs than to effect social change.

When asked whether he would want to be the Muhammad Ali of his generation, a sports star who speaks his mind despite the consequences, Griffin said that’s not how he sees his role.

“If anything to that extent came up as a player, and you had an opportunity to be the Muhammad Ali of your generation, when it comes to oppression and just things being wrong — my parents grew up in that time, I’ve heard stories about it, I’ve watched movies about it, I understand that — and if it comes to that, then you make a decision at that time, but at this time particularly, we have to focus on what we can control,” Griffin said.

When the Redskins launched a Twitter campaign in defense of their name, some players joined in. Griffin did not, and he said the team didn’t ask him to.

“The team does those things and I don’t have any statement on what they do, and those situations, but they didn’t ask me to do that,” Griffin said.

Anyone asking Griffin to weigh in on the Redskins name is likely to come away unsatisfied: On that subject, Griffin is keeping his opinions to himself.

109 responses to “RG3: Now’s not the time for me to speak on Redskins name

  1. Boring and lousy attitude.

    That’s fine if you want to keep your opinions to yourself, but you should be considerate of the position you hold and what the topic is if most people feel like there should be some honest disclosure as to your true position on the issue.

  2. As a member of the Piscataway Native American tribe and two other tribes, I say the Redskins name is a name that reflects the pride, strength and heritage of Native American History and life. I do not all believe its a Racist slur. I believe the media bridges that political propaganda to tribes to stir up emotions that are not held deep within most Native American circles Redskin for life

  3. Looks like he is maturing and that means he will be even more dangerous on the field – good for the Redskins and not so good for the Cowboys (which is a racial slur to the original Vaqueros, BTW)

  4. Rg3 needs to realize he’s not African American, he’s American.

    On another note, if he had nothing to say now, he should have nothing to say at all moving forward. Money shouldn’t dictate if you should stand up for what’s right or not.

  5. “Talking about the Redskins name right now would take the attention away from myself and I just can’t do that right now”..RGME

  6. He can’t say he supports the name. The democrats will have the IRS after him if he opposes their view…

  7. Baaaaail on the Redskiiiins
    Ruuuuuun RG Threeeeee
    Get used to Saaaaaayin
    “PLEASE! Stop aaaaaaskin meeeeeeee!!!”

  8. Couldn’t care less what Griffin’s opinion is. Ditto for Harry Reid.
    The nickname was never intended to racially slur anyone. Not 80 years ago. And certainly not now. I have no dog in this fight, other than I’m tired of liberals telling me what’s right and what’s wrong.
    How I’d enjoy seeing the Redskins win the Super Bowl. Not seeing Obama do the traditional White House salute to the winning Super Bowl team, one from the city in which he resides, would be nothing short of SPECIAL.

  9. Well I want to keep getting my pay check. So, no I really don’t have anything to say about the issue. Check back with me in a few years when I’m available for free agency. I might or I might not have anything to add… Depending on my relationship with management

  10. I wish an athlete would just say:

    “I have a personal opinion and it will remain personal. Whether I come out for or against the name, I will be dragged into the press’ bonfire of the vanities. thank you, but I do not wish to participate in this discussion.”

  11. Wisest thing he’s done since getting to the league. Don’t get caught out there on a limb. Damned if you and damned if you don’t.

    But the focus remains with Snyder. No one should take that away from him, the NFL and the owners. They are the “DECIDERS”.

  12. I’m more interested in the opinion of ex-Redskins players like Tim Hasselbeck, who are on a national stage and who are paid for their opinions. Joe Gibbs would be another I’d like to hear.

  13. Guys, this is getting to be almost as bad as BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) from a few years ago. Obsess much?

    Say, why don’t you ask Chris Cooley for his opinion? He used to get a lot of run on this site and he just stated his opinion on the matter. Why not post something about that, huh?

  14. He’ll have plenty of time to address that issue when he’s out of the league in 2 years!

  15. Native Americans can’t even agree on deciding if the name is a slur or not.

    They should get a consensus first then let us non-Native Americans know what they decide.

  16. The media is going to beat this up until they find someone else who is offended, Maybe a pacifist from Dublin who is offended by the fighting Irish, or an Atheist offended by the Saints

  17. I think everybody on this comment board would agree that nobody here would ever stand up to this if it meant losing their job.

    Ridiculous.

  18. RG3 is oppressed? America has become a nation of victims dispite the gazillions spent on the “oppressed”. BTW didn’t he recently marry a caucasion?

  19. If you don’t stand up for your beliefs or are afraid to articulate them – they’re not beliefs but hobbies.

  20. Ali was the most famous person, let alone athlete, of his generation. And he told the Washington warmongers that he “…got no grudge against any Viet Cong”, shortly before he refused to be inducted into the army.

    Any spitting contest about RGIII’s sponsors and a team’s name pales by comparison.

  21. I thought he should have SUPPORTED AND STUCK UP FOR the name…. Without fear. He’s proud to take Snyder’s checks, why not have Snyder’s back? If not, maybe a real strong statement would be to refuse to play for them…… Now THAT would be courageous. My opinion is different but I would say that is taking a stand!

  22. The term has always meant to be offensive. “Redskin” was first coined in 1699. It referred to the Native American. Savage is a synonym of the term. Merriam-Webster states, Learner’s definition of REDSKIN:
    [count] informal + offensive
    : native american
    ◊ The word redskin is very offensive and should be avoided.

    In 1899, my grandmother’s family was subject to an Indian raid. They had to hide in the cellar to escape harm. If she was alive she would tell you that the term “redskin” and “savage” have always been racial slurs meant to demean the Native American. It has never meant to be a term of endearment.

  23. The whole Redskins argument is actually very simple. Too often we get caught up in conservative and liberal viewpoints.
    Facts:
    1. Native Americans were no match for Europeans who immigrated here and were eventually defeated militarily.
    2. For some strange reason, likely due to guilt, they were given special status and protection from their conquerors laws on reservations
    3. Native Americans have assimilated poorly with US society and have a higher substance abuse rate and lower per capita income.
    4. This means from a power perspective and a financial perspective, they are the weaker party in any discussion about policy

    With the above facts, non Native Americans should not make comments about whether the name Redskins is derogatory because they have no clue.
    Native Americans may feel ambivalent.
    So the story should just be that people with power are using this name and it has financial benefit, and they should just agree that it may cause some people to feel hurt but they don’t care because the money they collect from it is more important to them.
    That way the argument is honest on both sides.

  24. “I’ll have plenty to say in a couple of years when I’m someplace else”…

    That’s the rest of it.

  25. guinsrule2,

    Very true. I’m an independent but while I disagree with conservatives on several things, it is getting to the point where liberals basically say they want you to have choice… only if it agrees with them. If I was a famous person I would not say a word about anything. It’s his business and his choice if he wants to talk. Nobody has the right to make him talk. As an American, everyone should fully support his right to speak up or be quiet, it’s his right.

    Good for you RGIII!

  26. Why don’t the Indian organization who are pushing for this AND HAVE MONEY help with spending money to help change the name? Honestly I mean if people are truly offended then obviously it is what it is, but it all comes down to money. And to say “we are offended” now spend millions to change it and deal with everything to change it. But rather offer to help financially with the change? I mean if it’s truly offensive wouldn’t you try to help? Just a though

  27. “But for us, like I said, as players, we have to focus on what we can control right now, and right now that’s the football season.”

    “… but at this time particularly, we have to focus on what we can control.”

    Nor is it his business. He has zero control over the outcome.

    Seems like some people (AHEM!!!), like a dog on someone’s pant leg, just want emotional and career devastation for anyone involved, directly or indirectly.

    Let’s see how this relates to all of the prominant politicians attending games there this fall. For some reason I don’t see this site calling them out nearly as staunchly. Or the beer company that services the facility, or any of the food, supply, service, or utility vendors. And again, I’m all for a name change.

  28. He’s just the hired help. This isn’t his issue. The boss is the one who should take the heat. And pay the price.

  29. rrthomasxyz says:
    Jun 21, 2014 4:57 PM
    The term has always meant to be offensive. “Redskin” was first coined in 1699. It referred to the Native American. Savage is a synonym of the term. Merriam-Webster states, Learner’s definition of REDSKIN:
    [count] informal + offensive
    : native american
    ◊ The word redskin is very offensive and should be avoided.

    In 1899, my grandmother’s family was subject to an Indian raid. They had to hide in the cellar to escape harm. If she was alive she would tell you that the term “redskin” and “savage” have always been racial slurs meant to demean the Native American. It has never meant to be a term of endearment.

    ======================

    Nice try. Your grandmother can use the word however she wants but that doesn’t change the origin of the word.

    Smithsonian Institution senior linguist Ives Goddard spent seven months researching its history and concluded that “redskin” was first used by Native Americans in the 18th century to distinguish themselves from the white “other” encroaching on their lands and culture.

    When it first appeared as an English expression in the early 1800s, “it came in the most respectful context and at the highest level,” Goddard said in an interview. “These are white people and Indians talking together, with the white people trying to ingratiate themselves.”

    It was not until July 22, 1815, that “red skin” first appeared in print, he found — in a news story in the Missouri Gazette on talks between Midwestern Indian tribes and envoys sent by President James Madison to negotiate treaties after the War of 1812.

    The envoys had rebuked the tribes for their reluctance to yield territory claimed by the United States, but the Gazette report suggested that Meskwaki chief Black Thunder was unimpressed: “Restrain your feelings and hear calmly what I say,” he told the envoys. “I have never injured you, and innocence can feel no fear. I turn to all red skins and white skins, and challenge an accusation against me.”

  30. Ok do we know the name was not intended as a slur back in 1932 when the team was founded. There was also a lot of other words in 1932 that were not intended to be slurs but are now. There are def some issues now a days that are PC on steroids, I don’t think this is one of them. I was on the “never change the name” bandwagon for a long time, but the more I considered it, the more I realized there is no rational reason to keep the name. I don’t believe the government should have any hand in this, but decent Americans should all stand up and say. “It’s not right”. Also Snyder would make a fortune in new memorabilia sales if he did change the name. And who’s the guy claiming to be in multiple tribes , I thought the whole point to a tribe was undying loyalty to the one tribe. Pretty sure it’s Native American law that you pledge yourself to one tribe. Of course I could be wrong.

  31. I’m an independent but the conservative point of view seems to be when you own something you can do whatever the heck you want to do with it. That’s not the case. The longer Snyder resists doing the right thing the steeper the price he will pay. The right thing is to respect the fact that the team name is a slur and it should be changed. The sooner the better.

  32. If the name is racist surely you have laws that would be able to prosecute. In England we have racially aggravated offences. Wearing garments with racist words on them would result in a prison sentence.

  33. If he made a comment, all the haters would call him “RGMe” and say he only cares about himself and his opinion and hes hurting the team.

    You trolls need to get your own lives and stop living through your keyboards.

  34. Could not have said it better avenger9800. Funny how it’s mostly white people that are offended.

  35. I have been following this debate since it started and I have heard people say that the name is a slur and offensive to the American Indian people.

    How is it possible to get a conclusive and definitive sentiment of the American Indian people when this nation with all of its political pomp don’t even consider the gross offensive tactics that disenfranchised a whole nation, suddenly believes that a football team name even approaches degradation intentions much less oppression.

    There has not been one sentence that states the name in a derogatory way, but simple opinionated bullying busters thinking that they can use emotional nonsense to force their way.

    If you can show me one incident in history where this name was used I a derogatory way to oppress the American Indian people and I would be more likely to want the change because of it.

    What hasn’t that information been printed by the media that’s using the emotional hype to cloak their own hypocrisy. Here are the facts to lead this debate instead of all of the hyperbole.

    Show me the facts and then we talk about changing, otherwise shut up and move on to the next idiotic ploy of manipulation to have your own way.

    You’d be better off going to Burger King and see if they will let you have your own way changing their name.

    The Redskins name is nothing similar to the N-word which was a derogatory word from its origin and meant purely to demoralize anyone forced to to be identified by it.

    Red Mesa Redskins are the people who call themselves Redskins with the sentiment of pride and value.

    Go tell them that they should be ashamed of the name that they choose and see what they have to say.

  36. He will spill his guts on the subject soon enough. This kid doesn’t know the meaning of quiet.

    Truthfully his opinion means jack. If I were the Redskins owner, I would warn against biting the hand that feeds and make an example out of those who chime in on the subject.

  37. Have they asked the CEO of Chuck-E-Cheese what he thinks?

    We need a survey to tie into the Census. Anyone having no objection to the name will be blacklisted, incarcerated, and taxed.

  38. That wishy-washy non-answer shows that Griffen is capable of being another stand-for-nothing-but-your-votes politician.

    But, analyzing this, it is clear that, if he did not believe the name is derogatory, it would have been easy for him to say so. Thus, he believes the name is derogatory, but is too cowardly or fearful of losing money or fans to say so.

  39. Most people who say it’s a slur are just homer fans of rival teams who want to punk, prank, and harass the Redskins. The Redskins have roughly 1/32nd of the fan base and thus should file for minority protection.

  40. Seems a bit cowardly to me

    All the me me me talk the last couple years about anything and everything and now suddenly he shuts his mouth ?

    Lame. Cowardly and lame.

  41. Can’t anyone find a native American football player to ask their opinion about the name?
    RG3’s opinion would have no more bearing than Archie Bunker’s!!!!!!!!!
    Quit trying to stir the pot.

  42. Show me rg111 where you have been oppressed. You received a scholarship to Baylor now your making millions of dollars in salary and endorsements. So where have you been oppressed again?

  43. I know Mark Rypien.

    He’s never been comfortable with the name and would rather have it changed.

    But he also understands what the team did for him and he’s not going to come out and make a stink – at least not now.

  44. You no more speak for Mark Rypien, or any Native American folks, than RG3 does. Sorry.

    Folks truly need to stop speaking FOR Native Americans, and let them speak for themselves.

    Who is anyone else to tell anyone else, what someone else things………..or should think?

  45. Great article, PFT. I, and many of my fellow NFL fans WANT to know what’s happening with name. I hope you keep the discussion going.

  46. Lets put this issue on the next Presidential ballot. If after a total count of the votes, 50.001% of America thinks the name is offensive, then change the name, when 1% of the country thinks its offensive, then the name stays the Redskins. End of discussion. And no political commercials are allowed on the issue. Straight, no influence vote. I will guarantee you most of the country has no issue with the name being the Redskins

  47. The media pushing for a name change should really ask Jim Brown his opinion. The old man hates everything, ask him how he felt playing against them. This way they will get the answers they so desperately want.

  48. Couldn’t care less what Griffin’s opinion is. Ditto for Harry Reid.
    The nickname was never intended to racially slur anyone. Not 80 years ago. And certainly not now. I have no dog in this fight, other than I’m tired of liberals telling me what’s right and what’s wrong.
    How I’d enjoy seeing the Redskins win the Super Bowl. Not seeing Obama do the traditional White House salute to the winning Super Bowl team, one from the city in which he resides, would be nothing short of SPECIAL

  49. Packernet says:
    Jun 21, 2014 5:54 PM
    Could not have said it better avenger9800. Funny how it’s mostly white people that are offended.
    ***********
    Brilliant, since there are mostly white people in America – right? Guess what, there are mostly white people saying keep the name too. Not earth shattering news. What;s your point?
    ***********
    I have it on good authority that the NAACP will change its name as soon as they are granted a franchise.

  50. If you want to change the name, buy the team with your hard earned money & change the name. But you have no right to force someone else to do what YOU think they ought to do….. Getting the gov’t to pile on sets a dangerous legal precedent…..those of you cheering the move will one day regret the precedent being set

  51. Most overrated active player in the NFL. Who cares what he thinks about anything? Good luck in an offense that’s not designed specifically for you. That trade destroyed the skins whatever color they are..

  52. Not a fan, but think he handled it correctly. In the polarized times we’re in, any other answe makes him a villain and detracts from the few people who have an honest intellectual argument.

  53. If we live in a country where the oppressed get college scholarships, a chance to play games on national TV to showcase their talents and a multi million dollar contract for that questionable talent, we must live in a pretty great country!

  54. most Native Americans don’t see a problem with the name..its the bleeding heart politically righteous people who think they need to speak for others have blown this way out of proportion

  55. He has every right to keep his opinion to himself. Most likely he disagrees with his owner and doesn’t want to bring it up. As for the discussion on here, I think politicians have duped us into thinking that if we are Democrat or Republican, we must always support that “team” and all of their thoughts and ideas. I see the liberals and conservatives fighting on here, but it seems that the politicians have managed to use “team” loyalty to take away our independent thought. Must you be on one side or the other just because of your political party? I am sure that the only thing the politicians care about for this issue is making a political point and any leverage that gets them with voters. Personally I wish they would just change the name and put this issue to bed.

  56. His answer is clear cut if you have a brain. He obviously doesn’t support the name.

    Anyone who supports the name is racist, ignorant or both.

  57. Redskins fans suffer from oppression more then anything RG Bust has. A one dimensional quarterback who will never be anything more then another mike vick wannabe

  58. Here’s another thought, Harry Reid has been in office since 1987. Why wait so long to bring this issue up? Because it’s politics he cares about, not Native Americans. This is coming up because six months or so ago, the NFL refused to promote Obamacare. This is part of the punishment.

    That being said, I support changing the name because it is offensive. I don’t support uncaring politicians who are trying to use this issue for their own gain.

  59. When’s the last time a high profile athlete, especially a minority athlete in the prime of his career stand against something controversial? Did Tiger Woods stand up against women not being allowed to be members at Augusta National? What did Michael Jordan ever stand for other than the ole might buck?

    Do I expect RGIII to cut his own throat? But as the philosopher John Rambo once said, “Live for Nothing or Die for Something”

  60. do u notice all the ones for name change r democrats ? and 90% of Indians polled r ok with Redskins name. 83% of general public is ok too with name. Democrats like to tell other people how to live and think

  61. You can easily pick out the extremists, on this topic. They’re the ones that want to:

    1) Force someone to publicize their opinion on this topic.
    2) Tell them what their opinion should be.
    3) Beat them down if their opinion does not match their own.

    What is this, Nazi Germany?

  62. The season just needs to get here already. I’m sick of hearing from these trolls and their running mouths. But will they eat crow when RGIII plays wonderfully? No, you can pretty much guarantee they won’t.

  63. Typical Liberal thinking…

    Find everyone close to Snyder, like the Fed Ex CEO, now RG3..Anyone they can try to discredit and ruin their career and lives for even entertaining the thought of supporting this obvious racial injustice.

    The concessions company and the construction firm that built the place, all must be ferreted out and never be allowed to work again.

    It’s a shame they cannot put this type of effort over a partisan issue as IRS harassment..

  64. Hail to the Redskins!

    To those feigning opposition to the name and honoring Native Americans, may the bird of paradise fly over your head………………… and take a huge sheeeet!

  65. If someone is offended by name of a team they really need to get professional help because that isn’t normal

  66. You don’t have to go far to find discrimination. It is a malignancy that will probably never completely be removed society. What I find difficult to understand is why so many are eager to champion it in 2014 A.D.

  67. If he has an opinion but is afraid to tell us what it is, that’s moral and intellectual cowardice. He could articulate an opinion that is dignified and thoughtful and not abrasive in any way to the team that employs him.

    If he does not have an opinion, he’s kind of dim. This man is the star quarterback for a team in the crosshairs of a media firestorm about what constitutes racism. Has it never occurred to him that he might be asked his opinion?

    Which is it?

  68. In reference to the CNN piece (o.s.) Marc Randazza says “I think it’s a pretty dumb thing to call a football team.” I guess if we had a low opinion of Native Americans, then we would consider it dumb too, but we don’t.

    He also states “If Native Americans believe that “redskin” is offensive to them, then it is. Most people agree that it is about as offensive as using any other ethnic slur. I respect their position and their argument.”

    Where is his proof? NO where is the answer because nothing supports these statements. He should feel free to share his opinion, but not try to spout statements as fact, unless he has something to back it up.

  69. In a land of freedom we are held hostage by the tyranny of political correctness ~ RG3……………….. He has already answered the question

  70. Teams have typically been named for peoples or animals that are fierce , noble or strong,
    There is no way that the redskins football team were named to incur injury or humiliation to Indians

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