In roughly two months, the Washington Redskins will open training camp in Richmond, Virginia. And the local newspaper is rolling out the red carpet in the best possible way.
Paul Woody of the Richmond Times-Dispatch has penned a one-sided article characterizing the team’s name as non-offensive. The support comes from three Native Americans who say they’ve got no problem with the name.
“It doesn’t bother me,” Robert Green, chief of the Patawomeck Tribe in Virginia, told Woody. “About 98 percent of my tribe is Redskins fans, and it doesn’t offend them, either.”
“I’m a Redskins fan, and I don’t think there’s any intention for [the nickname] to be derogatory,” said Kevin Brown, chief of the Pamunkey Tribe of Virginia. “The majority of the people in my tribe don’t have a problem with it. There are a few who do, and we respect their feelings.”
Of course, Woody didn’t bother to find any of the “few who do” for comment as to why they have a “problem” with the name. Instead, Woody found someone else to express support for the name.
“I don’t have an issue with it,” G. Anne Richardson, chief of Virginia’s Rappahannock Tribe, said. “There are so many more issues that are important for the tribe than to waste time on what a team is called. We’re worried about real things, and I don’t consider that a real thing.
“We’re more worried about our kids being educated, our people housed, elder care and the survival of our culture. We’ve been in that survival mode for 400 years. We’re not worried about how some ball team is named.”
The Redskins, who previously have seized upon the lingering high school teams that use the name as support for the notion that there’s nothing wrong with it, likely will be pointing to Woody’s article as further proof that all is well. But Woody’s decision to harvest comments only from Native Americans who are fans of the team and/or who believe Native Americans have far bigger fish to fry doesn’t represent the full range of views on the topic, and it’s misleading for him to provide only one side of the issue.
But at least he’s treating Richmond’s future guests far better than the way the folks who arrived as guests of the Native Americans treated their hosts.