Theismann defends the Redskins name


The controversy over the name of his football team is giving owner Daniel Snyder fits.

Enter Joe Theisman.

Via, Thiesmann recently told the Argus (S.D.) Leader that he has no problems with the Redskins name.

“I was very proud to play for the Washington Redskins, and I did it to honor Native people in that regard,” Theismann said.  “I think sometimes people perceive words in their own particular way.  What happens, what Mr. Snyder decides to do is totally up to him.  I can just tell you that when I put that uniform on, and I put that helmet on with the Redskin logo on it, I felt like I was representing more than the Washington Redskins, I was representing the great Native American nations that exist in this country.”

While Theismann’s words came only one day after Frank Luntz’s first team-name focus group, maybe that’s the best strategy.  Recruit great figures from the team’s past and have them publicly declare that, as they were playing or coaching professional football, they consciously and deliberately were honoring Native Americans.

91 responses to “Theismann defends the Redskins name

  1. Hey Joe, would you walk on to a Reservation in Oklahoma and call the people “Redskins” to their face? Just curious.

  2. Well if a white guy with no connection to the Native American community says he’s not offended by it then that is good enough for me.

  3. Did anybody ever put on a RedSkins uniform with the conscious mentality of “Lets go play hard for all the Native Americas” Lol I seriously doubt it.

  4. I dont think it’s up to any race of people, besides Native Americans, to decide how to honor THEIR heritage and tradition.

  5. When I watch the Redskins play I honor Native Americans. Also if name changes to Redtails I think the emblem should be a HOT Native American Woman.

  6. he has to stay relevant somehow, so he’s idiotic things from time to time…i loved seeing LT destroy his knee and career

  7. Here is my read on this.
    I have yet to find an American Indian who objects, while speaking with a member of the Lumbee tribe here in North Carolina in a frank conversation, the way the name is used, as in the pride, strength and the fortitude and they way it brings the communities together, black white blue and green, it is a honor for Natives to be used for this purpose. I did not say this as eloquently as he did, and probably not with the belief in his tone, he was one of those men, that you knew was proud of who he is.

  8. And up until yesterday, Paula Deen defended her recipe for Sambo burgers. I’m sure her recipe was to honor slaves.

    The human race is overrated. Theismann, you’re an idiot. Take a seat in the back of the bus.

  9. The Redskins had their flash in the pan last season. They will finish 5-11 this season. Why so much hype and publicity for a terrible team?

  10. I guess there are not enough Native Americans around for the NFL to care about since they shot most of them and put them on reservations. Hey use a name to talk about their heritage, they wont care. I guess thats why politicians are fighting against border control because they are afraid that since they came and took someone land when they were immigrants that some other culture might do the same to them. Karma

  11. Whats next? The ‘native americans’ want the cowboys to change their name because they destroyed the native americans? Or the bears where a sacred animal? This is stupid.

  12. Right, and when Rick Perry calls his hunting land “Ni**erhead”, he’s doing it to “honor” the African American people. It’s the same thing.

  13. Perhaps the Washington Casino’s could work for a modern Native American salute 🙂

  14. Question: America was named after Amerigo Vespucci (an Italian, by the way) so why would this particular “native” group want the term America used to describe them in the first place?

    As far as the team name, I have several friends from local tribes that could not care less. How do I know? I ASKED them. I didn’t claim to speak for them from some non-profit somewhere in Manhattan or DC.

  15. We all defend the Redskin name. The organization is named after a great people to whom much of the country’s history and glory is owed. They are very much part of what makes America great.

  16. if it’s such a great name why didn’t he say he was “representing the great Redskin nations” and then hire a non Native American to wear a headdress and whoop and dance around with an ax? that would honor them too right?

  17. That’s all there is to it then. Big Chief Compound Fracture has spoken.

  18. What a load of bull crap. Where in the public record, during his playing career, is Theismann ever credited with playing to honor Native Americans? No where. Shut up, Joe. Keep pitching the prostate meds.

  19. When at you going to give this a rest?? They are not going to change the name. Only a handful of people thinks it offensive. What about the Cleveland Browns??? I don’t see people complaining about being called the browns

  20. Joe T. has said many things in his day, and many of them have been preposterous. But this one has to take the cake. What’s next – Randy White wearing chaps and a six shooter? Well done, Joe.

  21. If Dan Snyder wanted to call his team the Washington N!gg@rz it would be his business. If it offends some people, he runs the risk that they won’t patronize his business. I’m not suggesting that he do that, just that he has every right to and people can complain until the cows come home. It’s no one’s business but his.

  22. I’m offended that this guy will do and say anything for a pub grab now that he’s out of work. “Hi, you may know me as the guy who shamelessly changed the pronunciation of his name to try to match that of a college football award I wanted to win, but actually I’m just a real supporter of “The Sons of The Confederate”. A bla bla bla bla bla”… ok, where is my check?

  23. I don’t care either way myself. The name doesn’t offend me but I suppose I can see where it might offend others. Fine, I’ll keep my distance from the change it- don’t change it battle. Washington did away with the “Bullets” because some thought it gave the “city” or “district” they were named after a bad name, but they’re cool with Redskins. Hmm!

  24. I have read this several times and can’t get through it without laughing. He played for Native Americans???? Seriously??? Who needs The Comedy Network with him making statements like this?? He played because of the number of dollar bills Jack Kent Cooke put in his wallet nothing more.

  25. The .0000000001% of the U.S. population that considers the Washington Redskins name offensive should boycott anything Redskins related.
    That’ll show em!!!

  26. Born and raised in Billings, MT. Grew up with and was good friends with very many Native Americans. They didn’t even acknowledge that term and still don’t via Facebook. They just call(ed) themselves Indians. They were never offended by the term “Redskins” nor were their parents that I know of. Not that the term was used. They were proud of their heritage since they pretty much schooled the U.S. Army (Custer) at the Little Big Horn, which is about 70 miles away from where I grew up. Not sure what the problem is. I doubt any of my friends at home would care. I’m a whitey and would care less if you change the name to the Whiteskins! Maybe a guy with a hardhat and a cup of coffee or some politician winking???

  27. If The Redskins have to change their name…..

    So do the guys on the street corner selling tickets on game day.

  28. It’s time we realized that it’s the offseason. And whether or not the Redskins’ team name is offensive, what journalists and politicians and are trying to do is cash in on a social issue in order to generate readership/political posturing.

    If the name is offensive, taking advantage of Native social issues as a cheap gimmick to generate website hits is far more offensive.

    If the name is not offensive, then they are just stirring the pot for no reason; permanently stigmatizing both Natives and the Washington franchise; and creating the impression that Natives are weak, impotent, and unable to take a stand for themselves. Creating a social crisis out of nothing is unprofessional, antisocial, and just as insulting to Natives.

    Point is, whether or not the team’s name is offensive, Natives are being taken advantage of, and by arguing back and forth we are playing right into the media’s game.

  29. For some reason a team named the Tupelo Blackskins would offend me, and my childhood team the Washington Redskins does not. I am so White it isn’t funny.

  30. Congress seems to be the only ones that have a problem with the name. I doubt they have a real problem, just nothing better to do with their time. (like we don’t have real issues to worry about, rather the name of some sports team). Bascially, the world needs to grow some thicker skin (redskin if it must be!). People are offended by things that have nothing to do with them. Weak.

  31. Hey Joe, thank you for your support.
    I know what you meant, even if the moron who invited you to go to a res and call people Redskin didn’t. As an intelligent native American, I feel you, and what you mean. I’ve been a Washington Redskins fan for 58 years, and have always been proud that my team represents my national capitol, and I hope my people don’t fall for the same bigotry these idiots have!
    And hey, U.S. Govt … Before you start throwing stones at Mr.Snyder, and the NFL, why don’t you show us you really care, by returning our sacred lands, and keeping just one treaty you made with our ancestors?!

  32. I keep waiting for PFT to cite some objective evidence from Native Americans themselves to support PFT’s claim that the Redskins name is offensive. Instead, PFT continues to merely rely on self-serving and conclusory statements.

    Quite a pedestrian way of advancing a position. Consciously ignoring the principle of ipse dixit, Mr. Florio?

  33. This coming from a man who agreed to change the prononciation of his last name from, “theese-man” to ” thize-man”, so that it wod rhyme with Heisman.

  34. I always find it interesting that those who are critical of the name redskins never did much history checking on the name.

    Redskins was a name coined by Native Americans to describe themselves. They used the name with pride. There has been extensive research and the word redskin was never really used in a pejorative sense.

    On top of that- current native americans- the majority of them- are NOT offended by the name. Only a vocal minority of native americans are actually offended.

    I will be interested to see a real ruling in the case- the plantiffs will need to prove that Redskin is pejorative or an offensive term- and I think it is going to be a hard point to prove using any history.

  35. There is no controversy. It’s a completely media made topic. If leftist journalist didn’t run with it every time it had nothing to talk about, then no one would care.

  36. Hey paulitik74

    A quick search reveals the meaning of the name “Oklahoma”.

    “The name Oklahoma comes from the Choctaw phrase okla humma, literally meaning red people. Choctaw Chief Allen Wright suggested the name in 1866 during treaty negotiations with the federal government regarding the use of Indian Territory, in which he envisioned an all-Indian state controlled by the United States Superintendent of Indian Affairs.”

    This was a name decided on by an indian chief to honor his people. Please learn what you are talking about before you post.

    When they change the name of the state of Oklahoma, they can change the name of the Redskins.

  37. “Come on team! Lets go win for the(!)… hrmm. what do you call em? The ones with the red skin.. Lets play for those people”

  38. Unless you’re Native American you should have no opinion on whether or not the name offends. If it offends Native Americans then change the damn name!

  39. I would be so mad if the libs got there way and changed the name of the redskins, I am not sure I would look at football the same way again . But this site is so biased I bet that it won’t even get posted

  40. There aren’t enough problems in the world, and in this Country, we have to be concerned with something as meaningless as a name. Do those who can properly be grouped under the racial banner repped by the name “really” feel offended? Why would anyone else care? Do you think that you are “making friends” with those of that race? You aren’t you know. They could care less about you. Do you believe that this issue is the equivalent of the racial strife of the 60’s, and “you” are a part of it? It isn’t and you aren’t. If Snyder changed the name to “The White Drunks”, or “The Lib Deb Punchers”, would it bother you? Would you fight just as vehemently to have that name changed?

    Why is it I wonder, that I seriously doubt that you would?

  41. Only in the NFL can you get away with such things… They need to grab the Jaguars franchise and send em to LA. Then rename the team, the ‘Los Angeles BrownSkins’.

  42. To all the offended, do the right thing and sign over your land to a Native American. If you can’t, save the fake outrage. It’s hollow.

  43. Another insult to anyone with a 6th grade education…. But hey joe go ahead bc all those fools who failed American history need a hero.

  44. This is the same guy that changed the pronunciation of his name as a PR stunt, dishonoring his relatives. I’m sure he played the game to honor Native Americans.

  45. The name offends some native americans who claim it refers to the skin attached to hair turned in for a bounty. If that is where the name originated, it is offensive.

  46. That would be a good strategy if anyone thought for a moment that there was a shred of honesty in what Theismann said.

  47. Forget Theismann. This subject keeps coming up every time there is no real news. The name was not chosen in an attempt to offend anyone. If you don’t like it, too bad, it’s not changing. Deal with it.

  48. I understand how it is perceived now that everyone has a problem with every little statement or name with PC going wild…but…

    when all those teams used Braves, Redskins, etc as nicknames, you have to admit that they were looking at them as brave warriors – plain and simple. They weren’t trying to degrade anyone at all. Use your brain instead of following some liberal agenda that tells you how to think.

  49. All these people who claim to know (or be) native Americans who don’t find the name offensive should just be quiet. They pollute the conversation with lies.

    With his asinine defense of the name, which broadcasts his ignorance plainly, Joe has succeeded in making the name even less defensible than it previously was.

    His logic is this controversy’s equivalent to Spinal Tap saying “there’s nothing wrong with being sexy,” when asked about their sexism. In other words, he totally does not get it.

    He should shut his mouth. He’s doing the team no favors, and if he didn’t know how to throw a football once upon a time, nobody ever would have listened to a word this meat head has ever had to say about anything.

  50. This is some politically correct BS. How about you go to a reservation where they barely have food or shelter and ask them If they give a crap about a name of football team. If your really worried about the native americans donate food and supplies or even petition the gov to give them some of THEIR land back. They really dont give 2 craps about the redakins

  51. The wussification of this country never ceases. Nothing can be done w/o someone getting offended (allegedly). I’m not a fan of the Redskins or Dan Snyder but last time I checked we still operate in a free market & society. If the outrage is as enormous as these bleeding heart, white, Guilt-ridden Liberals claim, then let the public vote with their pocketbooks.

  52. BTW, the feigned outrage likely comes from the elite establishment who are overcome with white guilt. They want the govt to intervene & micro manage all of us in fly over country. Meanwhile, if one really wants to know how the govt takes care of people, go visit a Native American reservation or a VA Hospital.

  53. I grew up in N C and my dad was at least 50% Cherokee. His mom was 100% and I did not know anything about his dad.

    I grew up a Cowboys fan because of the Redskins name and I doubt there is a lack of similar stories.

    Go to the bathroom, Joe. You honored no one.

  54. I apologize that suggesting the term BLACKHAWKS could offend two certain cultures that I apparently by rule can not name.

    However it seems to be deemed appropriate to make Hernandez “kill it jokes”.

    Sorry Florio that you’ve decided to sell yourself and your credibility to the corporate man!

    This site has been becoming progressively lame.

  55. I do not understand why Indians, Braves, Blackhawks, etc. could be offensive because a team mascot is usually something that you admire or revere. I am not offended by the “Fighting Irish”, a point Theisman should have made about his alma mater. However, when you refer to a person or group of people by skin color, then the color of the skin becomes the identifyable feature that inspired the name. That is racist. I do not know how to keep the name without offending people. Perhaps if they took the native american likeness off the helmet and went by “Skins”

  56. I worked in OklahomaCity, Ok for two years, 2009-2011. I met many proud Native Americans from many tribes while I was there. I still meet many proud Native Americans still since I live in NW Arlansas. I have made it a point to ask what their opinion was on the name of Washington Redskins. Not one of them, friends or first time we met, said it bothered them. In Tulsa, OK, Union High School are named the Redskins. I would think with the population percentage of Native Americans in that state, that would be forbidden.It sounds more like political groups causing all the fuss.

  57. 99.99% of people think of Redskins as a football team in the NFL. If we carried guns like Cowboys and Aaron Hernandez, and this was 1880 then it would be a problem.

    Why do the Seminoles get a pass on this? They have a really mad looking indian on their helmet?

  58. Thiesmann says that he played for the Washington Redskins “to honor Native people.” Come on. He played to make money and he is still playing to make money. Most NFL players are black. Should we honor them by naming the team in our nation’s capital the WASHINGTON BLACKSKINS? Joe, ask your puppeteers what you are supposed to say.

  59. Is there any name that doesn’t hurt someone’s feelings. What the hell’s going on in this country?
    I love my dog which is an Irish Setter and if you named them the Washington Irish Setters sure as hell someone would be offended.

  60. Since the Washington Redskins name was around far before myself, I assumed it was not racist and widely accepted by Native Americans. Also, I’ve always thought team names were used to highlight the positive attributes of the thing it’s named after…ie… Redskins/Native Americans being strong, fierce, athletic, tactical… Ect. I think the name or any team names are compliments not insults.

  61. So many here are ignorant of the facts and appear to only be interested in their narrative.

    “First of all,” said Green, known to his tribe as Chief Two Eagles, “you have to make a decision whether you consider it offensive or not. And, frankly, members of my tribe – the vast majority – don’t find it offensive.”

    Moreover, said the longtime Patawomeck chief, “I’ve been a Redskin fan for years. And, to be honest with you, I would be offended if they did change it.”

    The Congressional Native American Caucus may dismiss Chief Two Eagles as some sort of self-loathing Indian, but, in fact, his views comport with those of a majority of Native Americans polled in 2004 by the Annenberg Public Policy Center.

    Annenberg asked Native Americans if it bothered them that Washington’s NFL team was named “Redskins,” and an overwhelming 90 percent said it did not.

    That the congressional caucus is so ignorant of the true sentiment of the nation’s Native American population is no doubt attributable to the fact that only one of the more than 70 caucus members actually is an American Indian.


    “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.”

    G. Anne Richardson, chief of Virginia’s Rappahannock Tribe


    ABOVE: The first known use of the word redskin to be published contemporaneously, as reprinted in Niles’ Weekly Register (Baltimore) for October 14, 1815, from an issue of The Western Journal (St. Louis) that does not survive. Shown is the first paragraph of the official translation of the speech that the Meskwaki chief Black Thunder made on July 20, 1815, in the treaty council at Portage des Sioux, Missouri Territory. Addressing Gov. William Clark according to Indian convention as “My Father,” he referred to Indians and Europeans in the Meskwaki language as “red skins and white skins.” These were idioms current in several Indian languages of the area which were translated into Mississippi Valley French as Peaux-Rouges and Peaux-Blanches, and from French into local English. Credit: Smithsonian Institution, Dibner Library. Photograph by Jane Walsh.

    RIGHT: A page of a traditional history written in the Meskwaki language in 1914 by Charley H. Chuck (1867-1940). Indians are referred to as “e sa wi na me ska ta” and “mesgi na me ska ta” (lines 12-14) and Europeans are called “wa be ski na me ska ni tti ni” (lines 18-19). These are vernacular spellings of eesaawinameshkaata ‘one with brown skin’ and meeshkwinameshkaata ‘one with red skin’ (both meaning ‘Indian’), and waapeshkinameshkaanichini, an inflected form (called the obviative) of waapeshkinameshkaata ‘one with white skin, white person’.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.