Rick Reilly’s father-in-law says he was misquoted in pro-Redskins column

Getty Images

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.

49 responses to “Rick Reilly’s father-in-law says he was misquoted in pro-Redskins column

  1. Being of the Lumbee Tribe it appears the most complaints come from non Natives. For me and many I speak with what better way to honor Natives than by a caricature that not only symbolizes strength but bonds communities of all races together for a common cause, My personal favorite Is Chief Wahoo.

    And FYI Redskin was coined because Natives warriors colored their faces with red clay before battle. It is a moniker for warrior strength and righteousness.

  2. What is the expression for when someone goes wayyy beyond beating the dead horse?

    In all seriousness, I would like to pose this question to me florio: if you are going to pick an NFL issue to crusade against, why not pick something meaningful, such as DUIs? I am firmly of the position that the NFL should deal much more harshly with players that drive drunk. This legitimately endangers the lives of players and innocent Americans, and it is easily preventable. Perhaps by harping on this you could actually do some good.

    Instead, you’ve chosen to use your platform to harp on an issue of political correctness that, if we are being honest, is hurting no one. Ever heard the “sticks and stones” expression?

    Get your priorities straight.

  3. Isn’t it novel that 300 years too late, all of a sudden, the Honkies are concerned what the Native Americans think….

  4. Everything there is to say on this has been said, the name will not change, get over it already florio, king, NBC et all……

    Your obsession with this one issue overshadows the rest of your otherwise great site, let it go already.

  5. Are you finally getting it yet? We are sick of hearing it. Find something else. Maybe report actual football news.

  6. I’m going to refer to Peter King as “National Writer.”

    I find the name King offensive and demand he go to court to have it legally. changed. Hey, do you have any idea how much harm various kings have done to their citizens over the centuries? They’re not even elected, it’s not a Republic. Cruel.

  7. Snyder made himself perfectly clear yesterday. How about we focus on real issues affecting Native Americans, like rampant alcohol and drug abuse and a high educational drop out rate? After all, those are the issues Native Americans really wish liberal, white America would give a crap about.

  8. 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.

    What the worldwide joke of sportscasting actually concern itself with accuracy ? Since when ?

  9. Reilly is a hack, even his own family thinks the same.

    Hopefully he won’t recover from this latest debacle and will fade quickly away.

    What a donkey. Well, most people who hate the Raiders are donkeys, so it makes sense.

    Go Raiders

  10. That is a stupid caricature of Native Americans that reminds me of something out of a Looney Tunes cartoon.


    The name Indians is not offensive like Redskins. Plus, Chief Wahoo was updated a few years back to look more Mexican so the MLB can draw more Hispanic fans to games.

  11. Remember, this site is now owned by NBC. Liberal as it gets. Still the best football place on the net, but this pc agenda is disturbing.

  12. I love coming here for the football information. I’m an avid fantasy football guy and have been a fanatic visitor (multiple times a day) to this site for many years.

    However, I’ve had enough of getting this shoved down my throat. It’s a misuse of the forum that, in essence, WE provide you and has made the experience much less enjoyable.

    It saddens me to give it up, but I will abandon this site and seek alternatives for my football info the next time I read one of these agenda pushing items.

    Which means, sometime later tonight or tomorrow I should be saying adieu. Thanks for the memories.

  13. Funny how all the people calling for the REDSKINS to change their name choose to continue living on land stolen from Native Americans.

  14. Stupid Rick Riley always trying to involve his family in stories. First his adoptive daughter and how it related to Kaepernick, now his Father in law and the Redskins. Keep your family and our sports seperate Rick. Frankly we don’t care how it relates to your family.

  15. I guess I’m not seeing the problem with the reporting on this. It cracks me up how some are bringing politics into this. I guess those of you who have such a problem with it can go look on fox news for your NFL coverage…

  16. Also funny that writers that find it so offensive have no problem saying it in their tv show. Somehow I don’t they would even consider doing the same with the n word

  17. I love the argument that if one person finds it offensive, the name needs to go. Thus, the Redskins, Chief, Indians, and Braves all need to go. While we are ai it, I am offended that the Patriots name is too jingoistic and may make immigrants feel unwelcome. Change it. The Raiders and Buccaneers glorify criminality. Change their names. The Cowboys are a racist name because when you think of Cowboys you only think of white men, and thus minorities might feel excluded. Offensive, so change it. I’m sure there is one midget or height-challenged person offended by Giants and Titans, so change those. Saints are certainly offensive to an atheist or two, change those.

    The Redskins are playing this all wrong. All of this can go away with a few million bucks spread around to a few Tribal Leaders. That’s what they really want.

  18. I think it’s pretty germane to my interest in football, at least, that a prominent sportswriter is such a hilariously inept failbag that he completely whiffed on quoting a key source and that source was his father-in-law.

    I could understand all of your frustration with this topic if we all agreed that in 2013 we don’t celebrate the use of a racial slur and were ready to move on. But the fact that you can’t care about this speaks volumes about yourselves. The football team “in” America’s capital will eventually change its name from a racial slur to being something appropriate. That’s a fact. So, get onboard and join the right side of history. Or not. Maybe you’ll care when a couple of generations from now people wondered how we ever cheered for a team named with a racial slur.

  19. Everyone has “red skin” when they bleed. So in fact we’re all Redskins.

    Except for the whole killing entire tribes, stealing our land, killing our buffalo, and forcing survivors to live in deserts called reservations.

  20. This is just the playbook of the left guys. Beat you over the head with it until you give in.

    The problem is becoming they are beating the drum so much, people on the fence or who were pro-name change are turning against changing it.

  21. Love how you now take shots at Reilly. Because you are such an esteemed journalist, who also thinks he is a comic.
    Why don’t you go hang with Skip Bayless and you guys can wring your hands over the name.
    I am so tired of this subject. Find something else to cut and paste.

  22. Washington Football fans pride themselves on having a strong history with the name and a lot of falsehoods about the name.

    Prove that you have a mind that works. Google or Wiki George Preston Marshall and the term Redskins. Stop listening to the other fans that make up “facts”, or your owner that has led you nowhere. Make up your own mind. And 1,000 tumbs down and 10 thumbs up will not change history or the real facts.

    Washington Fans: George Preston Marshall named the team for in honor of Native American’s bravery and courage, he was 1/4 Native American.

    Fact: GPM had no Native heritage. He was known as the biggest racist in sports. He was the last in the NFL to sign a black player. He only did so in 1962 (15 years after blacks were allowed in the league), after RFK, JFK and the congress decided they needed to integrate or lose their lease at RFK Stadium. He thought the name when he purchased the team, the “Braves”, wasn’t funny enough, so he picked “Redskins”. He made his first head coach wear a head dress on the sidelines to let him know who was in charge because GPM “heard” incorrectly, that his head coach had a mother with “Indian Blood”. After he was fired the next coach was not required to wear the Head Dress.

    The name was created by a racist and the team name is still racist. You don’t have to agree, but it is a fact.

  23. I AM FULL NATIVE AMERICAN, and I can honestly say that it is plain as day that they don’t really care about us, countless numbers of native Americans have spoken out on behalf of the redskins name and countless are being ignored, the media only wants to hear the few that don’t understand what the washington redskins name stands for there for they assume its offensive because they HEARD someone tell them it was!!! My aunt that lives in Virginia full blooded native american reached out to a local news story about the name and they did not want to hear her view on the name after she said the name redskins was not offensive infact she was offended that the name was under scrutiny!!!!!! She was hung up on…….THEY DON’T REALLY CARE!!!! HAIL REDSKINS

  24. if your not a Native American then your opinion doesn’t matter on this subject. like how the guy who is a Native American refers to his people as Indian, they ain’t bro. I’ll beat this horse until it is dead, INDIANS come from INDIA, stop celebrating a guy who pretty much ruined the whole world.

  25. Another day, another attack on the Redskins. Why all the hate for this proud franchise? When will it end?

  26. The Historical Truth That Some Don’t Want To Hear

    First, the Redskins name was at least partially, and perhaps totally, conceived by their full-blooded American Indian head coach named Lone Star Dietz, some say at the bequest of his mother to honor her. When the Boston Braves football team changed their name in 1933 to the Boston Redskins–Lone Star’s first year as Redskins coach–they wanted a tie-in with the Boston Red Sox. The Redskins moved to Fenway Park that same year, and wanted some symmetry in the name with the already famous baseball team that occupied the same venue. With their head coach being a member of the Sioux Nation, it seemed like a perfect fit: the name Redskins was eventually agreed upon as a way of honoring both Native Americans and the Boston Red Sox.

    Second, the names “blackskins” or “yellowskins” have never existed in any formal way. Certainly, no members of those associated ethnic groups have ever referred themselves by those names. But members of native tribes have referred to themselves as redskins – many, many times.

    Again, there are some people who just don’t want to hear that – even refuse to believe it. But it’s true. Originally, the term “Redskin” was adopted by the Indians themselves to distinguish themselves from white people. There are a number of searchable, historically accurate instances of native tribal peoples using the name “redskin” to identify themselves, some of which appeared in an earlier article on this site, but in case you missed it:

    The term “red” was adopted by French and English by the 1750′s after the reference to “red man” was made in 1725 by a Taensa chief.
    According to the French (1725), the Taensa referred to themselves as “Red Men.”
    Three chiefs of the Piankashaws wrote (1769), “You think that I am an orphan; but all the people of these rivers and all the redskins will learn of my death.”
    In 1807 French Crow (Wahpekute, Santee Sioux) said, “I am a redskin…”
    In an 1815 speech by Chief Big Elk of the Omaha Tribe, he called himself (and others in similar positions among different tribes) “red skin chiefs”.
    Harvard-educated anthropologist Robert Hale Ives Goddard, III, curator emeritus in the Department of Anthropology of the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution, wrote a lengthy essay on the dozens of recorded instances that the word “redskin” has been used by tribal peoples.

  27. One of the best things about the NFL is it’s ability to adapt and change everything from equipment to strategy to rule changes to the broadcast. Attempting to be both a fan of an NFL franchise and also resistant to change is a no-win situation.

    Washington’s football team will have a new name because those who make a game more important than another human being’s heritage are choosing irrelevance in a world that is constantly moving toward inclusion and respect. Instead of fighting the inevitable, consider having an impact by suggesting a name that will have a place in the future of the NFL.

    When the writing’s on the wall, far better it be your handwriting.

  28. Last time I checked this is a Democracy, 80 and 90% unoffended means that the masses HAVE spoken. The name was deemed not offensive by the highest court in the nation and the argument was thrown out. Precedence has been set.

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.