Moseley joins in rhetoric over Washington name

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Mark Moseley, the only kicker ever to be named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player, put his toe — and the rest of his foot — into it with recent comments about the team’s name.

In remarks to the Associated Press, Moseley said, “I’m telling you somebody would have to drop a bomb on FedEx Field to get us to change.”

That’s hardly the best choice of words, but Moseley’s over-the-top characterization illustrates the zeal with which both sides are pursuing an issue that feels like a political campaign that will never end.  Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post has collected a variety of recent quotes on the issue, including the latest attempt to blame the controversy on those with an agenda other than trying to right a longstanding wrong.

Politicians,” former Washington quarterback Joe Theismann said.  “It’s an election year.”

It wasn’t an election year when the debate first gained real traction.  That came in early 2013, when the team coincidentally opted to launch an affirmative defense of the name with a variety of clumsy tactics, such as pointing out all the high schools that still use the name.  The P.R. blunders and missteps continued into 2014, and the team has tried in recent weeks to ramp up the defense of the name in the apparent hopes of delivering the knockout punch, from throwing money at Native American causes to launching a propaganda website to recruiting former players to speak out (the current franchise quarterback has avoided the issue) to multiple interviews with owner Daniel Snyder.

The K.O. hasn’t come.  And it won’t.  Instead, efforts to defend the name emphasize and legitimize the conflict, hardening the two sides.

If the team had merely ignored the scattered complaints and attacks and arguments, the issue possibly would have never gathered momentum.  And it possibly would have continued to be part of the background noise that the media generally ignored.  Instead, the debate now rages more strongly than ever, with politicians, athletes, entertainers (like Gene Simmons of KISS), and others in positions or prominence or otherwise having an opinion and expressing it.  For many, the opinions have become stronger and stronger.

Last year, I predicted that the debate would continue until the name changes in 50 years, that the debate would continue for another 50 years after it changes, and that I hoped to live for as many of those 100 years as possible.  Now, it feels like the first half will be shorter, and that the last half will be longer.

Indeed, the debate will not go away in the lifetimes of anyone who has a strong opinion on the issue.  Strong opinions will likely persist for decades after the name inevitably changes, whenever that may be.

60 responses to “Moseley joins in rhetoric over Washington name

  1. “All the gods, they cannot sever us. If I were dead and you were still fighting for life, I’d come back from the darkness. Back from the pit of hell to fight at your side.”


  2. The debate will die down after a while… Once liberals tell us something else we should all be offended and feel guilty about.

  3. The same Gene Simmons who came out in support of Donald Sterling? Terrible name drop, especially if you believe you are supporting the side of non-racists.

  4. Glad to hear it Mark, good to hear this coming from you guys. Hope more speak up. Idiotic p/c bunch, they jump on every bandwagon that comes down the pike so they can feel relevant.

  5. “If the team had merely ignored the scattered complaints and attacks and arguments, the issue possibly would have never gathered momentum.” BS. You’ll make sure it keeps its momentum! The “debate” won’t go away until people like you stop covering it as though it’s a REAL issue. And as far as the “election year” comment, you clearly know nothing about politics.

  6. Is it racist or not? That’s the only question to me. If it is then change it, if not leave it. Only Native Americans can answer that question, but once it is determined, I can’t imagine anyone would want to keep it if the concensus is that it is definitely racist.

  7. If Moseley had said he was against the name, you would have tripped over yourself trying to pat him on the back. Because he says he’s against it (the majority viewpoint) he “put his foot in his mouth”.

    Great stuff.

  8. The whole thing IS political and it has ALWAYS been political. It’s all a part of the left wing’s “political correctness” agenda that they’re intent on bullying America to accepting. It’s a privately owned entity and their name is not subject to government mood swings. The Senate has a country to serve. They should keep their upward pointing noses out of sports.

  9. Really? Moseley’s “over-the-top characterization”? All the man used was a figure of speech, and now a guy can’t even talk any more because everything is over the top. So “wild animals” or “a thousand knives” and the like is all “over the top.” Gimme a break. What is over the top is the shrillness of folks jumping on the bandwagon of the allegedly offended. Joe Theisman is right…it’s an election year. All those who think anyone really cares about the “Redskin” name won’t be hearing a peep after the first week of November.

  10. Who cares what Gene Simmons thinks about the name anyway? I would put a little more stock into the thoughts of former players like Mosley and Theismann who actually understand the whole redskin mascot idea more.

    The difference here is the liberal media refers to support of the name as “rhetoric”. But the desperate, and not based on any facts, attempts to change the name are all noble.

  11. You lose the last ounce of credibility you (never) had when you describe Simmons as an “entertainer”.
    No one cares about your predictions.
    Mark Moseley and Joe Theismann are right.
    Hail to the Redskins!

  12. It doesn’t really matter what peoples’ opinions on the matter are.

    What matters is that this is a business that has had the same name for a long time, and now some people think that THEIR opinion that the name is a slur and must be destroyed, even though there is no law forbidding the use of this name, and the reason for that is the US Bill of Rights.

    As a veteran, I can only shake my head at the way our freedom of speech is so frivolously used as a bargaining chip for the agendas of a minority of voices. The USA is a country that has always been majority rule and for good reason. Too often lately, the majority caves to the whims of the minority voices, and it needs to stop.

  13. I have to take exception to the thought that the Redskins totally ignoring the naysayers would let the issue go away. For many years, the Skins did that and it worked. Then, the ante was upped by the press who wouldn’t let it go. From my viewpoint, Mike Wise attacked the issue like a chihuahua sinking its teeth into filet mignon. He wouldn’t let go, the rest of the press glommed on, and then the bucket loads of gloryseeking self-appointed do-gooders seized on to this issue de jour. It’s so big now that it won’t go away. Either Snyder changes the name (and I hope he won’t) or we’re all in for this uncomfortable battle forever. I know some will say “it’s a racial slur”, but that is a matter of how it’s used. In this case, it is only with honor, respect, and pride. Keep the name!

  14. Seen the youtube video? The most powerful statement for me is when the Native American says that “They’ve never asked Native Americans. It’s always someone else trying to speak for us”

    That has been my point all along.

    An overwhelming majority of Native Americans support the Washington Redskins team and the Redskins name.

  15. Funny how no one had any “strong opinions” just 2 short years ago. Can’t wait til football starts. This will be yesterday’s news.

  16. One school that still uses the nickname is Red Mesa High in Arizona, located on a Navajo reservation, and where 99.3 percent of its students are Native American. Tommie Yazzie, superintendent of the school district that oversees Red Mesa High School and a full-blooded Navajo, said he is more concerned with the use of Native American war chants and gestures during sporting events. Do we have your attention, Atlanta Braves and KC Chiefs?

  17. “We don’t use those gestures and traditions. As Navajos we have respect for warfare. Warfare means taking a life. And when a young warrior goes out to battle, [the gestures and war chants] belong there,” Yazzie said. “When you come back into civilian life, you don’t take that back with you. You don’t use the same type of gestures and hollering and bring that back into a sporting event.”

  18. Senator Maria Cantwell of Washington state, recently circulated a letter among her fellow Democrats demanding that the Washington Redskins change their name for being offensive and disrespectful to Native Americans.

    The letter has gained a fair amount of publicity.

    The issue of the Redskin’s name drew the attention of President Obama last year who urged team owner Daniel Snyder to reconsider it.

    However, Snyder has vowed not to change the team’s name.

    Cantwell told the Washington Post she was appalled during a 2013 playoff game between the Redskins and her home state’s Seattle Seahawks. According to the Post she said the presentation of Washington’s team was “just so shocking to me,” and that the Redskins were offering “a caricature of a team that is not just respected by Indian Country,” she told the paper.

    Cantwell might have been shocked earlier in life. Growing up in Indianapolis, Cantwell attended Emmerich Manual High School. Perhaps not surprisingly, in a state called Indiana, in a city called Indianapolis, the school’s mascot is Indian themed. In fact, its mascot is the “Redskins.”

  19. WELLPINIT, Stevens County — This little town of 928 — with its one grocery store, one gas station and one stop sign — is far, far away from the national controversies of the day.

    To get here, you drive about an hour north of Spokane, past fields of barley, wheat and canola with yellow flowers, past the forests.

    It is home for the Spokane Tribe of Indians, and for 107 years, the Wellpinit High School mascot name has been Redskins.

  20. The people in this country want to change the redskins name but the NAACP and the United Negro College fund are ok to keep around? Bizarro world.

  21. The Redskins name stays. Redskins Redskins Redskins Redskins Redskins Redskins Redskins Redskins! Yep. They’re still the Redskins and they will be the Redskins all season and for another 100 seasons after that. Geaux Saints!

  22. If the name changes someday I hope the majority of people continue to refer to them as they should, the Washington Redskins.

  23. Why do name supporters “emphasize and legitimize the conflict”? Maybe seeing it from your side. They are doing the right thing supporting the name with a hard stance IMO.

  24. More than a decade ago, in the authoritative linguistic survey “I Am A Red-Skin: The Adoption of a Native American Expression (1769-1826),” Ives Goddard—the senior linguist and curator at the Smithsonian Institution—concluded that the word “redskins” was created by Native Americans, and that it was first used as an inclusive expression of solidarity by multi-tribal delegations who traveled to Washington, D.C. to negotiate national policy towards Native Americans. “The actual origin of the word (redskin) is entirely benign,” Goddard is quoted as saying.

    Prominent Indian leaders of the 19th century—from Sitting Bull (a Hunkpapa Lakota Chief) to French Crow (Principal Chief of the Wahpekute band of Santee Sioux) to Tecumseh (a Shawnee chief)—are documented as having referred to themselves as “Red Men” or “Red-skins.”

  25. Those who you are trying to “protect”, don’t want your “protection” and support the Washington Redskins team and the name.

    Until that changes, all your arguments fail.

    Are we going to again impose our will on Native Americans for “their own good”.

    As my father-in-law used to say: Nothing is so terrible as something done for “your own good”.

  26. The problem name change proponents have is consistency. For example a group of Original Americans is offended by the Washington team name – a group of of Original Americans is also offended by the Kansas City team name.

    For some reason name change proponents wish to honor the wishes of the first group but will seemingly ignore the wishes of the second group – or use very interesting logic to rationalize this inconsistency.

    I remind all name change proponents that if a group of people is offended by the name the name must be changed. This is the acid test established by the name change proponents. Clearly Ms. Blackhorse and others are offended by KC’s name.

    Name change proponents that don’t advocate changing both names are inconsistent at best and bigoted at worst.

  27. Redskins is a name of honor for honor and anyone not trying to social engineer for the purpose of divide and conquer or anyone that is not an idiot understands this.

  28. how about the media just stops trying to cram it in our everyday lives. no one cares to read or hear about this anymore. on that note leave the damn name alone. signed a cowboys fan

  29. The name will change.There’s nothing you mouthbreathers can do about it.

  30. Geeez Mike, I couldn’t even finish this one…

    Can we talk about the American Indian being a heroic symbol for once? Redskin is just the same as Blackfoot isn’t it as is Geronimo (Means Warrior Chief in Apache language)? Can you guys get over it already?

    Not too late to embrace the cultures of the various American Indian tribes and to turn the page from a more ancient time? Of the many ways the Washington Redskins represent the name, in 2014, one is nothing more than competitive spirit? You’d think maybe there should be a rivalry between the Patriots And Redskins huh?!

    Blackfoot too got their name from white settlers who noticed the bottom of the tribe’s moccasins were charred black, making the soles more durable. It is questionable if they also dipped them into natural pine tar and then ash as well for the same reason

    Certain Southwestern tribes had very red skin from the sun. Redskins. I don’t care that a few people used it in a derogatory way 150 years ago.

    Also, about half of the known Apache male names literally mean Warrior & Chief.

    Can we begin to wind this down? There is no fish to fry here – never was…

  31. I need someone to help me understand why the Washington Redskins’ name is racist? Generally no one likes to be attached to negative racist things they generally try to get rid of it… it is generally a bad thing. No one wears anything remotely close to something they hate, fear, see in a derogatory way, or no longer want around. This is not the case with the Washington Redskins. What bad negative light is being pushed upon society by their name?

  32. Joe Theismann played at Notre Dame, not for the Washington Huskies. I don’t understand what the problem is with pointing this out.

  33. Free speech is nothing more than the ability to offend or be offended. It is a bizarre world we live in where the ‘media’ lobbies against freedom of speech, expression, or the ability to offend.

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