Let’s Talk Football

I’m just a plainspoken Colorado criminal defense lawyer, but the way I see it…

From time to time I’m privileged to do some volunteer lawyering for American Indians who get rousted by the police for daring to express a little freedom of speech.

So I get a little riled every now and then when I see somebody, or some group of somebodies, still thinking Custer had the right idea about these very first Americans. Last Thursday they held some sort of symposium in Washington, at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, and the subject of the local football team came up.

What is the name of that Washington team again? The Washington Niggers? The Spics? The Kikes? Something like that. Oh, yeah: the Redskins.

If the team indeed carried one of those first three names, do you think  there’d be some kind of general expression of dissatisfaction about it? Yet we’ve been calling that team by a racist epithet for eighty years.

Ben Nighthorse Campbell, who used to be a United States senator from my state, told the symposium he’d prefer not to have Indians described as savages, squaws, bucks, or redskins. I wonder why. Somebody else who ought to wonder why — current Redskins owner Dan Snyder — was invited to the symposium, but for some reason didn’t show.

A writer for The Nation magazine caricatured Snyder as ham-fisted and rabbit eared. I’m not sure that’s fair to rabbits.

If Snyder would only talk to me — I don’t know why he hasn’t called back — I have what I think is the perfect solution to his little public relations problem. He could of course choose a new name that would actually honor Indians, but the problem with that is the local tribe was the Piscataways, and the Piscataways historically only sought one thing in life: peace. Nobody wants that in football. Plus, somebody’s bound to notice that name is awfully close to Piss-That-Aways.

So Snyder should rather pick a name that honors not the past, but the present, as well as a name that recognizes the major business done in Washington, which is of course government, and the fine men and women of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. A name that epitomizes their work.

The perfect name? The Washington Pickpockets.

Hey — that’s even a football term.


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