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Washington Redskins: Silly Team Name Debate Continues

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Washington Redskins

Geoff Burke-USA Today

I’m of the firm belief that people should be accountable for what they say.

Take, Robert McCartney of The Washington Post , who this Wednesday got all sanctimonious regarding the seemingly endless, fabricated controversy regarding the nickname of the Washington Redskins.

Specifically, McCartney took to task those who in a recent poll said they would never use the term “Redskin,” to refer to a Native American, yet were also in favor of the team name not changing. To McCartney, such people are hypocrites. He even does his readers the favor of citing the dictionary as though they would not know the definitions, noting a hypocrite is one possessing some “pretense” of a false virtuous character. Essentially, McCartney is saying the fact fans are willing to embrace it as their team name, but not as a term for a Native American makes them guilty of “hypocrisy.”

So, if I have this correct, by McCartney’s logic I would be absolved from the charge of hypocrisy, if I were willing to address a Native American as “Redskin?”

And it probably figures that the same person who rants and raves about such people being hypocrites admits in the same article he supports the team financially as a season ticket-holder.

I suppose McCartney was at least a little more creative in attempting to keep this fabricated controversy alive than ESPN’s Jemele Hill, who utilized an incredibly original tactic: the race card.

Citing the fact that former Redskins owner George Preston Marshall was a racist, Hill claims Marshall’s legacy is one “NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell chose to protect.” Goodell, of course sent a letter to the Native American Congressional Caucus earlier this month suggesting the name would not change, something addressed.

Now, let’s be clear on something: Marshall was a racist; a nasty, vile, ill-tempered bigot, who’s public statements and policies towards African-Americans were in fact, despicable. His tenure as owner was a sad and regrettable chapter in the history of the franchise. The Redskins were the last team to integrate and Marshall famously noted the Redskins would “start signing Negroes, when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing whites.”

But Hill is way off base in linking Goodell to Marshall. Marshall denied people the right to work based on their skin color. Worse, he made it the policy of the franchise to carry out a racist practice.

While Hill may disagree with Goodell, the Commissioner cited legal and public opinion polls stating a reason to keep the name. That is a far cry from Goodell being a racist, and does not link Goodell to the legacy of Marshall. Further, the notion of the current name change debate, having any link to Marshall’s unquestioned public racism, is reckless at worst, and questionable at best. And Hill’s flippant accusation undermines those who have been victimized by actual racism.

In closing, I’m on record saying I believe the name change debate is pure hokum; a contrived issue that warrants little attention, and certainly shouldn’t be the concern of running a trillion-dollar-deficit United States Congress. McCartney, Hill and their respective publications each made lame attempts last week to keep the debate raging after Goodell’s letter to Congress threw water on the fire earlier this month.

Still, it seems I’m not the one best suited to convince anyone of the banality surrounding this debate. After all, people like McCartney and Hill seem to be doing a better job than I possibly could.

Brian Carroccio is a Washington Redskins blogger for Rant Sports.  You can follow him on Twitter @bricarr2, ”like” him on Facebook and  add him to your Google+ network.

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