Anyone who follows football will tell you that the biggest problems the Washington Redskins face during this football season are (1) RG3’s knee stability, (2) their horrible excuse for a defensive line (ranked 32nd in the league), and (3) their Swiss cheese-like secondary that allowed more yards per game to opposing quarterbacks than any other in the league. As football a football team, these should be the issues they should be worried about. As football fans, you deserve to see a great team play a great game, and these should be the issues you should want to see them fix. But, if you’re a liberal, you’re more worried about their name, “The Redskins,” than you are about their on field performances (i.e. their jobs).
I could talk about the controversy that swings around their name, but beating a dead horse helps no one. I have no doubt that the name must ring with tension, grief, and frustration for a few, but for the majority it does not. I personally have no problem with the name, but I am sympathetic to those who have some feelings of opposition. I see their point, but I do not agree with it. However, I don’t want to talk about the name, but rather the people talking about the name.
The problem with those who are against the name is that they rarely have any personal objection to the name. Rather, they only care on behalf of someone else who they believe does. Therefore, out of righteous indignation, they seek conformity and demand the name to be changed. Why should this attitude should worry you? You should care about The Redskins’ name controversy not because you are or are not a sports fan, but rather because The Redskins are now the target of the conformity crowd. It should horrify you when anyone falls into this position, because once someone is in this position there is no coming out.
Dave Rappoccio wrote in The Guardian that The Redskins and those who support them are simply on “the wrong side of history.” Thus, they should just sit down and shut up, change the name, and go with the flow. “It’s not a matter of whether the Washington football team’s name will get changed, but when.” Rappoccio writes: “Redskins fans don’t stand to make a dime, so what’s your excuse?.”
What Rappoccio is essentially saying is that The Redskins are going to lose anyway, so why fight to defend the name anymore? Raapoccio, in his bullying, ignored several factors:
- Nationwide approval of the name “Washington Redskins” is at 79%, 24 points higher than nationwide approval for same sex marriage (only 55%).
- Many Redskins players say the name is prideful and courageous.
- Only 11% of people want the name to be changed.
Rappoccio, with his banner waving indignation would prefer the name to be changed, because that’s what the elite want: conformity. “You will change, because history is leaving you behind.”
Conformists in this country want to force people to agree on issues based upon populist movements and opinions, and the Redskins scenario is no different. Consider gay marriage, an overused but still great example. Gay marriage is supported by 55% of the population. To someone like Rappoccio, a liberal conformist, the other 45% must conform to the 55%. This is what the populace wants, this is where history is going, so the rest should get with the program and stop talking.
On the other hand, you have a different issue: the name “Redskins.” Only 11-20% of the population wants to change the name “Redskins”. But unlike gay marriage, in which a small majority actually do favor the select cause, it is now the other 79% that must conform.
The problem with conformists, commonly led by the liberal left, is that they pick and choose which populist movement to throw their weight behind. This ought to be regarded as their scariest trait. In essence, if their values were universal (which they’re not), then they should admit that because many more support the name then oppose it, then those who oppose it are “on the wrong side of history” and should simply move on. In theory, at least.
The second reason why you should pay attention to the The Redskins’ name controversy is because of the government’s overreach. Two weeks ago, the Federal Patent Office cancelled the Redskins’ registration and protection of their trademark. Essentially, what the Patent Office told the world was that it was in a position to reward and punish those who it deemed had done something offensive, despite the fact that zero public complaints were filed against the patent.
The Redskins were a victim, punished for their name on little evidence by a government agency who is accountable to no one. George Washington University’s Jonathan Turley described this type of agency as “the fourth arm of government.” In this instance, unconstrained power was exercised freely with no reprimands or consequences. It should horrify you that in this scenario, free speech is being defined by a discretionary agency.
The bigger problem with The Redskins’ situation is not the name, but rather those trying to change the name. They are content with stopping at nothing and changing everything as a product of the indignation they feel on behalf of those who they believe are hurt. An honest cause, yes. But if those people who are worried about The Redskins’ name really want to help Native Americans, as they say they do, then what are they doing about their 11.3% unemployment rate? Or the horrible conditions on Indian Reservations? I’ll tell you what they’re doing to help them: they’re focusing everything on changing the name of a sports franchise.
So it’s safe to say, they’re not really worried about Native Americans. They simply need an issue to cry about, and found one.