Washington Post columnist Mike Wise has offered his thoughts on the Washingtin Redskins' team name calling it "ill-considered, objectionable, offensive, racist, totally unacceptable."
Wise's comments are in line with feelengs expressed last week by Washington Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Post columnist Courtland Milloy. In a column published on Friday, Wise offers some personal insight that many D.C. football fans -- through no fault of their own -- might lack:
Fans of the burgundy and gold, don’t roll your eyes. For many Native Americans, the slur “Redskin” is just as offensive as the N-word. When I visited the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 2007, a man named Leonard Littlefinger told me that if I walked into a bar on the reservation and said “Redskins,” I would possibly be knocked unconscious.
Many people feel a name change is inevitable. Wise's larger point in the column is that if or when the change happens, it won't be due to the efforts of the team's rookie quarterback, Robert Griffin III -- who is revered as the Washington's on-the-field savior, and who went down with a knee injury in the final game.
It's not a knock on Griffin per se, but on all highly-paid, endlessly-sponsored, micromanaged professional athletes of the 21st century. Wise says professional athletes who stand up for their beliefs -- in the tradition of Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, and Arthur Ashe -- are as good as extinct.