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The Pigskins Shame Spiral is an occasional feature tracking developments related to the name of D.C.’s beloved football team.
Who: Dan Snyder, the owner of the football team and the man who once said he would “NEVER” change its name.
Change the name? LOL
Why? Snyder said in an interview with ESPN 980’s “The Drive” that it would be nice if people could “focus on the fact that—the facts, the history, the truth, the tradition.” He went on to say that a Native American designed the team’s logo, which means it can’t be perceived as offensive to anyone. The public should be more concerned, Synder said, with the persistent problems of poverty common on Native American reservations than with the team name. Via the Washington Post:
“You know, it’s sort of fun to talk about the name of our football team, because it gets some attention for some of the people that write it, that need clicks, or what have you. But reality is, no one ever talks about what’s going on on reservations, the fact that they have such high unemployment rates, health care issues, education issues, environmental issues, lack of water, lack of electricity.
No one wants to talk about that stuff, because it’s not cocktail, chit-chat-talk, it’s a real-life need, real-life issues. And I think they don’t want to focus on that, and I dedicated an effort to do that.”
Shame Spiral rating: Shoulder Shrug. Snyder is still giving the middle finger to everyone—-including President Barack Obama—-who wants him to change the name. Whether you think his foundation to raise money for Native Americans is a self-interested PR stunt or a genuine act of caring, Snyder’s right that more money and resources going into these communities is positive. But amid his dogged determination to argue for keeping the team’s name, Snyder fails to acknowledge that his team promotes a cartoonish, stereotyped understanding of one of this country’s most underserved populations. Also, it’s worth noting that many of the “facts” that Snyder spews in favor of the name are probably wrong or misleading.
Snyder may have failed to shame himself into changing the team name, but he did still mange to shame himself.
Illustration by Jandos Rothstein