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Redskins May Try to Buy Indian Cover for Racist Name
Secret Trips, Sympathy Contracts, Ceremonies All Suspect, Ring Phony
By: Professor John Banzhaf, GWU Law School
Team owner Daniel Snyder recently made several trips to Indian areas. Although the trips were supposed to be kept secret, team insiders admit that they are part of a strategy to address the issue of a name many now concede is racist. They suggest that the trips will result in the team paying off cooperative Indians, and even entering into sympathy contracts - e.g. selling popcorn from a tribe at games. The trips, by the way, were arranged by a lobbyist, and were described as "odd" by at least one tribal leader.
Snyder apparently is trying to persuade some Indians, especially those who may be the beneficiaries of his munificence, that Indians have far more serious problems than a racist NFL team name.
That's obviously true, says Banzhaf, but hardly the point, and is simply an effort to distract attention.
Blacks had much more serious problems than Paula Dean using the n-word in private , or Dan Imus describing black hair as "nappy" or using thee word “Jigaboos,”
Gay people have far more important problems than what a backwoods patriarch says about their sexual practices, but they quickly and strongly condemned his remarks - even though they were allegedly based on the Bible - about their sexual practices.
Fortunately, says Banzhaf, using his vast wealth to try to buy friends for the team's name is likely to backfire. A former Redskins vice president of public relations admits that Snyder is in a difficult position. He says that using money to woo Indians would not help much, and could be “misinterpreted as a payoff.”
Even a recent ceremony, supposedly to honor Navajo Code talkers, was denounced, with the several Indians participating being called "props" for Snyder. One Navajo Nation Councilman condemned what he called team officials’ “antics to use our beloved and cherished Navajo heroes as pawns in their public relations battle to perpetuate this indignity and ignorance.”
“N*gger, W*tback, Ch*ink, W*p, J*p, etc. are racist insulting words, even though many of each ethic persuasion may not object, or feel that their people face more important issues. No reasonable person would use or repeat a team name like the C*nts, the F*ggots, or the R*tards, although each group faces mosre serious problems, and some no longer get upset by the use,” argues Banzhaf.
JOHN F. BANZHAF III, B.S.E.E., J.D., Sc.D.
Professor of Public Interest Law
George Washington University Law School,
FAMRI Dr. William Cahan Distinguished Professor,
Fellow, World Technology Network,
Founder, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH)
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