Fans of the NFL team were outraged after being confronted on camera by Native American activists
Comedy Central aired an episode of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Thursday night that waded into the controversy over the ‘Redskins’ NFL team name, despite outrage from team fans interviewed by the show who said they were “ambushed” and “duped” during the taping of the segment.
During one part of the report, Daily Show reporter Jason Jones spoke to a group of Native Americans who want the team name changed because they feel it is offensive, along with a group of Redskins fans who defended use of the name. The Redskins fans said they were surprised and upset when Jones invited the Native American activists to meet with them.
“This goes way beyond mocking. Poking fun is one thing, but that’s not what happened,” Kelli O’Dell, 56, told The Washington Post after the segment was first taped. “It was disingenuous. The Native Americans accused me of things that were so wrong. I felt in danger. I didn’t consent to that. I am going to be defamed.”
Before airing the segment, Stewart said the show takes seriously any claims that people are duped into participating. Comedy Central, it seems, determined that the offended fans were not misled.
“It’s derogatory, Mr. Cartman”+ READ ARTICLE
South Park is taking a jab at the Washington Redskins, the NFL team that has been under pressure to change a name considered racist by Native American groups.
In a trailer for the 18th season of the Comedy Central cartoon, Eric Cartman has taken advantage of the fact that the Redskins’ trademark was canceled by a federal board, starting a company that uses the team’s name and logo. And in an ironic twist, a cartoon version of Redskins owner Dan Snyder is offended by the use of his team’s name.
“Don’t you see that when you refer to your company as the Washington Redskins it’s offensive to us?” cartoon Snyder says. “It’s derogatory, Mr. Cartman.”
In the ad, which was timed to run during the fourth quarter of the Washington-Philadelphia game on Sunday, Cartman explains that he uses the teams name out of respect. “When I named my company ‘Washington Redskins,’ it was done out of deep appreciation for your team and your people,” he says.
The segment hasn't aired yet
A Daily Show with Jon Stewart segment that features Redskins fans in a debate with activist Native Americans turned into a not-so-funny, caustic shouting match that angered many of the participants on the comedy news show.
Four hardcore Redskins fans signed up to be in an upcoming episode of the Daily Show, knowing they were likely to be mocked in an interview with correspondent Jason Jones, the Washington Post reports. But three hours into the taping, a large group of Native American activists—prearranged by Daily Show producers to confront the Redskins fans—appeared, and the segment descended into vitriol.
The Native American group, some of which are members of the comedy group the 1491s, entered the room where the Redskins were being interviewed. At first there was an awkward silence. Then, the Native Americans angrily accused the fans of supporting a racist mascot. One activist, Amanda Blackhorse said she called a fan an “alcoholic, someone who’s in denial and who doesn’t want to believe what they’re doing is not right.”
A 56-year-old Redskins fan, Kelli O’Dell, said she felt trapped, broke into tears and took off her microphone to leave the room.
“This goes way beyond mocking. Poking fun is one thing, but that’s not what happened,” O’Dell said. “It was disingenuous. The Native Americans accused me of things that were so wrong. I felt in danger. I didn’t consent to that. I am going to be defamed.”
The Daily Show told the Redskins fans that there would be a panel with Native Americans, but was unclear about whether there would be a cross-panel discussion.
The Native Americans took flak as they were being filmed for The Daily Show at the FedEx Field on Sunday, where Redskins fans tailgating an NFL season opener shouted obscenities at them. According to one of the Native Americans, one man shouted at them “Thanks a lot for letting us use your name, boys!”
The Redskins name and logo have long been a subject of controversy, with Native American groups filing successive lawsuits claiming the name is disparaging. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office voted to cancel the Redskins trademark, but its owner, Dan Snyder, has adamantly refused to change the team’s name.
The Daily Show episode in question hasn’t aired yet.
Sen. Maria Cantwell announced the upcoming legislation at a press conference hosted by the Change the Mascot campaign
Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said Tuesday that she would soon be introducing legislation to end to the NFL’s tax-exempt status because of its refusal to pressure the Washington Redskins to change the team name.
“The NFL needs join the rest of America in the 21st century. We can no longer tolerate this attitude towards Native Americans,” Cantwell, a member and former chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, said Tuesday. “This is not about team tradition; it is about right and wrong.”
Cantwell joined tribal leaders and lawmakers at a press conference on Capitol Hill hosted by the Change the Mascot campaign. It’s been a year since the Oneida Indian Nation launched the Change the Mascot ad campaign against the Washington Redskins. On Tuesday, the campaign announced they would continue pressing the NFL to get urge Redskins owner Dan Snyder to reconsider the Washington team’s mascot and call on other team owners to join the effort to get the name changed.
In an open letter being sent to every NFL team owner, the Change the Mascot campaign says “the league is promoting this racial slur with the resources of every team, including yours, which makes it a league-wide crisis.” The letter continues, “If owners like you finally stand on the right side of history and publicly demand action, the NFL can and will change the team’s name.”
The coalition calling for a name change has grown over the past year, with lawmakers including President Obama speaking out against the Washington team’s name. Broadcasters and publications have agreed to not use the term. And earlier this summer a federal agency canceled the team’s trademark because of its use of a racial slur, though the Redskins organization has appealed that decision.
Through it all, however, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has said repeatedly he will not change the team’s name or mascot. “I respect the opinions of those who disagree. I want them to know that I do hear them, and I will continue to listen and learn. But we cannot ignore our 81 year history, or the strong feelings of most of our fans as well as Native Americans throughout the country,” Dan Snyder wrote in a letter to fans last October.
"Personally, I find it surprising that in this day and age, the name is not different"
The controversy over the NFL’s Washington Redskins team name “isn’t high” on the Native American agenda, U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told ABC Friday, but she added that it’s “surprising” the football franchise has yet to change its name. As Secretary of the agency overseeing the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Jewell works to uphold trust and treaty obligations with Native American tribes.
“Personally, I think we would never consider naming a team the ‘Blackskins’ or the ‘Brownskins’ or the ‘Whiteskins,'” said Jewell. “So, personally, I find it surprising that in this day and age, the name is not different.”
“But in talking with tribal leaders, this has not been the issue that they have talked about with me, and I think that there is debate, even among the Native American community, on the Washington Redskins, and certainly there are a lot of people who have pride in that team,” Jewell added. “So, my personal views are not necessarily reflected in the tribes that I talk to.”
Fellow cabinet member Attorney General Eric Holder went further in his comments with ABC earlier this year, saying that he personally believes the Redskins name is “offensive” and should be changed. That view is supported by 50 independent and Democratic senators, who called the name “Redskins” a “racial slur” in a recent letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell advocating to change the name of the Washington franchise. President Barack Obama has signaled that he is open to changing the name; Redskins owner Dan Synder has vowed to never change it.
An ESPN poll released this week found the percentage who think the Redskins name should be changed has nearly tripled since 1992 to 23%. Still, the vast majority of Americans—71%—believe the team should be allowed to keep its name, according to the poll.
"It's a warrior's name"+ READ ARTICLE
The Washington Redskins premiered a video Monday in which Native Americans explain why they don’t think the team’s hot-button name is offensive.
The video, released by the “Redskins Facts” campaign reportedly funded by the team, features Native Americans from across the country arguing that the moniker is “a powerful name — it’s a warrior’s name.”
This counters the message of a powerful ad paid for by the California tribe Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation during the June NBA Finals called Proud to Be, in which a voiceover said, “Native Americans call themselves many things. The one thing they don’t…” before flashing to an image of a Redskins helmet.
In the Redskins Facts video, Native Americans argue that they have bigger issues to deal with than a football team’s name. “They’ve never asked Native Americans. It’s somebody else who knows nothing about us trying to speak for us, and it’s kind of an insult,” Wade Colliflower, Team Redskins representative from the Chippewa Cree Tribe, said before adding, “If you can help in any other way it would be greatly appreciated.”
Former players including Gary Clark, Chris Cooley and Mark Moseley traveled to Rocky Boy’s Reservation last month as a part of the campaign, The Washington Post reports. Ads for Redskins Facts have been showing up on various media sites as well:
How do you defend the seemingly indefensible? The Washington Redskins' heavyweight lawyers tried everything from Philip Rahv to Lou Diamond Phillips
A decision on Wednesday from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board stripped Pro-Football Inc. (d/b/a the Washington Redskins) of its Redskins-related trademarks. This is not the first time Pro-Football Inc. has lost in this venue: The TTAB cancelled all Redskins trademarks in 1999, too. (A federal court later overturned that decision on procedural grounds.)
The board held both times that “Redskins” disparaged Native Americans and as such, under federal law, could not be trademarked. But the standard for disparagement isn’t what one would immediately expect. Wrote the Board, “[T]hese registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered…”
In other words, it’s not a question of whether “Redskins” is disparaging in 2014—a recent survey from Cal State-San Bernadino’s Center for Indigenous Peoples Studies reported that 67 percent of American Indians considered the team’s name racist—but whether the word was disparaging in 1967, 1974, 1978, and 1990 (this last year, for what it’s worth, concerns a registration for “Redskinettes,” which is kind of comprehensively tasteless). Asking the question that way introduces a bit of lightness to the proceedings, primarily into the appendix containing the defense’s exhibits.
After all, not only does the trademark case concern good taste in usage (a magnet for pedantry if ever there were one) but it does so for usage in the 1960s and 70s. The Redskins’ file, then, cooked up by the legal minds at Quinn Emanuel, teems with low and high culture. It’s Billy Jack meets the English departments of the mid-20th century. Below we’ve plucked a handful of highlights, ones we imagine had never before landed in federal records together until the first time the TTAB heard the case.
• A two-page selection from James Joyce’s Ulysses (1922). The relevant sentence: “Their mudcabins and their shielings by the roadside were laid low by the batteringram and the Times rubbed its hands and told the whitelivered Saxons there would soon be as few Irish in Ireland as redskins in America.” And then the following sentences: “Even the Grand Turk sent us his piastres. But the Sassenach tried to starve the nation at home while the land was full of crops that the British hyenas bought and sold in Rio de Janeiro. Ay, they drove out the peasants in hordes. Twenty thousand of them died in the coffinships. But those that came to the land of the free remember the land of bondage. And they will come again and with a vengeance, no cravens, the sons of Granuaile, the champions of Kathleen ni Houlihan.”
• This Land O’Lakes carton.
• Mary McCarthy’s 1974 New York Times Book Review remembrance of Philip Rahv. Rahv (1908-73) was a critic and editor for Partisan Review during the ’40s and ’50s heyday of the literary left. McCarthy, the novelist and critic, ran in the same circles, and was once Rahv’s lover. Were they big football fans? Presumably not. We imagine it’s in there because Rahv wrote “Paleface and Redskin,” a celebrated 1939 essay on the American literary oeuvre, which turns up in Pro-Football Inc.’s exhibits too. Does the essay concern the appropriateness of the term, or the role of Native Americans in American fiction? It does not. But it does have a lot to say about a fundamental schism between Mark Twain’s school and Henry James’s, if that’s your bag.
• A scene from Courage Under Fire (1996). The film stars Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan, a young Matt Damon and, most importantly, a young Lou Diamond Phillips. Why is it relevant? We’re not really sure. For what it’s worth, the appendix represents it like so:
• A selection from Neo-Realism in Contemporary American Fiction. (Again, Rahv’s doing. An included essay from Sanford Pinsker, a now-emeritus professor of English at Franklin and Marshall College, riffs on Rahv.)
• This Argo Corn Starch box. According to Argo’s website, the lady on there is a “corn maiden.”
• A flyer for a Duke University campus event with then-Harvard president Derek Bok. Ronald R. Butters, who is now a professor emeritus of English at Duke, was retained by the team in 1996 as an expert witness on the English language. He produced many documents for the defense (at a cool $150 per hour, or $220 per in 2014 money). But somewhere along the line he must have run out of paper, resulting in the appearance of this flyer in evidence. So much time has passed since Bok’s talk that Duke now has a “new old chemistry” building, owing to the French Family Science Center, which opened in 2006.
Did we miss something silly? You can view the entire case file here.
The California tribe Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation paid to run the minute-long commercial during the NBA Finals+ READ ARTICLE
Sports fans will see more than ads for fast food, cars and beer during commercial breaks in Tuesday night’s NBA Finals. An anti-Washington Redskins ad will run during the game’s halftime, in the hope that the NFL will force the team to change its name from what many consider a racial slur.
The California tribe Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation paid to run the minute-long ad, an edited version of the commercial above, which was created by the National Congress of American Indians. Adweek reports that a 30-second ad slot cost advertisers $460,000 in the 2013 NBA Finals.
The ad, called “Proud to be,” highlights tribes across the country. The final voiceover says, “Native Americans call themselves many things. The one thing they don’t…” before flashing to an image of a Redskins helmet.
While the Redskins name and logo has been a source of controversy for decades, it received particular bad press after Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned from the NBA for life after his racist rant was leaked to the public. NFL player Richard Sherman told TIME’s Sean Gregory that he didn’t think the NFL would have the same response.
“Because we have an NFL team called the Redskins,” Sherman said. “I don’t think the NFL really is as concerned as they show. The NFL is more of a bottom line league. If it doesn’t affect their bottom line, they’re not as concerned.”
The National Congress of American Indians praised the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation for airing the ad during the NBA finals, and said it would send a “loud and clear” message to the league and the team.
“Contrary to the team’s absurd claims, this dictionary-defined racial epithet does not honor our heritage. The Change the Mascot campaign continues to gather strength every time that people are educated about the origin of the R-word and its damaging impact on Native peoples,” NCAI Executive Director Jackie Pata and Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter said in a statement. “By airing this ad during the NBA Championships, the message will be brought into the living rooms of millions of American all across the country.”
Bruce Allen hopes the Senate Majority Leader will enjoy the team's "positive, unifying force" in person after the lawmaker asked the NFL to call for a name change
The president of the Washington Redskins told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Friday to come a game after Reid wrote a letter to the National Football League urging the league to change the D.C.-area’s team’s name.
“I hope you will attend one of our home games, where you would witness first-hand that the Washington Redskins are a positive, unifying force for our community in a city and a region that is divided on so many levels,” Bruce Allen told the Democratic senator in a letter posted on the team’s website Friday.
Allen’s letter is a response to a letter signed by 50 U.S. senators and sent to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Thursday asking him to recommend a name change for the Washington Redskins. The senators say the Redskins’ name is disrespectful towards Native American culture. Reid and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) wrote the letter, which 47 colleagues signed (Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla., sent a separate letter).
Allen’s respose defends the Redskins’ name. He argues that a national survey found most Native Americans do not find the name offensive, that the logo was approved by Native American leaders and that the team’s use of the name “has always been respectful of and shown reverence toward the proud legacy and traditions of Native Americans.”