I am a Washington Redskins fan, meaning I can’t wait for the NBA season to tip off. A lot has been written the past few years about the team changing its name. My take…I don’t care either way. If changing the name makes the team better than I am 100% in favor of it, otherwise my thoughts are elsewhere. The list of things I worry about doesn’t include this controversy, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have thoughts about the issue, and race in sports and society in general.
First, I have lived in Oklahoma for the past 20 years, which I am sure qualifies me for Sainthood but alas the Pope didn’t make it to Tulsa during his recent U.S. visit to jump start the process. Plus I am pretty sure you need to be dead to become a Saint. My point is I live in the “Native American State” and one of the top high schools (Union) nickname is…wait for it…Redskins. In fact six Oklahoma high schools have the Redskins as their Mascot. As conservative and politically correct as this state is, wouldn’t you think the public schools would change their nicknames to something else if it was derogatory? Just wondering.
Another sports related event involving race (allegedly) is the case of the two San Antonio high school football players attacking a referee during a game earlier in September. At the time I tweeted a joke about how I was OK with the attack since a lot of attorneys are refs and well…I make no secret for my disdain for legal profession. Obviously it’s not OK to attack attorneys, trust me I’ve researched the hell out of this and cannot find a legal precedent; it’s also not OK to attack referees…even if the ref did use a racial slur (allegedly).
I keep using the word “allegedly” because the national narrative has changed from these two players are thugs (which they are), to, “Well the ref used a racial slur”. NOBODY has raised the issue that the kids are still responsible! If the ref used a racial slur…that’s not good but if he did that on the street and someone attacked him the attackers are going straight to jail, end of story. The kids also don’t get a pass because they were “ordered” to hit the ref by their coach. The coach actually told THREE players to attack the ref but one of them had the good sense to ignore the order.
The San Antonio high school football players and the coach all deserve to be arrested and tried for assault. Let’s assume the ref did use some racial slurs, you know what would have also created HUGE national headlines…positive headlines for the coach and players??? Leave the field! The coach could have “pulled” his team and put the ref on the defensive trying to explain why this football team decided to quit playing if he really didn’t use a slur. The players and coach would still get on Good Morning America but in a positive light.
So what’s my point in all this? I mean what could a middle age WHITE guy have to add to racial prejudice narrative? Quite a bit actually. First calling any person a derogatory name NEVER justifies violence. I wish it did, because I could take my frustration out on the bozos who think it’s funny to call me bald. Side note: Why is it OK to call someone bald…a condition I have zero control over…but heaven forbid if I called someone “fat” I am an insensitive A-hole? I’m serious…why is there a double standard here?
The lesson for everyone, both with the Redskins debate and the Texas high school football controversy is don’t give someone the power to hurt you with words. If you don’t like the name of Washington’s NFL team, don’t watch their games or buy their jerseys. Retired NFL referee Mike Carey asked to not work Redskins games the last 8 years of his career so he wouldn’t have to say their name. That’s his right and I respect the hell out of it.
If someone calls you a name and it “bothers you”…that’s on you. Think about it, the people who try to put down someone by calling them a name are not that smart to begin with are they? If they were, they’d be a lot more creative in their criticism. As Dennis Miller once said, “I am baffled by the concept of racial prejudice. Why hate someone based on the color of their skin when, if you take the time to get to know them as a human being, you can find so many other things to hate them for?” Instead of hating on a race of people we should be hating a group of human beings who are insensitive AND dumber than a bag of rocks.
Finally, do you think that coach would have ordered his players to pull a “Code Red” on the ref if said referee was Ed Hochuli…he of the NFL and huge arms fame? Hochuli is an attorney so I would gladly hand over $50 for a “pay-per-view” event where not only could I watch an attorney get blindsided but then watch old Ed get up and go “all UFC” on the dumbasses who sucker punched him. It’s a win – win for everyone!
Bill Becker is the Founder and “Chief Creative Dude” of WeekendSportsUpdate.com. You can follow him on Twitter @weekendsportsup.