I’ll never forget the first couple of years of the Atlanta Braves’ success in the early 90s. A large group of family and friends who couldn’t afford postseason tickets would tailgate at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium and enjoy the atmosphere. It was the first time I encountered a protester railing against the Braves’ name.
The protester was a Native American man who stood by himself shouting that the Braves needed to change their name. As a somewhat idealistic college freshman, I tried to engage him in conversation. He wouldn’t talk and answered every question with invective. After a few minutes, I finally asked him why he didn’t protest when the Braves were in last place. All he replied with was, “because then nobody would listen.”
Protesters and grievance-mongers want the largest audience they can get. The deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd have shed light on racial tensions in this country, and other dominoes are falling as a result.
Multiple sources are reporting that the Washington Redskins will announce a name change on Monday. There’s no word yet on whether the team will announce a new name simultaneously.
CNBC noted that some Native American leaders have petitioned the team to change the name.
Over a dozen Native American leaders and organizations wrote to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week demanding an immediate end to Washington’s use of the name. In the letter that was obtained by The Associated Press, they said they “expect the NFL to engage in a robust, meaningful reconciliation process with Native American movement leaders, tribes, and organizations to repair the decades of emotional violence and other serious harms this racist team name has caused to Native Peoples.”
Emotional violence? Serious harm? Look, I cringe at the Redskins name, but I don’t see how a football team’s name actually causes damage to groups of people. A team name is nothing compared to the Trail of Tears and the forcible removing of people groups from their lands. A team name itself doesn’t do harm.
But what’s most telling is that the greatest pressure came from sponsors. CNBC reports that corporations like Nike, Pepsi, and FedEx are pressuring owner Dan Snyder to make a change.
Here’s the thing: these companies are putting pressure on the Redskins to change their name to appease white liberals. They don’t give a second thought about the plight of Native Americans. If they did, they would be helping curb the scourges of alcoholism and dependence among American Indians.
All companies like Nike and Pepsi want to do is cater to the “woke” – a term, which, like “Redskins,” may be stupid and annoying but doesn’t actually harm anyone. These corporations want to look good in the eyes of the left. It’s pure symbolism, which is what liberal corporations traffic in better than anyone else.
Remember this: regardless of what happens to the Washington Redskins, nothing will change about the plight of Native Americans when the name ceases to be. All that will really change is that liberals will feel better about what they’ve done. And that’s all that matters to far too many people.