By Ken Reed

It’s been a great summer when measured by the socio-cultural progress the United States has made.

The Supreme Court finally determined that gay and lesbian Americans deserve the same rights under the law as other Americans by ruling that same-sex marriages are constitutionally legal.

In South Carolina, we witnessed political leaders finally taking down the Confederate flag — a symbol for white supremacist and racist ideologies — from the state capitol grounds.

In the sports world, we’ve seen progressive males in the traditionally conservative NBA and NFL take the bold step of hiring females Becky Hammon, Jen Welter, and Nancy Lieberman as assistant coaches.

Meanwhile, back in our nation’s capitol, Dan Snyder continues to resist calls to change the team’s racist nickname.

Ironically, Snyder and his minions sound just like the folks who fiercely defended the flying of the Confederate flag at the South Carolina capitol grounds.

Yes indeed, the pro-Redskins nickname people are spewing the same rhetoric as the pro-Confederate flag folks. In a well-done piece for the Washington Post, Paul Farhi placed the arguments of the Confederate flag supporters next to the arguments of the Washington Redskins nickname supporters. Guess what? It’s almost impossible to tell one from the other.

Here’s but one example:

It’s about history

“It’s history. They’re trying to take this flag away. They’re basically trying to change the history and abolish it and get rid of it.” (Flag supporter Brian Nielsen of Minnesota)

“What I would encourage you to do and everyone else to do is just look at the history, understand where the name came from, understand what it means.” (Dan Snyder, Washington Redskins owner)

It would sure be nice if all the NFL executive, media and fan energy being spent on Tom Brady and “Deflategate” was instead directed toward the removal of the racist nickname of the Washington franchise.

That would certainly be a positive statement about our society in general, and the NFL in particular.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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