The wrangle over the Washington Redskins logo took a curious, potentially game-changing turn last week when The Washington Post released results of a nationwide poll they’d conducted gauging opinions of aboriginal Americans on the semi-controversial (2012 >) franchise moniker, as they reported Thursday (“New Poll Finds 9 in 10” / TWP / 5.19.16 / Cox – Clement – Vargas).
Not a surprising turn as the poll’s lop-sided result (9 of 10 do not find the name offensive (Question #2)) is consistent with what the majority of NFL fans, Redskins and otherwise, have been expressing in commentary since the Indian image became a flash-point in 2012, the same year Nike assumed NFL uniform control. A coincidence? If yes it’s a mighty “BIG coincidence (“Elaine Benes“).”
‘Nine out of 10’ has been good enough for toothpaste and Tylenol® buyers for generations, it aughta’ be good enough for Redskins rilers too. So there!
Admittedly, even a pro-Redskins person (moi) could not have expected this resounding result. Maybe 60, even 70% of Indians backing the emblem, but 90% A-okay with it, and then those who answered in the “offensive” couldn’t even rise into the double-digits (9% (1% NO) (Q2)), well, that was eye-opening for all of us.
Numbers can tell tall tales but these digits can’t be mistrusted. On issue of Indian imagery this poll’s not a landslide, it’s downright “world shaking (“Dragline”).” In the current nomenclature, the poll result was a PC smackdown.
Indian America has spoken. Their message: ‘Get out of our tree, charlatans, and get off the reservation, unless you relax, listen & “act naturally (Buck & Ringo).”’
While the significant support respondents gave the historical & artful NFL representation (Q2, 5,6 & 7), or, stated another way, the serious non-support anti-Redskinites suffered by way of respondents’ expressed disinterest in the whole issue (Q4: “NET less important (78%)”), makes a major statement in the battle over speech and PTO politicization, though, ironically, a mere 1% of those queried in the key Q2 had “no opinion.” Generally, 3-5% of pollees will express indifference on the query posed which could mean USA’s Indian population takes this topic more seriously than another question might lead one to believe (See: Q4 % above). The peculiarities of polling.
And what about the “21%” feeling “disrespect(ed)” by the DC logo (Q5)?
Twelve (12%) of the “disrespect(ed)” respondents in Q5 didn’t find it “offensive” in Q2 (9%),” and then 4% (17% (Q6)) of that 21%, added to that 80% who “would not be offended (Q6)” if Redskin word were spoken to them by a non-Indian, would let Harry Reid use it even in a personal greeting:
Harry: ‘Jahé, Redskin!
Indian: ‘Hey, Reidster, how ya’ doing!?’ Got that Water bill proposal in the hopper yet? Times a wasting, friend.’
The results also expose decades of disingenuous efforts by purported advocates, nervy politicos and boards of regents who for years have been ditching beloved mascots across the landscape for the hoards of clawing eagles, toothy panthers and like, and then thousands of social media mavens in 2016, all who claim to be acting in the best interest of Indian representation and a few neo-fascists not infrequently hurling the racist charge in what seems pleasure – pain routine.
Whether the anti-Redskins’ elite in Nancy Pelosi, Reid, Oneida leader & PGA card-holder Ray Halbritter, President Obama, Presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton and many sportswriters who made nary a peep on the logo pre-2012 but boarded the anti-Bandwagon as quickly as it hit the road, will heed the resounding statement conveyed is hard to imagine. That kind of change takes constitution, a trait in short supply on both sides of the political aisle in these tense times.
The fact the Post used a diverse sampling, rife with rank & file as opposed to just Council elders who tend towards a ‘whatever‘s good for business‘ tack, appears worded for neutrality and that this effort is probably the closest we will get to achieving a democratically arrived at answer on where the public stand on the meaning of the 80-yr old Redskins name, will likely make little difference in the already publically expressed positions of the above leaders or their minions.
The two biggest boo-boos the anti-crowd could make in response to Post poll:
1) ‘Don’t trust the poll, trust us, instead. And now that we think of it, a vote does sound like a good idea:’ Denial, deceit, desperation; and
2) ‘We respect the Native Americans and their views but I still find Redskins moniker personally objectionable:’ Stubborn, and both roads to Loserville.
And remember, this is the Washington Post, not the GOP-leaning Washington Times. The Post had been bastion of progressiveness, newspaper that brought down the Nixon White House in early 70s in exposing its widespread corruption by way of the Watergate burglary cover-up, its Editor in Ben Bradlee and writers Woodward & Bernstein who all helped right the Constitution ship (All the President’s Men (1974 / ‘76 film)) and yet a Post in recent times took an anti-Redskins stand themselves in print and editorial direction. That same Post.
This poll might re-establish its maker as the leader-in-liberal, not because of the results but because they were willing to engage the effort in the first place, regardless of the torpedoes responses might fire-off at the anti-Redskins ship.
Phone polls won’t replace the ballot box but it’s the best we’ll get on this topic. They tried the vote thing in North Dakota (Fighting Sioux) a few years back, for one of the two relevant tribes, then the Council membership on the other chimed in and decided to take matters into their dozen or so hands: Democracy only as needed.
What affect this poll has on the legal fight that plods along in multiple venues is hard to predict even as its collective voice on Redskins meaning is clear.
Apart form the jury vote, our legal system is not one that embraces the spirit of democracy or choosing right over wrong. It is conservative in its caution, prides itself on precedent and strides towards justified results.
But its practitioners are not without their political – personal leanings, even as they interpret and apply our laws and regulations to the facts, laws that theoretically flow from the will of the people. To tune-out such a statement as was made by Indian America in this WP poll could be seen as the biggest affront of all to their persons and heritage.
For Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder this pleasing poll result was manna from heaven. It changes the whole dynamic. Democracy-like insights, when thrown into a mix where they’d before been sorely lacking, always work a dynamo.
The whole gestalt of the poll, the conductor (WP), the form of questions posed, the answers, could make it more satisfying for Dan than were a majority of Robes on the US Supreme Court to side with his case, were they to hear it. Maybe.
Again, its resounding result won’t necessarily direct the outcome of the legal journey he and NFL embarked upon but it does tend to show that sport fans, fair-minded folk and those lacking in fascist tendency will in all likelihood back his effort (90%) and Redskins moniker, if asked to do so.
And oh yeah, the NFL sponsors, don’t forget them. They’re “lovin’ it,” too. And they’re key in this contest. They made the right call staying on board in support of Snyder et al and it’s paid off, so far.
Sometimes a minority, even a small one, holds the answer, the courage to fight for change (desegregation). That ain’t this.
We the people have a right in this democracy to decide collectively the meaning of words & monikers for public or commercial purpose, sometimes over-riding dictionary boards-of-editors that can become politicized, especially when these collectives are supported by rational thought. Sometimes a person(s) objects for whatever reason but then democracy is not about always getting your way. Learning to accept differences and diversity is one really big part of it.
For the niche that is the anti-Redskins contingent, one backed by major media throughout, this Post poll, result, has been their greatest fear: People speak.
Democracy is like eating veggies, they don’t always go down easy but you gotta’ eat ‘em to survive & thrive. To those who’ve purported to speak for aboriginal Americans without ample inquiry or honest reflection, it’s time to dig in.
And there’s still time to ring the dinger and step off that PC bully bandwagon, Ms. Clinton. Don’t make this issue and digging-in on the wrong, blue blood side of it your first defeat as Commander-in-Chief.
A leader can have their faults: Too harsh, too lenient, too corrupt. They can even make a mistake, now and then. But what they cannot be is a hypocrite.
A candidate, President too proud to admit a mistake is unsettling indeed.
Photo credit: D.Snyder, 11.5.4, wc.cca, J.Wallace; Chief-Wolf-Robe, wc.cca, Cheyenne, BPL, 1898, F.Rinehart; Washington Redskins, wordmark, 1972, wc.cca; Afraid-of-Eagle, 1898, F.Rinehart, Sioux, BPLDC, wc.cca; D.Snyder, 11.16.14, K.Allison, MD, wc.cca; NFL-wikiproject.
Posted: 5.24.16 @ 1:03am, edit 12:47pm EST; Copyright © 2016
The Washington Post Redskins’ poll: