Friday, February 22, 2013


Some of my strongest memories of going to men's professional football games in the D.C. area include going nuts trying to find something to wear that supported the team without being blatantly racist. (I also really liked Kenard Lang, for no particular reason, and have just learned that he is now a high school football coach, which I also like.)

(Don't get me started on the name of the women's team. Is "Divas" better or worse than "Liberty Belles"? Gross.)

But someone recently brought DCist's post on the subject of the men's team, which included local broadcaster Jim Vance's recent commentary. [Update: For me, the embedded video in the DCist story isn't loading today. If that's true for you, here's Vance's piece on YouTube.] And I can't imagine what it must be like for journalists who know better to write (or say) that word over and over again.

I didn't follow football much until I lived in D.C. and dated someone who loved it, and some of my closest friends are D.C. men's football fans. Heck, I'm a fan, inasmuch as someone who can't say the team's name can be.

But it sure is nice to live in a place where I don't have to see or hear that particular racist language and imagery dozens of times a day. Amazing, in fact.

So, Washington fans — what's the answer? There are those who think nothing will change until certain athletes take a stand — which ones? Who's beloved enough, who's a big enough draw? Do we need to get talking to the old guys, to Art Monk and Darrell Green? To old white guys, Joe Theismann and Riggo? Who's playing now who's Washington enough and impressive enough to get it done? Or do we need to appeal to sponsors, convince them to threaten to terminate those relationships?

Or do we just have to wait for Dan Snyder to get a soul?



Jennifer said...

Unfortunately the only way the team will get a new name will be a new owner. Just like the Washington Bullets getting a new name - a new more aware generation will need to take over.

bzzzzgrrrl said...

Dan Snyder's only five years older than I am. What generation is going to handle it?

It is my impression that younger generations than mine are actually less aware, rather than more. Hipster racism, in the form of headdresses and stuff, is pretty well documented.

I'd like to think my/Snyder's generation (of white people, that is; natives of all ages know this is appalling, and Jim Vance is certainly older than we are) is old enough to remember Leonard Peltier, for example, while I feel like the young folks around me are more likely to think of "Indians" as something old-timey and not real or relevant in our modern era.

I hope I'm wrong and you're right, that the shift just needs to be generational. But it does not look that way to me.