BB: Redskins under pressure; Anderson vs. Namath

Patrick McDermott

The Washington Redskins are under pressure from Congress to change their names. We take a quick statistical comparison between Kenny Anderson and Joe Namath.

+ Only 15 percent of all Americans polled by the prominent data collecting agency, Gallup, currently approves of the way Congress is doing their jobs. Mike Freeman with CBSSports.com definitely approves of the ten members of Congress appealing to Daniel Snyder that the Redskins should change their names.

The team shouldn't be called the racist name Redskins. There is no significant population of American Indians. The percentage of American Indians in D.C., the Census states, is 0.6 percent. Thus the more correct correlation for a team name is the Washington "N-Words".

The Annenberg Public Policy Center released a study in 2004 that polled 768 Native Americans, asking, "The professional football team in Washington calls itself the Washington Redskins. As a Native American, do you find that name offensive or doesn't it bother you?" Nine percent of those called it offensive. Adrian Jawort, a member of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, even adds that the term Redskins wasn't necessarily offensive until revisionist history was applied.

Claiming "scalps" automatically means "red skins" is revisionist history, to be blunt. It was the Native Americans who first used the term "red" in order to differentiate between indigenous, white, and black people. When not referring to their individual and other tribes collectively, why would they use Indian, Native, or other adjectives to describe their obvious skin differences back then? Ives Goddard is a senior linguist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of History. Goddard wrote the book, I am a Redskin: The Adoption of a Native American Expression (1769-1826) and notes the earliest uses of "red skin" were in recorded statements from Natives by the French who generally traded amicably with them. The French were careful to denote the "red" distinction was made by Natives themselves.

By the time of the Phips Proclamation, according to Goddard, "red" to describe Natives was used "by both French and English…. Although Europeans sometimes used such expressions among themselves, however, they remained aware of the fact that this was originally and particularly a Native American usage." Also citing Goddard in the recent article, "Before The Redskins Were The Redskins: The Use Of Native American Team Names In The Formative Era of American Sports, 1857-1944," Professor of Law and historian J. Gordon Hylton writes about the term, "…throughout the nineteenth century, the term was essentially neutral when used by whites, reflecting neither a particularly positive or particularly negative connotation." Even Sitting Bull once remarked, "I am a red man. If the Great Spirit had desired me to be a white man he would have made me so in the first place."

Robert "Two Eagles" Green, a retired chief of the Patawomeck Tribe and long-time Redskins fan told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday:

"I’ve been a Redskins fan for years. And to be honest with you, I would be offended if they did change it (the name)," Green said.

Most commenters on sites that champion the commentary, or talk about it with generalities, often wage support for saving the name. Most polls offer similar responses and at the very least suggest indifference. Today the First Amendment is being trashed, Benghazi is being covered up and the IRS is being embarrassed with "rogue agents". Makes sense to champion something else, I suppose. I mean if we're going to step outside of our personal arenas to wage this fight.

What are your thoughts on such a charged subject matter?

+ Joe Namath is very outspoken when it comes to the New York Jets, his former team for 12 years. On Thursday Namath took the Jets to task for the team's message to fans and relationship with the media.

"The team’s declined while we fans are being told how good they are constantly, how this new player’s so good. They haven’t played up to how they’ve been touted. And so I think they’ve misled the fans more or less. They’ve made some bad decisions on personnel the last couple of years."

"As a fan, I'm a little bit disturbed," he said. "Your football players are contractually obligated to answer questions from the media. Well, when we want to know why some decisions have been made by a general manager, he doesn't have to come out and tell us why he made those decisions. Whenever you want to ask an assistant coach a question, he's not allowed to talk."

If the Bengals are struggling, would you rather have someone like Namath speaking out or would you rather just everyone shut up?

Speaking of Namath.

Joe Namath Ken Anderson
SEASONS 13 16
GAMES 140 192
STARTING RECORD 62-63-4 91-81-0
PRO BOWLS 5 4
ALL-PRO 1 1
AP NFL MVP 0* 1
ATTEMPTS 3,762 4,475
COMPLETIONS 1,886 2,654
YARDS 27,663 32,838
AVG 7.4 7.3
COMP. PERCENT 50.1 59.3
TOUCHDOWNS 173 197
INTERCEPTIONS 220 160
QB RATING 65.5 81.9
SUPER BOWL RINGS 1 0
* Two-time AFL player of the year

Any guesses which player is the Hall of Famer?

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