Retired receiver and former Green Bay Packer Donald Driver got a street dedicated in his name and a statue planted in the city, known around the NFL, as Titletown. Driver spent his entire 14 year career with the Packers who drafted him in the seventh round out of HBCU, Alcorn State. (Steve McNair’s school) You can tell from all the people who turned out for the statute’s unveiling that Driver is truly loved in Green Bay. This isn’t a new statue. Since 1985, it stood like a figurine across from the GBP Hall of Fame as a (white) guy catching a football. The conversion includes a coloring or the receiver’s “skin,” and the penciling in of Driver’s name on the back of the uniform. It’s worth noting that this honor was cooked up by the “city of Green Bay, and not necessarily the Packers franchise, and it comes at a time when Brett Favre is so desperate to for the Packers to recognize his time with the team, that he has stooped to taking the blame for the circumstances that led to Favre leaving the team and predicting that current Packer QB, Aaron Rodgers, will break Favre’s records.Both of those admissions, or lies depending on what you’d like to believe, had to kill Favre!
In Roger Goodell’s world, up is down, high is low and down is up. The NFL Commissioner today responded to 10 Members of Congress, who want the Washington franchise to drop its nickname because it’s offensive and racist. His response exposed a deep and breathtaking ignorance. In a letter to those members, Goodell
essentially said they, and anyone else who is offended by the name “Redskin,” has it all wrong. Goodell told the bipartisan group, “Redskins” isn’t the racist nickname it appears to be. It sounds like what the government told Native Americans as they were pushed the off their land in 1813. “We’re not taking your good land, we’re just moving you to a better plot of land, called a reservation.’ Sadly, its 2013, and Native Americans are hearing the same thing. Goodell described the name as “a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.” Words such as “Redskin” are divisive, not a unifying force. Unless your idea of unity is pissing off minorities by mocking their very existence.
In March, the members sent Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington franchise, a letter urging him to change the name of the team. The reps sent similar letters to Goodell and FedEx President and CEO Frederick Smith, and the owners of the NFL’s 31 other franchises. The Washington franchise plays its home games at FedEx Stadium. Snyder has defiantly vowed, like a pirate refusing to give up his ship, to “never, ” change the name. Guessing that the owners and the league would not be able to relate to the offensive nature of the word, the members tried to make it easier for them to understand. In their letter, the members said the word “Redskin” is slur akin to the ‘N-word’ among African-Americans or the ‘W-word’ among Latinos. (N=nigger, w=wetback) After giving a pocket history on the name of the franchise (Goodell told the members the team used to be called the Braves) Goodell’s last ditch effort to convince the members they don’t know what they’re talking about when they say the name “Redskin” is offensive was to say, “It wasn’t meant to be derogatory when it was changed to “Redskins” …
How much better would you feel if your friend said he didn’t mean to call you an idiot, but then kept calling you an idiot? If your friend was sorry, if your friend didn’t mean to call you an idiot, he would he stop calling you an idiot, or you would stop calling that person your friend. In this case, Goodell is saying we don’t mean to offend anyone, and because of that, its OK to keep using the word.
If the name isn’t racist or offensive, what about the image? Can we at least say for the sake of 100 plus years of racist advertising in this country, that the “proud” warrior in “Indian” headress is analogous to any other racist ad?? Get a load of the vunacular in the Aunt Jemima and Cream of Wheat Ads! If those companies still sold their product like that today, you’d have to buy it online or die of shame waiting online at the store. Sho nuff you would!
The question now is why is Roger Goodell trying to convince a group of congress members that up is down, high is low, and down is up. The reason may have to do more with numbers than it has to do with race. According to a Maryland public relations firm, that has done work for both the Washington franchise and the Cleveland Indians, they of the, “Chief Wahoo” logo, it would cost the team $20 million to change the name. If you ask someone who doesn’t stand to profit from keeping the name in place, then the figure is much lower. Branding firm Landor Associates told Bloomberg Businessweek, the team would break even in three to five years after changing the name. Goodell clearly knows all that too. What this may come down to is what the league believes the perception of it would be if they were forced a change the name under these circumstances. For some reason, there are a lot of white folks (black folks too, but we don’t count as much) who get angry when minorities have the temerity to say we’re offended by something even this racist. Whether its the reaction of the white football fan or money, either way, the word “Redskin” and that logo is a shamful depiction and a source of ignorance. The country likes to brag about technological advances, and yet in some cases, socically, we’re still stuck in the 1950’s.