Monday, August 25, 2014

It’s Time for Earnhardt Jr. To Take a Stand

Washington Quarterback Robert Giffin III and friends
It’s time for Dale Earnhardt Jr. to take a stand.

He needs to stop using the “R” word when referring to his favorite football team.

It’s no secret that Earnhardt Jr. is a lifelong supporter of Washington’s professional football team (as are many NASCAR fans) and is one of team’s most recognizable fans.  He was on the sidelines for a pre-season game last week with his crew chief and girlfriend.  He was interviewed on ESPN during the game to hype the Chase and he even called a touchdown during the radio broadcast. 

He referred to the “’Skins” several times during the broadcast and identified the “Hail to the Redskins” team song following a touchdown.  On Twitter before the Bristol race he wrote to his 752,000 followers about the upcoming “Skins” game, which touched off numerous tweets and retweets about the “Redskins” from his followers.  The NASCAR media even got in on the act. 
And that’s the problem.  Many Native Americans – many Americans for that matter -- find the “Redskins” name and logo offensive and demeaning. 
With the start of the professional football season a little more than a week away, the controversy surrounding the use of the “Redskins” name has reached new heights.  It was touched off in part by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office cancelling the team’s trademark, saying federal law does not permit registration of trademarks that “may disparage” individuals or groups.  Team owner Daniel Snyder says he’ll appeal the ruling, and the trademark remains in place while that’s underway.
But that hasn’t stopped a host of sports figures - including NFL announcers Tony Dungy and Phil Simms - from taking a stance that they will no longer use the word “Redskins” when referring to the Washington football team.  Fifty Senators signed a letter to the NFL asking for a name change.  When’s the last time 50 Senators agreed on anything?   The Washington Post says it will no longer use the “slur” on its editorial pages.
Not everyone is in agreement, however.   Former player and current broadcaster Mike Ditka was especially outspoken in defense of the nickname.
“What’s all the stink over the Redskin name?” he asked.  “It’s so much horse shit it’s incredible. We’re going to let the liberals of the world run this world. It was said out of reverence, out of pride to the American Indian. Even though it was called a Redskin, what are you going to call them, a Brownskin? This is so stupid it’s appalling, and I hope that owner keeps fighting for it and never changes it, because the Redskins are part of American football history, and it should never be anything but the Washington Redskins. That’s the way it is.”
“It’s all the political correct idiots in America, that’s all it is.”
Ditka may have come on stronger than most, but he isn’t alone.  Announcer Jim Nantz says he doesn’t want to take a stance.  Troy Aikman says he will continue to use the term.
So why can’t Earnhardt Jr.?
Because, like it or not, Earnhardt Jr. is the most visible face of NASCAR.  And despite NASCAR’s attempts to diversify, it is still a mostly southern, white, male sport.  To have its most popular and recognizable driver using what many consider to be a racial slur on Twitter and national television is not in the best interest of the sport.  Call it being politically correct if you want, but that’s the way it is.  He’s also a leader and by simply not using the word, will help lead the movement away from it.
I know this position won’t be popular with many NASCAR fans or racing fans in general. Heck, it’s divisive among the general public.   And I’m not for a second saying Earnhardt Jr. or anyone else who uses the nickname is a racist.  I understand and believe people when they say they use the word as a tribute and respect to heritage.  But, to paraphrase the Washington Post, the meaning of words change.  I would never call a Native American a “Redskin” to their face – and I don’t think Earnhardt Jr. would either. I’m saying many Native Americans now find the word insulting and that’s enough for me to try and stop using it.  I hope it’s enough for Dale Jr. too.
He doesn’t need to make a big deal about it, doesn’t need to make any announcement, he just needs to stop using the word.  He seems to use the slang ‘Skins when referring to the team and maybe that’s his way of trying to avoid the “Redskins” reference.  But that’s not enough.  Simply refer to the team as Washington in the future. 
He can follow the lead of former NFL official Mike Carey, who asked the league to stop assigning him to Washington games back in 2006.  Carey, the first African-America official to work a Super Bowl, never said a word about it until a reporter asked him directly last week.  He responded with the most elegant words I’ve heard on the subject.
“Everybody has to look inside themselves and decide what is the right thing for them,” Carey told the Washington Post.
“In America, we’ve learned that respect is the most important thing that you have. I learned it from my parents, my schools, from my faith. And when you learn there’s something that might not be as respectful as you like, when you come to terms with it, you have to do something about it.
“It just became clear to me that to be in the middle of the field, where something disrespectful is happening (the team logo), was probably not the best thing for me.
“Human beings take social stances,” he said. “And if you’re respectful of all human beings, you have to decide what you’re going to do and why you’re going to do it.”
It’s time for Earnhardt Jr. to take a stance. 

32 comments:

  1. This is a contrived controversy. Leave Junior out of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right On - fodder for a slow media day.

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Seems like a good topic for the Autp Racing Review! Ridiculous stick to racing. Go Redskins!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Looks like its 5 to zip Dip. When is this country going to stop the 6% of the people telling the other 94 what to do? It would probably be ok if the Chief wore a dress!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't forget the gage earings and high heels! When I think of the Redskins I think of it as a tribute to a badass race of people that should be ohnored by this Mascot and my only shame is for what greedy people did to tham 200 years ago!

      Delete
  5. Call me a "redskin" to my face and I will acknowledge you proudly....because...my skin IS red.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh yeah...btw ......Go "Skins" and Go..Junior!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Go Redskins....this shit needs to stop.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Why is it that every public personality is automatically expected to pick up the Liberal mantra and run with it? This is auto racing, not a Springsteen concert. The man does enough good in the world with his foundation and the things he does for kids. Let him enjoy his past times in peace.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The most offensive part of the name is "Washington". Leave Earnhardt out of this PC BS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You got that right ! This news media in this country is a joke, and now Art Garner is trying to join them. Must be tough to be a lowly pusillanimous NASCAR writer when you could be pontificating on important stuff like a football team name, right Garner? I say you just disappear so racing fans can read about racing when they open Jayski's site. Jayski's should be flogged for letting this fluff onto the morning list.

      Delete
  10. Well there ya go Mr. Garner... you trolled, you get what you were looking for?

    ReplyDelete
  11. My heritage is Native American and really not sure what the big deal is. Leave JR out of it and Hail to the Redskins - what has happened to free speech???

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am offended by your racist use of the word "white" male. It's time you take a stand and drop this offensive term. Simply refer to them as Caucasian in the future.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This "controversy" over the Redskins name is a huge part of everything that is wrong with this country. So many people are on their high horses in an uproar to change the name of the Redskins. But it is only lip service to push their own agendas as being "progressive" and serves no actual purpose. If these disingenuine folks get their wish and the name of the Redskins is changed, what good will actually be done? The answer is none. Native Americans will be in the exact same spot they are now. So instead of pushing hard to get something done that will accomplish exactly nothing, how about helping the Native Americans out? How about doing something, anything to benefit them after centuries of mistreatment of the worst kind. And for the love of God, if we truly care about Native Americans, how about getting Andrew Jackson off one of the most recognizable pieces of American currency!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Are you a racing writer or football writer. Why do you think it is Jr's job to bitch about the REDSKINS name? I guess some media people will go to any extreme to find a platform to get their agendas out there.

    ReplyDelete
  15. When are we going to be forced to change the names of our military helicopters from Apache, Black Hawk, Chinook ,etc. if these using names of these proud Redskin tribes is so bad? Come on people, get a grip. We are proud of all of the good brought about by those of all of heritages, including "Redskins". Go Redskins and go Jr.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Is this a troll article begging for comments or are you really serious? Why would you automatically assume that Dale supports the "change the name" side, or should he just because you do?

    I assume that when Mike Carey commented on the logo being disrespectful, it's from a position of ignorance to the fact that the logo was designed in 1971 by a former President of the National Congress of American Indians and Chairman of the Blackfeet Nation. Or does he think that they SHOULD be offended, whether or not they really are?

    If we try really hard, we can be offended by almost everything we encounter when we step out of our homes. I choose not to be. You, like Mike Carey, don't need my permission to be offended, but emotional decisions disguised as facts should not and will not change anyone's mind.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm Thinkin art garner is one of these extreme lefties of today & I would waste no more time on his thuoghts...This has Nothing to do with Jr except some clown wants to try & drag in another sports figure for his own agenda...Good on ya Choctawman100 & thx...Earner

    ReplyDelete
  18. Seriously? You want to drag Dale Jr into this contrived mess? Leave him alone! . He is a fan of a team. Nothing more. I have a lot of native American ancestry. It is no big deal. I like to hear Indian tribes used. I think it is an honor. Get over yourself.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Other than Dale being a Redskins fan, I don't see how football and auto racing relate. As far as the name "Redskins" being derogatory check this out: http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/002961.html

    ReplyDelete
  20. Never bow down to the PC crowd... others say things that could offend me, do I choose to be offended ...NO!!!.... and so should everyone else. Take pride in what you are and don't use "being offended" as political leverage, it makes you look weak. Picking on Dale about this is a little over the top. I'm with Ditka its part of football history and should be left alone

    ReplyDelete
  21. Why are you trying to drag Jr. into this? What is the name of the team? Yes, it's REDSKINS! Until the owner changes the name of the team, he is doing nothing wrong! Leave him out of this nonsense!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I'm a Steeler fan through and through, but I'm going to go out and buy a Redskins shirt just to show my support for tradition. Get a life people, there are REAL problems in the world to worry about.

    ReplyDelete
  23. What a wuss! Chiefs, Indians, Braves? There are real problems in this world that need solving. Hail to the Redskins.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Thanks everyone for your comments. I appreciate that – for the most part – the responses were civil and obviously heartfelt. As noted, I didn’t expect a lot of support on the topic and unless I missed one, there wasn’t any support.

    Certainly not trolling. This issue is not going away. I was just trying to get out ahead of it.

    One position many of you hold it to just leave Dale Jr. out of it. Wish I could. But when you’re watching one ESPN channel that is carrying on a lengthy discussion about the name of the Washington team and flip to another ESPN channel and see Dale Earnhardt Jr. talking about the ‘Skins, you know it’s a just a matter of time until he is dragged into the issue. He’s a high profile sports figure, the highest profile auto racing sports figure, and it will eventually catch up with him unless he changes his public position.

    I also learned a new word: pusillanimous. “Lacking courage or resolution,” according to Webster. Thanks for that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pusillanimous another correct term to describe our libtard supreme leader

      Delete
  25. "But when you’re watching one ESPN channel that is carrying on a lengthy discussion about the name of the Washington team and flip to another ESPN channel and see Dale Earnhardt Jr. talking about the ‘Skins, you know it’s a just a matter of time until he is dragged into the issue."

    Well, there's your problem right there Art. Why in the world would one *want* to watch ESPN? (besides when one's favorite sports team is on - or NASCAR)

    "This issue is not going away."

    Uh, it would if libtards would just... Let. It. Go!

    Good grief, Mike Ditka was right. Non-issue.

    ReplyDelete