On Wednesday evening, Rick Reilly published a defense of the Washington Redskins' team name, basically arguing that "Native Americans don't care, so why should anyone else?"
Branching out from a sample size of one, his father-in-law, Reilly provides examples of Native Americans who are not particularly offended by the use of the term Redskins, writing that, "White America has spoken. You aren't offended, so we'll be offended for you."
And even though an Annenberg Public Policy Center poll found that 90 percent of Native Americans were not offended by the Redskins name, and even though linguists say the "redskins" word was first used by Native Americans themselves, and even though nobody on the Blackfeet side of my wife's family has ever had someone insult them with the word "redskin," it doesn't matter. There's no stopping a wave of PC-ness when it gets rolling.
I mean, when media stars like USA Today's Christine Brennan, a white woman from Ohio, and Peter King, a white man from Massachusetts, have jumped on a people's cause, there's no going back.
He later goes on to compare uproar over the Redskins name with atheists offended by the New Orleans Saints and thinking that the Washington Wizards promote paganism. and then he ends on this real doozy:
The 81-year-old Washington Redskins name is falling, and everybody better get out of the way. For the majority of Native Americans who don't care, we'll care for them. For the Native Americans who haven't asked for help, we're glad to give it to them.
Trust us. We know what's best. We'll take this away for your own good, and put up barriers that protect you from ever being harmed again.
Kind of like a reservation.
Reaction from various places was fast and swift. Over at The Huffington Post, Chris Greenberg called Reilly out for " choosing not to engage public comments from [Oneida Nation Representative Ray] Halbritter, [Congressman Tom] Cole and any other Native Americans who find the name of Snyder's team to be offensive."
At Deadspin, Tim Marchman, took issue with the column's final "punchline," noting, "We don't know why he's essentially equating criticism of overtly racist iconography with the forced relocation of entire nations, or how anyone could possibly publish this." Dave Zirin, writing for The Nation, compared the metaphor to "a poop in the pool," saying, "I think I’m just going to let that sit there and speak for itself."