There may be hope that common sense and courage are making a comeback in the nation's capital. How else to explain the appearance of this statement in the Washington Post: “For some people, the word 'Redskins' has lost all of its vicious old meaning and represents their beloved Sonny Jurgensen and Billy Kilmer; for others it's a hate term. Personally, I find it distasteful in all contexts. But how is a bureaucracy supposed to effectively arbitrate its real' meaning without a lot of unintended consequences and restrictions?”
With that question, sportswriter Sally Jenkins cuts to the heart of the Redskins issue.The Redskins name controversy is not about discrimination, it's about power, pure and simple. Power, that is, for PC bullies to impose their view of what everybody else should and should not be permitted to say. The latest salvo from the bullies came from U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO), which cancelled six Redskin trademarks.
|The claim that having an NFL team named 'Redskins' perpetuates discrimination is a politically motivated pretext for nullifying the First Amendment.|
It is preposterous to claim that anybody in America watching the Redskins on any given Sunday is doing so while savoring the horrors of Wounded Knee or lamenting Custer's death at Little Big Horn. If they are Redskin fans, they are wondering if their team will ever again win a Super Bowl or when RGIII might learn how to stay in the pocket and survive. Given the sad state of public education in this country, it is the rare man on the street these days with any historical understanding of the significance of the Battle of Horseshoe Bend, the Trail of Tears or where Sitting Bull spent his final years.
This reality is why the claim that the name “Redskins” perpetuates discrimination is a politically motivated pretext for nullifying the First Amendment and handing control over speech to politicians and bureaucrats in the nation's capital. As Jenkins noted, the escalating tactics being used against the Redskins in recent months increasingly involve application of the full force of the federal government, including threatened prosecution by the FCC and the prospect of the IRS revoking the team's tax exemption.
Note, too, that both of the threats mentioned by Jenkins can also be exercised against the NFL so long as it doesn't force Dan Snyder to cower before the PC bullies and do their bidding. The same is true of radio and television broadcasters. After that will come threats of official retaliation if ESPN anchors ever again mutter the word “Redskin” during "SportsCenter."
Surely, the Washington Post, which called the PTO decision "a victory for tolerance," will at some point be forced to expunge the word “Redskin” from its digital archives. If recent history teaches anything, it is that the habitually offended won't stop being offended until it is illegal to utter the word “Redskin” in any public forum and indeed is entirely erased from historical memory. As Soviet citizens sadly joked, the future is known, it's the past that keeps changing.
Dan Snyder may not be the ideal NFL owner, but he can strike a blow for the First Amendment and the rule of law by standing up to the PC bullies. He shouldn’t have to do it alone.