Just nine months after media and real estate mogul Mortimer Zuckerman praised the tradition-rich name of the Washington Redskins football team, which he and his partner once part-owned, his New York Daily News has sacked it from their pages, calling the word a "slur."
In November, Zuckerman suggested that the slur was the word "Washington," not "Redskins," which a new poll found 71 percent support for.
But his paper slammed it.
“Enormously popular and deeply ingrained in sporting culture, the Redskins name is a throwback to a vanished era of perniciously casual racial attitudes. No new franchise would consider adopting a name based on pigmentation — Whiteskins, Blackskins, Yellowskins or Redskins — today. The time has come to leave the word behind,” said the newspaper.
In November, Daily News Publisher Zuckerman had a totally different view of the team he helped one-time friend Daniel Snyder buy in 1999 for $800 million.
In a Washington Post interview, Zuckerman, who with partner Fred Drasner coughed up enough cash to help Snyder make the deal, said he made tons of money off his investment and has no problem with the name Redskins.
“I was an original investor in Snyder Communications, and I did very well with that. (Redskins owner Daniel Snyder) was, therefore, a partner of mine on some level. He said, ‘I need you because otherwise the NFL won’t approve my acquisition.’ He didn’t have the net worth, and I guess I did. So that’s why I was in that,” said Zuckerman. He added, “Yeah, I made money on it.”
Asked about the name and the controversy swirling around it, he said, “You have to be empathetic to people who are insulted by the name, and I certainly am. But it’s been such a part of Washington for so long, I don’t think it has the sort of implication, the denigration or the diminution that some people might suggest. And my view is, if you want to change the name because of that, take out the name Washington.”
In their story about ending the use of “Redskins,” the Daily News never mentioned Zuckerman’s brief ownership of the team.
Disclosure: Paul Bedard’s last job was with Zuckerman’s U.S. News & World Report.Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.