Monday, 14 October 2013

Judging bad taste, Bob Costas style

Dan Snyder Mike Shanahan, the new Executive Vice President and head coach of the Washington Redskins and owner Dan Snyder (L) shake hands before a press conference welcoming Shanahan to the Redskins on January 6, 2010 at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Virginia.
Snyder & Shanahan, when they  thought the situation was under control.

The following is a copy of an email I sent to Shane French, host of Rover's Morning Glory. I've written Rover numerous times, and one of my criticisms of him is his attitude towards American Indian mascots in pro sports.

Yo Rover:

I was wondering why you didn't comment on the remarks of NBC Sports' Bob Costas yesterday night during the Dallas-Washington game. I've always been a huge Cowboys fan and part of being one is our rivalry with Washington. As you may have noticed I've written you before about how our baseball team should change its name and end its legacy of denial. I would say that by ridding the football team of the Redskins nickname we as followers of this rivalry, regardless of which side, would lose a symbolic element of it. 

And so be it. As Costas concluded, "no offense has been intended, but if you take a step back, isn’t it clear to see how offense might legitimately be taken?” After a long meandering monologue, Costas finally made sense. In the past couple years I've been the target of slurs about my own religion and ethnicity on a daily basis, and I've admittedly responded sometimes with the same type of trash talk. Some would say it's racism; I say it's the price of living in a society where the hatred we once hid inside is now a form of self-expression. 

You're usually the type of radio host who says that politics should be left out of sports, but don't hold your breath. The Miracle on Ice, Tebow, John Rocker, and other events or people in sports have always had a significance that transcends X's and O's. Just last year Washington area writer Dave Sheinin wrote a book about Robert Griffin III and his being called Black Jesus by some people. How's that working out.

Every year since I was in elementary school the  important two dates of the year were when we would trade blows with a team that uses imagery of warrior savages blind with rage. They're not using Indian imagery because the Indians helped the Pilgrims or traded furs with colonists. If I turned around and rooted for Chief Wahoo or another Indian themed team, then what objection would I have to the team being called the Cleveland Christkillers? I think that a tradition that is intrinsically painful and degrading towards someone else doesn't really deserve the benefit of the doubt. That might be strange logic to someone who runs cactus soccer contests like you, but try to understand  this side of the argument.

Ramon Epstein

So there you have it, I'm backing up the Arch-Geek of sports commentators, Bob Costas, against that of one of the radio programmes I'm most addicted to. But when you're right you're right, and good for Costas. Unfortunately for Daniel Snyder, Mike Shanahan, RG3, and their cohorts, it's now clear that the great saviour from Baylor isn't enough to compensate for their team's crappy composition. Also, the mascot and name controversy are no longer fringe issues that Snyder can suppress. It's starting to snowball, and in truly ironic fashion the Redskins are being upstaged by the Oneida nation, and Indian tribe that numbers in the tens of thousands. Snyder, who like myself and many of his critics, is Jewish, pledged that he would NEVER change the team name. I'd say that Snyder is fighting for a fake cause with a disgraceful legacy. And I'll keep my eyes open for the next crack in his wall. . .