In recent years, the biggest story surrounding the Washington Redskins has taken place off the field. Dan Snyder, quickly making his claim of being the worst owner in modern sports, has been embroiled in a public battle over the offensiveness of the team’s name. A less-idiotic businessman would, after some public hand-wringing, have changed the name to something inoffensive, and then cashed in on the flood of new merchandise sales, multiplying good publicity with a tidy profit. Instead, he has bitterly clung to the name, in the face of outrage and protests from every corner of the country.
Recently The Daily Show ran a segment where fans of the team who were against a name change participated in a roundtable discussion where they presented arguments for keeping the name. During the panel, they were interrupted by a group of Native Americans that The Daily Show had brought in, and the ensuing discussion went about as well as you would expect given that one side’s entire argument is based off nostalgia, one of the more dangerous emotions to productive discourse. While the segment was interesting, there seemed to be a more compelling story lurking beneath the surface, and an account of the day’s panel and the following day’s trip to the team’s game from one of the Native Americans who participated in the show seems to bear that out:
There were points during that hour-long experience where I actually was afraid for my life. I have never been so blatantly threatened, mocked or jeered. It was so intense, so full of vitriol that none of the footage ended up being used in the segment. I’m a big dude—6’1”, and a lotta meat on the bones. But a blonde little wisp of a girl completely freaked me out as I waited in line for the bathroom. “Is that shirt supposed to be funny?” she asked motioning to my satirical “Caucasians” T-shirt. And then she said, “I’ll fucking cut you.” Actually, she didn’t scare me so much as the wannabe linebackers standing behind her who looked like they wanted to make good on her threat.
View The Daily Show’s segment at Comedy Central.
Read the entire story at the Missoula Independent’s site.