We should put aside concerns about crime, decrepit schools, perpetual parking and traffic chaos and an unending series of corruption scandals in the District of Columbia government. The D.C. Council is poised to decide what a private business should call itself.
David Grosso, an "independent" at-large councilman, says he will introduce a resolution demanding that Dan Snyder change the name of his Washington Redskins to the "Washington Redtails," presumably to honor the Tuskegee Airmen, the black fighter pilots who wrote tales of heroism across the skies above World War II battlefields. The tails of their planes were painted red, and they terrorized the enemy like a linebacker going after a running back.
Mr. Grosso, a composer yet, says the team's popular anthem can be easily modified — "Hail to the Redtails" — and "you can still keep the feather." Hooray. But if "Redskins" demeans Indians, why wouldn't "Redtails" demean fighter pilots?
The first-term councilman doesn't appear to have any particular connection to football. His official biography reveals him to have been a public relations executive at CareFirst BlueCross/BlueShield, where he "provided in-depth analysis" of Obamacare for his employers, and for a time served on the staff of an earlier councilman. Mr. Grosso might not know that "Redskins," as they have been called for 80 years, was actually adopted to honor its second coach, Lone Star Dietz, who was descended from American Indians, before "Indians" became "Native Americans" (which is what most of us are).
Mr. Grosso says Democratic council members Muriel Bowser (Ward 4) and Kenyan McDuffie (Ward 5) have signed up so far for his crusade. This issue bubbles and squeaks from time to time because certain politicians are more concerned with getting their names in the newspapers than with the pain of the masses who are not offended by a name honoring the bravery and fighting spirit of the original Americans. A D.C. councilman's life can be a lonely one.
The Redskins are a private business enterprise, and the owner has the right to call his team whatever he likes. If Mr. Grosso really believes in the cause of municipal propriety, there's much to do within the District Building, where propriety is honored mostly in the breach. A manufactured controversy over the name of a football team is a convenient way to direct attention away from scandal and sordid behavior. He should leave the management of the Redskins to those who actually know what they're doing.
The Washington Times
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