Which is not to say that the name Redskins isn’t offensive, dated and dumb. It is.
However if all you’re going to do is rehash the same stuff everybody else has been bitching about for months – and with zero chance of having even the slightest effect – why bother?
Okay, it’s a Mary Sanchez column…
Let’s take a closer look.
For starters, when wading into a subject that’s been beaten half to death, it’s a good idea to try and bring something new to the table. Sanchez missed that boat by a country mile in yesterday’s column in the Star, “Washington NFL Team Should Follow KC Trend.”
Because clearly the facts don’t support Sanchez contention that the Kansas City Chiefs have cleaned up their act and are following a politically correct path.
Here’s how Sanchez frames her contention that today’s Chiefs are taking the high road:
“Years ago, our NFL franchise made the decision to stop offending the dignity of those native people, past, present and future,” she writes. “The Kansas City Chiefs chose to quit using cartoonish depictions of native people. The team’s management dropped the pretense that it was ‘honoring’ cultures it knew little about with hokey mascots, skits and ‘Indian’ themed paraphernalia.”
“The changes in K.C. don’t mean that all the Chiefs’ fans have gotten the memo,” she continues. “Show up at the stadium on any game day and you’ll see a few drunken fools with painted faces and ersatz Plains Indian war bonnets, whooping sounds they believe to be ‘native.’ But the Chiefs organization stopped encouraging them.”
Hold it right there…
“They’re still doing all that stuff, people really love that tomahawk chop,” says a Chiefs season ticket holder who asked not to be named. “They still chop and the Chiefs still play that phony Hollywood indian music.”
So much for the team not encouraging a “few drunken fools.”
For years the biggest criticism leveled at the Chiefs by indian groups has centered on the controversial tomahawk chop – chanted and acted out by fans and encouraged by the team which provides a “war chant” music bed to chop to.
Google “war chant” and “Chiefs” and you’ll find dozens of examples, including from a number games at Arrowhead last year.
And it’s not like Sanchez is unfamiliar with the Chiefs history with the chop.
“The Chiefs were criticized last season by American Indians who found the arm-swinging movement offensive,” she wrote in a September 1992 column headlined, Out with the chop.
“The chop is getting the ax,” Sanchez wrote, adding that the Chiefs would no longer provide the “war chant beat” fans used to chop to.
Yet by early October, the Chiefs flip-flopped and brought the chop back via a full page ad in Kansas City Star explaining the team’s rationale:
” In the open letter, Chiefs officials said, ‘No one meant any disrespect when doing the chop. And, if no offense is intended, why then must offense be taken?'” Seminole indian chief Michael Haney told the Star.
filed a complaint against the Chiefs with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights at the time.
“They are not going to get away with it,” Haney added. “Tomorrow, we will be at the United Nations and point out that they have to look no further than the Kansas City Chiefs’ move this weekend to reflect the attitude we have faced for 500 years.”
Back to the “drunken fools with painted faces and ersatz Plains Indian war bonnets, whooping sounds they believe to be native” Sanchez says today’s Chiefs now discourage…
She must have missed the team’s “Game Day Activities,” for the Colts home game last December which were reported in advance by the Chiefs on kcchiefs.com:
“Monte Short, also known as Arrowman, will lead the sea of red in the war chant in as the honorary drum leader.”
There you have it, totally busted!
Arrowman has paraded around Chiefs home games for years in his ersatz indian getup festooned with indian themed arrows. And he was hand picked by the Chiefs to lead the war chant and egg on the rest of the heathens and lead the crowd n doing tomahawk chop while the Chiefs provided the silly war chant.
Raising the question, has Sanchez ever even been to a Chiefs game?
Or perhaps bothered to Google “war chant” or tomahawk chop or taken a gander at the Chiefs website? Guess not.
And what’s the point of re-reporting that the Chiefs name was reportedly based on former KC Mayor H. Roe Bartle?
Because from Day One the team employed cartoon indians in its marketing and on the cover of the team’s early programs. Combined with a fake indian mascot riding a horse named Warpaint and cheerleaders pounding on a giant, faux indian tom-tom.
If the Chiefs truly wanted to honor Roe Bartle, they’d have hired a super fat white guy in a baggy suit and hat and stationed him down on the sidelines pounding away on a desk.
So let’s dispense with the pretense that the Chiefs are honoring Native American culture by steering clear of “hokey mascots” and “Indian themed paraphernalia.” Because the fact of the matter is that Sanchez’ hometown team continues to flip-flop and talk out of both sides of its mouth when it comes to honoring Native Americans.
And while that’s a far cry from the use of the word “Redskins,” it also flies in the face of Sanchez assertion about the team making a “decision to stop offending the dignity of those native people.”
Let’s not be in such a rush to point fingers and pat ourselves on the back for being so politically correct.