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October 11, 2013

Stop Bullying the Redskins

Harry M. Covert

The assault on Daniel Snyder and the Washington Redskins has gotten a bit much. The vendetta is out of hand and more than just plain silly.


Getting "offended" is becoming a national pastime and many people are just afraid to stand up and say broadly and loudly, "shut up." It's getting sickening.


It's offensive that a man who puts up his own money to buy a commercial enterprise is maligned continually.


I'm writing about Daniel Snyder who has spent tons of money to bring about a championship football team to the Greater Washington area. He has put his faith and professional acumen into bringing in coaches and players and media wizards to help make the National Football League team a winning and commercial success.


Snyder has even expanded his business enterprises to include sports radio stations as well as other interests. Here though we're talking about the Redskins, the team and the name of historical proportions.


Like many others sports fans I received his electronic letter this week explaining his love of the team from childhood, the name, and how he has been hearing the complaints about the name honoring Indian heritage. Yes, an honoring name.


He deserves credit for his efforts. He paid $800 million for the team and 90,000-plus fans attend all home games at FedEx Field, which, by the way, is owned by the Redskins and not taxpayers.


Mr. Snyder has knocked himself out to have a winning team. I haven't noticed him throwing a single pass, playing offense or defense. I have noticed him putting up with players who haven't been honorable with the team or the team owner.


As a boy, I watched Redskin games on Sunday afternoons over the one television station in Tidewater, Virginia. Memory recalls that George Preston Marshall was the owner. In one 1952 game, Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice, faked a punt return and raced for a touchdown. Seems like Eddie LeBaron was the quarterback.


My other favorite Redskins player from those days was Bill Dudley of Lynchburg, VA. The late Mr. Dudley is a College Football Hall of Famer from the University of Virginia, and an NFL Hall of Famer.


Now, the other Redskins great, is quarterback Norm Snead, the All-America from Wake Forest by way of Newport News, VA. The Redskins traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles for the old Duke player, Sonny Jurgensen.


Sensitivity is important to everyone, but Americans have gone overboard more than just somewhat these days. It's a bit sickening. Despite the offensive political nonsense these days, the nation is still the land of the free and home of the brave.


If folks want to really be offended, go spend some time in Somalia, where lawlessness abounds and has become a terrorist haven. Why the free world puts up with this sad-sacked place is offensive.


There of many other offensive Third World countries. It makes no sense that free peoples everywhere aren't offended by the ignorance, the meanness, and constant killings because one tribe doesn't like another. It's not the USA's fault.


Americans need not be ashamed of America’s history. The nation has worked through many bad times to create great times. We may forget it but the rest of the world admires and covets the country which gives everybody, yes everybody, opportunity.


Getting back to the Indian matter, there is still the federal government's Bureau of Indian Affairs. There are Indian enterprises that enjoy success.


People like Harold J. Smith found stardom, financial prosperity through his athletic ability as a lacrosse player and movie actor. Mr. Smith was a Canadian-born Mohawk Indian who became a beloved figure known as Tonto. He changed his name to Jay Silverheels.


Then there is Jim Thorpe, the multi-sport star, Olympian and baseball player. He was treated shabbily but has been given his due.


Not in any way is the suggestion here for Mr. Snyder to rename the Washington Redskins the Smiths, the Silverheels, the Mohawks or the Jim Thorpes. He's kept the team in Virginia, Maryland and D.C.


"Dear Mr. Snyder,


"Thanks for your letter. I agree with you. I grew up as a Redskins fan too, watching the great Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice, Bullet Bill Dudley and quarterback Norm Snead, among others.


"I admire your courage in battling the challengers. Don’t let them bully you and the Redskins.


"The opponents of the name are merely troublemakers who don’t give a one whit about the team. None of them are ticket buyers or advertisers.


"Redskins forever,


"/s/ Harry M. Covert"


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