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Roger Goodell & Daniel Snyder: Jackasses

Many of us have little patience with the school of thought collectively known as PC, which tends to use collective outrage to enforce conformity of expression.

Many of the tenured proponents of this school of thought rebelled against the conformity of the 1950s and early '60s and supported the Free Speech movement which came out of Berkeley, so the irony of their pulling up the intellectual drawbridge after becoming entrenched on the inside of the Ivory Tower is rich.

Life is fluid and complex and ill-served by rigidity. However, that's not to say that everything which is labeled PC is inherently wrong. Take for instance the controversy over the Washington Redskins.

That Americans grew up with the name, that many of us from the DC corridor down through the Carolinas have a deep and abiding attachment to this team, that the logo and colors are iconic - none of this matters much.

What difference does it make if Roger Goodell and the dreadful Daniel Snyder, who could certainly use a turn in charm school, think that it's acceptable?

Snyder certainly has no trouble perceiving bigotry when he thinks it's aimed at him: when the Washington City Paper used this image in an article critical of the Washington owner in 2011, he sued for $2 million, claiming anti-semitism.

Potraying Jews as satanic is an old game and Snyder probably had a point, although Washington fans, who have watched him run the team into the ground, may be forgiven for associating him with Old Scratch. And despicable though it might be, anti-semitism is as protected by free speech as is anything else: either you can say what you want, and take the consequences, or you might as well quit pretending to be free.

His blind spot about his own lack of awareness is not just annoying; it's obtuse.

The point though is that Snyder got to decide for himself what was anti-semitic. It's not like roving mobs of Kiowas and Comanches shouted him down and said that that image was perfectly fine and time-honored and they'd never give it up.

Which is exactly what Snyder did to every Native American who objects to the name and imagery. Whether or not it's racist is really up to them, not Snyder.

Goodell piled on  earlier this month when he contributed this: "The Washington Redskins name has...from its origin represented a positive meaning distinct from any disparagement that could be viewed in some other context For the team’s millions of fans and customers, who represent one of America’s most ethnically and geographically diverse fan bases, the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect."

Well, yes, Roger, way to get customers in there: the Redskins are a moneymaking machine and the logo is part of that. And in Washington's defense, it's not nearly as offensive as Cleveland's logo or Atlanta's old Chief_Noc-A-Homa, mercifully (if for less than noble reasons) retired since the 1980s.

But what about the people it disparages? And what about children who are brought up to embrace the name but who don't understand that it is a 19th century slur which has had terrible consequences? Why perpetuate it into the 21st?

It's not about Political Correctness, not really. It's simpler than that. It's just about decency. It's not a decent name and a decent man - which Snyder evidently is not - would respect that.

Anyone who grew up a Washington fan has an emotional connection with the name Redskins and the logo, but it's time to let it go.

Now if Snyder could leave town and take the name with him, that would be the perfect solution.