CNN Pundit Says Americans Would Vote to Keep Black People 'In the Field'

CNN regular LZ Granderson said on Thursday's Erin Burnett OutFront that "black people would still be out in the field" if Americans had a choice. It wasn't the only wacky statement made on the show.

"I'm sure black people, if they were put to a vote, black people would still be out in the field. So, let's not talk about morality put up to a vote," Granderson said during a debate about the NFL mascot "Redskins."

This is the same columnist who said the 2012 GOP presidential candidates were not "fighting for" the "religious freedom" of "Muslims and mosques."

Granderson also wrote last year in a CNN.com op-ed that Rick Santorum's "homophobic" rhetoric "justifies, for some people, the bullying in school, the senseless beatings of people perceived to be gay and the under-reported murders of transgender people."

Granderson added in that column that "Like those drug dealers, I'm sure he can't see how he [Santorum] destroys his community. And like those drug dealers, what Santorum is pushing is addictive, poisonous and a trigger to violence we see all around us."

Below is a transcript of the segment, which aired on OutFront on August 8 at 7:47 p.m. EDT:

ERIN BURNETT: And now, our 7th story OutFront: rename the Redskins. That's the message at least from Slate. It's an online magazine. It announced today that it's no longer going to use the name "Redskins" when referring to Washington's NFL team. They say it's not only tacky and dated, but an insult to Native Americans, saying it, quote, "reflects an admirable willingness to acknowledge others who once were barely visible to the dominant culture and to recognize that's something that may seem innocent to you may be painful to others.

So, is time for a name change? Syndicated radio host Michael Medved joins us, along with commentator L.Z. Granderson, and Mediaite's Joe Concha. Joe, you're sitting with me, so let me start with you. Does Slate have a point? I mean, I have to say, I grew up a couple of hours southeast of Washington. The Redskins was my team. You grow up like that. You don't always think about – you don't think about these things necessarily. Does Slate have a point though that it can be very harmful to others? Time to change?

JOE CONCHA, Mediaite: The fans and you were a fan. The fans down in the D.C. area, 8 in 10 in a "Washington Post" poll say, don't change the name. These are people that buy jerseys. These are the people that buy tickets. Daniel Snyder paid $800 million for this team 15 years ago. He has the right to say whether this team should be called the Redskins or not. So if the fans are voting right now, they're saying don't touch a thing.

BURNETT: So, L.Z., Joe has an interesting point about Dan Snyder who bought this team. He's making the point, it was worth nearly a billion dollars a long time ago. This is one very valuable franchise. Dan Snyder says he's never going to change the name and the commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, wrote a letter back in June to lawmakers and he said, "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 which stands for strength, courage, pride and respect." Political correctness is good. Political correctness gone wild is bad. Is this that?

L.Z. GRANDERSON, senior writer, ESPN: Absolutely not. This isn't about political correctness. This is about morality. You know, he talked about fans respecting the history and the NFL embracing the history of that name.

And, you know, they always seem to stop at the players. They never really stop at the actual – you know, how that name came about. The owner of the Washington team was an avowed racist. His NFL team was the last team to become integrated. And he had to be forced to do so by the NFL commissioner as well as the Kennedy administration. So, when you think about the fact that you know this name came from the fact that they used to skin Native Americans and refer to the pelt as Redskins and you think about the man who picked the name is a racist, I don't see how you can be proud of that heritage in its entirety.

BURNETT: Michael, what do you say?

MICHAEL MEDVED, radio host: Well, look, I am a big supporter of the Cleveland Indians, the Atlanta Braves or even the Kansas City Chiefs because those are reputable kinds of names. They don't have a judgment to them. They don't have an edge to them.

But the term "redskins" has an insulting edge. I don't see why Dan Snyder wouldn't change it. The problem that he would have and it should be his choice absolutely. He paid the money. But the problem he would have is what do you call the Washington team? You can't call them the senators because that would imply a team that never gets the ball down the field. It's just stuck perpetually at the line of scrimmage. And somehow I don't think that the "battling bureaucrats" is going to do it either for a Washington team.

CONCHA: And, Michael, I don't know where you stop, right? You know, in other words, maybe we should talk about changing the New York Jets and their name because jets cause pollution, and pollution causes global warming –

(Crosstalk)

GRANDERSON: I cannot believe that you are marginalizing this conversation. I can't believe you are marginalizing this conversation.

CONCHA: Well, no, no, L.Z., the Vikings and the Raiders, they used to pillage just for fun, they have blood on their hands. Why don't we change the Vikings and Redskins also? 70 high schools in this country have Redskins as their name. Are you going to pay for the change in uniforms when athletic programs --

GRANDERSON: That's what it is about. That's ultimately what it is about. It's about dollars and cents!

(Crosstalk)

MEDVED: Look, it is about dollars and cents but the fact is that if Dan Snyder, seriously, I don't think there are any Redskins fans who won't come to his games if he changes the name of the team. And seriously, to insist that somehow this is not an insult – I mean, you wouldn't have the Detroit black skins. That wouldn't be permitted. You wouldn't appreciate the San Francisco yellow skins.

It is meant as an insult that is really based upon skin color and really, we should – ultimately they're going to change the name. We might as well do it cheerfully.

(Crosstalk)
 
CONCHA: One more point. You know, Doug Williams was the first black quarterback to ever play in a Super Bowl. He's also now the only black quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl.

When I think about the heritage of the Redskins, I can't go back to the '30s and I don't know whether – I take L.Z. obviously at his research and his word that he probably was a racist, but when I think of the Redskins, I think of George Allen, the "Over the Hill Gang," John Riggins, and most of all I think of Doug Williams, the only black quarterback to ever win a Super Bowl. Modern history is what I care about, not what some guy did back in the '30s and what kind of person he was.

BURNETT: Final word to you, L.Z.

GRANDERSON: Well, you know, it's very convenient to be able to dismiss it that way, but if you actually think about, as I said before, where this name came from. No one is saying you should dismiss the franchise's history. But you're looking at the name. You're looking at where that name came from.

And for you to marginalize that and jokingly talk about why not eliminate the Jets, when we know there was genocide commented and to continue to have the capital of the United States have a team with a racial slur as its mascot's nickname, it's not about political correctness. It's about morality and it just seems to be immoral to continue to do that.

CONCHA: Also not what the fans want, L.Z., as well. And eight in 10 say don't change it.

GRANDERSON: I'm sure black people, if they were put to a vote, black people would still be out in the field. So, let's not talk about morality put up to a vote.

CONCHA: Like Darrell Green, a black cornerback for the Redskins who said don't change it.

MEDVED: The basic point is if people don't like the name, they can stop buying the Redskins gear and they can stop going to the games, and maybe some people will.

BURNETT: They could make the point that way. All right. Well, thanks very much to all three of you and, of course, to our viewers. Please let us know what you think and take to Twitter.
 

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014