NYT Sports Columnist: Redskins Name Change ‘Has To Start With Us In The Media’

Like the steady beat of a drum, the liberal media’s war on the Washington Redskins’ name continues. On Saturday’s CBS This Morning, co-anchor Vanita Nair broached the topic during a discussion with The New York Times sports columnist Bill Rhoden. Nair asked if the Redskins might really change their name, and Rhoden replied with certitude, “Oh, they’re going to change it. And I think it has to start with us in the media.”

So it’s the media’s job to pressure professional sports teams into changing their names? Rhoden repeated his brash call to liberal activist journalism: [See video below the break.]
 

"There will be legislation; eventually the name is going to be changed, but I think that it has to start with us in the media to just stop using the name."
 

Wow. Rhoden actually wants legislation to compel the Redskins, a privately-owned venture, to change their name. That would be government coercion on the level of ObamaCare. But as it stands right now, it’s up to owner Daniel Snyder to change the name, and he has said he doesn’t want to change it.

To those who follow the liberal media, it’s not news that they are fans of political correctness. But it’s a little jarring to hear a journalist talk as if it is the media’s job to force political correctness onto one particular organization, possibly under penalty of law. What happened to just reporting on the facts?

Rhoden made it crystal clear how he felt about the Redskins’ name:
 

"[T]he name has outlived its usefulness. I mean, we all realize it’s not appropriate, some people are offended, and we have to move on. There’s only one person who doesn't realize it, and he owns the team."
 

He talks as if Snyder is the only one who doesn’t want to change the name. There have been differently-worded polls that have produced conflicting results as to whether Native Americans, or the public at large, want a name change. However, there have not been any polls that show overwhelming opposition to the name ‘Redskins.’ The Dan Snyder-versus-the-world picture that Rhoden paints is not accurate.

This was not the first time Rhoden mixed sports with liberal activism. Last December, he expressed his wish that the NFL would ban its players from owning guns. In April 2011, he called for the NBA to suspend Kobe Bryant for Game 1 of a playoff series after Bryant mouthed the “gay F-bomb” at a referee.

Below is a transcript of the October 26 segment:
 

VANITA NAIR: I want to talk to you about the other controversy right now involving the Washington Redskins' name. Where is this right now? I mean, is there a possibility they really could be changing this name?

BILL RHODEN, New York Times sports columnist: Oh, they’re going to change it. And I think it has to start with us in the media. Probably for the last 10 years I’ve not used it in a column. And I think that whether it’s here or wherever else, I think once we stop using that name and we recognize it's a racist name, I think that is what's going to resonate. There will be legislation; eventually the name is going to be changed, but I think that it has to start with us in the media to just stop using the name.

NAIR: Well, I think the fact that Oneida Indian officials will meet with NFL officials next week in New York City is a good indication that this is happening.

RHODEN: Oh no, it’s going to happen. This has become sort of the movement for a lot of young people of this generation who have gotten radio campaigns, Internet campaigns, because you know it’s just – the name has outlived its usefulness. I mean, we all realize it’s not appropriate, some people are offended, and we have to move on. There’s only one person who doesn't realize it, and he owns the team.

ANTHONY MASON: Well, but his neighbor has registered a trademark for Washington Bravehearts for use – for entertainment and the nature of football games. Do you think there’s a tie here?

RHODEN: Good luck with that. (Laughter) Let's come up with something else.

MASON: You don't like that one, huh?

RHODEN: Nah, I don't like that one.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.