Following Washington's statement on Monday that the current team name would be retired, The Washington Post Columnist and ESPN panelist Kevin Blackistone shared his problems with the release on Twitter.
No apology. And given the suggested new names and @PostSports report https://t.co/D6LQQyhFdR that Native people have not been consulted, this is a racist approach to solving a racist problem. https://t.co/TuZR1rTMre— Kevin B. Blackistone (@ProfBlackistone) July 13, 2020
On Monday during an interview on ESPN 92.9FM's Jason & John Show, Blackistone elaborated on the issues he took with the statement.
“My first thought was ‘Where’s the apology?’ My second thought was, ‘This is disingenuous because you still got the letterhead on here with the name just glaring,'" Blackistone said.
Blackistone, who is also a professor at the University of Maryland, had mentioned the non-existent apology in his tweet. The fact that the team name and logo which are being retired were still used in a release describing the change that was coming made him believe that the team truly didn't care. That is something Blackistone feels became even more evident when one considers how the new team name is being chosen.
Among all the options for Washington's moniker -- which is meant to honor the heritage and tradition of the franchise -- that have been considered, Blackistone noted that to his knowledge the Native American community has reportedly not been involved much in the decision.
"And my third thought was, ‘What do you have to say about the name that you’re considering given that you haven’t even given voice to, or given an ear to, the native folks who you’ve insulted since buying the team 21 years ago and having the opportunity to do this before,'" Blackistone said.
Blackistone was not along in taking issue with the statement. The Sports Junkies felt it answered no questions, ESPN's Michael Wilbon called it "annoying" and "tone-deaf" and ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio saw it as "one final act of defiance" by team owner Dan Snyder.
The combination of all the missing elements from the statement made it less impactful for Blackistone. Despite it being a big moment, there wasn't much to take away from the team's announcement.
That's something that Blackistone believes comes from the reasoning behind the name change in the first place. Washington has heard the backlash about the name for years, but it wasn't until big-name sponsors took issue that impacted the monetary situation of the league that real moves were made. Blackistone sees that as a symbol that Snyder's decision to change the name has nothing to do with right vs. wrong.
“There’s nothing altruistic about what’s going on," Blackistone said about Snyder. "He’s being forced at the point of bayonets to change the team.”
“Basically sponsors, not individual team sponsors, but sponsors for the team via the NFL," Blackistone said. "Which means, now it’s just not your pockets, but the other 31 owners pockets that are starting to be hurting. That’s why the move is being made."
All Blackistone had to do to understand Snyder's true opinion on the name change is look back to what the owner has said about the situation in the past. The only difference to Blackistone now is that if Snyder continued to speak in the same manner, some believe it would result in Snyder losing the team.
“This is a guy who seven years ago infamously said he would never change the name, and you could put ‘never’ in caps," Blackistone said. Well, never has come home to roost and he’s either got to change the name or get out of the league.”
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