Necessary Roughness

Necessary Roughness, Week 6: Change the Name and Maybe Your Fate


Necessary Roughness with Dave Brockie

Greetings football fans! First off I must apologize for missing last week’s column. It’s not easy staying on top of our nation’s most treasured sport when you are touring the wilds of western Canada, especially when our satellite doesn’t work (for fucks sake, satellites talk to us from orbit, but I can’t get the Red Zone in Moose Jaw?), you are enduring spotty internet connections (I swear the internet was better in Russia than Western Canada), and you have a blob of infected puke stuck under your contact. And since this column has always been about being a musician as much as it is about the N.F.L. (whether you like it or not) you are gonna get the full story on that last one.

I have been having the worst stomach acid on this tour, and was convinced that my two-month long pre-tour binge of Angry Orchard Ciders had somehow rotted my stomach lining away. Of course this didn’t stop me from ordering the weirdest thing on the menu from the Canadian-Chinese food place, in this case deep-fried chicken embryos in cream-corn sauce. I awoke in my bunk sick to my already acid-filled stomach and barely managed to get to the trash can before I violently hurled into it. What I didn’t know was that there were several holes in the bottom of said trashcan, and vomit spewed all over my legs, feet, and floor. In complete and abject misery, I proceeded to attempt to clean up the mess, gasping and moaning the whole time, and somehow managed to rub a chunk of puke-encrusted pre-birth chicken into my eye. Thinking my ordeal was over, I crawled back into my bunk, only to awake an hour or two later with the eye throbbing in pain. As I attempted to remove the contact lens, I dragged said chunk across the eye, scratching the cornea in the process. Then, as I groped in my backpack for some eyedrops, I firmly impaled my finger on a razor-sharp “Batman Knife” given to me by my good buddy Johnny Chainsaw. Blood spurted from the wound. It was not a good day!

Besides that, the Canadians have their own version of football, which they like better than ours. Barbarians!

So it was a rough first week for writing this column on the road, but the good news is the eye is no longer a pus-filled wormhole, some Prilosec fixed my tummy, and we were back in the states for week five of the N.F.L. The satellite was pumping, the Red Zone was thumping, and I actually had the use of two eyes. I’m back!

But before we get to the action (if we do at all), I have to address a subject that has been getting a ton of attention lately. This column labels me as an “unapologetic Redskins fan” but I have made no secret of my distaste for the team’s name over my many years of supporting the club. This year I had hoped to avoid the subject completely. But thanks to President Obama and Bob Costas, I feel impelled to quickly deliver my take on the latest shit-storm surrounding the name “Redskins.” As I watched the game against the Cowboys yesterday, I wondered if the subject would come up and they lost no time setting up Bob Costas’ dissertation on the subject during halftime. I am proud to say I agreed with every word of it.

It was particularly satisfying to hear him use the same argument I use when confronted by the most vehement proponents of non-change… our society would not tolerate a team called the “Brown-skins”, “Yellow-Skins” or any other color-skins. It is a racial slur to many and I salute Mr. Costas for his big balls. And this is not some PC bullshit… let’s remember who is writing this. But that’s not the biggest reason I am firmly in the camp of change. At this point… HOW COULD IT HURT? Because the Skins suck, and if there was ever a cursed team in the N.F.L. it’s gotta be them (well, there are the Bills). You don’t have to change the whole identity of the team, just get rid of the portion of the name that is genuinely offensive to many. The Washington Warriors? It has a nice ring to it, especially when you think of the Wizards playing just down the road. Think of all the Dungeons and Dragons playing nerds that would be drawn to the sport!

Costas broke it down so well. I almost felt like if the Skins could have beaten the Cowboys then there NEVER would be a chance of changing the name, at least not when Dan Snyder is still alive. Rallying to win a game against their arch-rivals after being accused by one of our nation’s most acclaimed sportscasters of having a name that is a “racial slur” is just the kind of thing that would of made Dan Snyder believe he, much like Moses before him, is firmly set upon the path of the righteous in his slavish support of a term that has been used to insult Native Americans since the western powers began destroying their society so many years ago. Fully aware of the fury I am going to bring upon myself from the Redskins Nation I almost found myself hoping they would lose, and lose they did as special-teams blunders and an obviously struggling RG III fell to the Cowboys, 31-16.

I said I was going to be quick about this. But I lied. Here’s some interesting insight on the subject from Abby Martin, correspondent for RT who hosts an excellent show called “Brainwash Update”. Check it out:

She basically says this: why the hell are we arguing about a stupid name when you look at the appalling conditions that exist on many of the reservations that this country’s original inhabitants were herded onto and then placated with casinos and booze, leading to abject poverty, spiraling violence, and an exploding suicide rate? And while I agree with much of what Abby says, I disagree that the debate is a “whitewash” of more serious issues, or that changing the name would have no effect on the treatment or perception of the continuing plight of many of this country’s original people. It just might bring some attention to the lingering effects of the biggest crime our government has perpetrated since the enslavement of millions of African Americans. It just might show people that in our great country, even the most stubborn corporate FUCK can be caved-in by progressive thought, that despite the scads of cash the “Redskins” name brings in, that we can do something simply because it’s THE RIGHT THING TO DO.

And here’s my last attempt to convince the die-hards that this change is a good one. Jerry Jones, owner of the Skins’ arch-rivals Dallas Cowboys, and “good friend” to Daniel Snyder, has repeatedly counseled Dan Snyder to “stick to his guns” and “never change that name”. Jerry Jones is no fool. He knows that as long as the Skins keep their name it will continue to be a decisive issue and therefore a distraction to the players, coaches, and staff of the Skins, despite what you may hear from people on the Skins’ payroll who are eager to protect their jobs. And anything that is causing this much muddle is bound to sap the focus off the team.

So I ask you, Skins fans, are you gonna trust Jerry Jones’ advice as to the fate of your team, or ME, the most die-hard Skins fan you will ever meet?

O.K., thats all done, and thanks for listening. I promise to spend the rest of the season covering the whole league. But right now, quite frankly, I am a little choked-up. I grew up with the Skins and they are the only sports team I truly love with all my heart. It kills me to see this happening. Lets just DO it. Let it go. And lets become winners again.

But there is a bright side I suppose… I could be a Giants fan!

And now I turn the ball over to my beloved co-writers of this column… you. Game on!

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