Roxanne Jones, a founding editor of ESPN, writes at CNN that she is pleased that President Barack Obama has weighed in on the controversy surrounding the name of the Washington Redskins. His recent suggestion that the owner consider changing the team’s name could help end a long and divisive debate that has raised concerns about racism.
The audience was tense. Tempers were heated. Tears were seen and blows were nearly thrown. We needed a referee.
This was not the pre-fight press conference weigh-in for a Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao boxing match. It was a panel discussion between African-American and Native American journalists from across the country to consider whether the Washington Redskins name was racist. But the conversation at the Unity Journalists of Color convention, which included more than 6,000 media professionals, got nowhere.
Black journalists accused their Native American counterparts of showing racist videos during the panel of ranting black fans cheering for their beloved football team, including extensive video of the team’s then-beloved, now maligned Chief Zee, the African-American man (Zema Williams) who’s been the team’s unofficial mascot for 35 years…
So it was refreshing earlier this week to hear President Obama, the nation’s commander in chief and a sports fan, weigh in saying he’d think about changing the name if he were the owner of the team.
“I don’t know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real legitimate concerns that people have about these things. … I don’t want to detract from the wonderful Redskins fans that are here. They love their team and rightly so,” the president said to The Associated Press.
Read Roxanne Jones’ entire piece at CNN.
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