WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — The Washington Redskins may be staring down the barrel at a name change, so says former Redskin Fred Smoot, who asserts he’s “in the corner of doing what’s right.”
Smoot’s comments to 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier Friday come on the heels of another former Redskins player, Champ Bailey, telling USA Today just days ago the name is ‘degrading’ to Native Americans, and the team’s “got to make a change.”
Bailey’s comments, via USA Today.
“When you hear a Native American say that ‘Redskins’ is degrading, it’s almost like the N-word for a black person,” Bailey told USA TODAY Sports. “If they feel that way, then it’s not right. They are part of this country. It’s degrading to a certain race. Does it make sense to have the name?”
“I don’t know where the name came from or how it came about, but the bottom line is that it’s still here in this day and age, and it makes no sense to have it,” Bailey said. “I love that organization, but when it starts peeling off old scabs and people are pitching a fit about it because it’s degrading to them, then you’ve got to make a change.”
Smoot was asked for his thoughts on everyone — media members, politicians, former players, current players, former coaches, television game show hosts, news anchors, mailmen, the guy who runs the local deli — everyone, being asked for their opinions on the name.
“It’s one of those things, that we’re gonna have to work it out as a group,” Smoot answered. “We’re gonna have to work it out as a Redskin family, we’re gonna have to work it out as a fanbase, we’re gonna have to work it out as a nation.”
“It’s not for me to say whether if it’s right or wrong, because I went out there and I represented those colors, and I know how it feels to be a Redskin, but I can’t step on anybody else’s toes and say what offends them and doesn’t offend them; I just think we should all come together and come to a resolution that’s gonna make everybody happy,” he said.
Asked how both sides could go about reaching a resolution that would make all parties involved happy, Smoot said it starts with having a conversation.
“We need to all sit down and talk about it,” he said. “If it’s offensive to one person, that’s all that matters. And we’re talking, not just one person, we’re talking about a whole culture here. So we need to sit down as adults and understand that we can come up with a resolution, and we have to look at it as Redskins fans and think about it; we might be looking at a name change. It’s not the end of the world.”
“Are you of the belief they should change the name?” he was asked directly.
“This is what I’m saying: we have a group of people — an ethnic group of people — coming out saying ‘this is offensive to us,'” Smoot said. “Alright?”
“It doesn’t matter who it doesn’t offend,” he insisted. “Yea, it doesn’t offend the people that’s not part of the ethnic group. So, like I said, I am from Mississippi. My daddy is a half Indian. I’m one-fourth Indian. So I can’t even say I understand the full logistics of it, but I’m in the corner of doing what’s right, and I always will be.”