WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — John Oliver openly criticized Daniel Snyder for his refusal to change the name of the Washington Redskins on HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” Sunday evening.
Oliver pointed to the “emotionally powerful advertising campaign” which ran in seven major media markets during Game 3 of the NBA Finals last week, to prove the point, it’s becoming “increasingly hard to make a good argument for keeping the Washington Redskins name,” after President Barack Obama, last week, became only the third sitting U.S. president in eight decades to visit a Native American reservation.
From his visit, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced plans to make $70 million available to improve tribal housing conditions, with a portion set aside for mold removal.
Mold removal is where Oliver picked up the conversation
“Actually, there is one other thing the Native Americans wouldn’t mind if we did, and it concerns the football team, for some reason, not yet formally known as the Washington Redskins,” Oliver said. “They still haven’t changed their name, despite the launch, just this week, of a new emotionally powerful advertising campaign.”
It was at this point, Oliver aired the ad which ran during the Finals.
“Wow. For the average American, that ad should tug at one-sixteenth of your heart strings and make the rest feel extremely guilty,” Oliver said. “The strongest possible pushback you can have after watching something amazing like that is, ‘Yea, but … eh, you’re right. You’re right. We’ve got to change the name. You’re right. You’re right.’
“But one person remains unmoved, and unfortunately, he is the only one that matters.”
ESPN footage then aired of Jay Crawford setting up the name conversation, and then, I believe, Hannah Storm reading the following quote from Snyder:
‘Washington Redskins is more than a name we have called our football team for over eight decades. It is a symbol of everything we stand for: strength, courage, pride and respect.’
“Oh, well that’s fine, then,” Oliver came back in. “I had no idea you had an ancient eight-decade history at stake here. You are clearly a proud people who have suffered greatly. Please accept my apologies, oh, Chief Runs Without Moral Compass. It’s getting increasingly hard to make a good argument for keeping the Washington Redskins name. If only there was some emotionally affecting way to convey that.
The segment concluded with a re-worked version of the ad, juxtaposing the Redskins apparent indefensible position with things that can be defended, although it may seem odd to attempt to defend, like Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler, cauliflower being the ‘king of vegetables,’ and camping actually being fun — an ad which concluded with the following line, and an image of a Redskins helmet: “But the one position that can’t be defended, is this:”
Watch the four-minute segment below.