At the NFL combine today, Sam Bradford, who is 1/16 Cherokee, was asked if he would prefer the quarterback-bereft Redskins not draft him.
(If Bradford was full-blooded Cherokee and embraced the culture, would it be?)
Bradford replied, “no.” Earlier the same day he had said, “I’m not going to address that issue,” when the subject was broached.
Doug Farrar of FootballOutsiders.com tweeted that the query was the, “Official dumbest question of the Combine.”
Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST also noted the questions, reporting that, “some Native Americans have been critical of the team’s nickname, calling it derogatory, and have challenged it in legal proceedings.”
I actually don’t think the question was inappropriate.
I’m far from a politically-correct person and don’t have a problem with most Native American sports teams nicknames. But Redskins is one of the few, if only, that is wildly offensive and only continues to exist because of the millions in merch dollars it means to NFL Washington Redskins Owner Dan Snyder.
Snyder and most Redskins fans aren’t racist or deliberately trying to cause harm to the Native American population, but there’s no denying that the team’s nickname is a slur. Though the reality of our culture is that if a brand is long-established, it will be allowed to fly in the face of present-day social mores.
Another example of that is the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED swimsuit issue. The magazine features fully nude women in body paint and implied nudity is the norm, not the exception. But because SI is a venerable institution in our society, it can get away with displaying those images in school libraries and convenience store counters.
Additionally, the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS recently ran a large photo of New York Jets coach Rex Ryan giving an obscene gesture. Because the Daily News is a long-established brand, there was very little reaction to what on its face was an outrageous editorial decision.
If Bradford was full-blooded Cherokee and intimately involved in that culture, I would think that what took place today at the combine wouldn’t termed as “stupid.” There will probably come a day when a full-blooded Native American is once again presented with that dilemma, and I looked forward to it.