Phil Jackson has never been a man afraid to speak his mind. He's the type to make his thoughts known, popular or not. That's why it should surprise no one that the New York Knicks president didn't mind speaking against the Washington Redskins' name.
New York Knicks president Phil Jackson is taking a stand. Many sports personalities have refrained from commenting on the situation concerning the Washington Redskins and the use of their name. Most have left that up to the courts and Native Americans to argue about.
However, Jackson isn't one of them. He's against Redskins owner Dan Snyder and with those protesting the team’s name. He's one who hasn't been afraid to barrow from the Native American culture and doesn't want to see a slur used to represent a professional team.
proud of Demonstrators at Vikings game yesterday. Keep the pressure on Snider. He just doesn't get it.— Phil Jackson (@PhilJackson11) November 4, 2014
Putting his lack of correct spelling of Snyder aside, at least he was brave enough to make his feelings known. Besides, knowing the Zen Master's tactics, he may have misspelled the Washington owners' name wrong as a slight towards him. If so, well played sir.
That being said, it's not much of a surprise that Jackson is sensitivity about this subject. It's even less surprising that he's chosen to be outspokenness about it.
It's understandable that Snyder, a life long fan of the team, would not want to change Washington's name. It's all he's known his entire life and he's living the dream of owning his favorite team. He doesn't want to be the one to change its name.
That being said, right is right. The simple fact is, the name is a slur. Even if it has been accepted so long that it doesn't bother most people doesn't mean it's right.
Most Native Americans are proud to have professional teams represent them. After all, names such as the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians, Golden State Warriors and the Washington Redskins were chosen because of the positive qualities of Native Americans. They represent bravery, honor, strength and courage.
However, to tarnish those positive qualities by using a slur to represent them is not acceptable and should not be tolerated regardless of team tradition. Hopefully, Jackson’s platform helps bring that to light.
The sad part is Snyder could make this change minimal and keep everyone happy. He could keep the same team colors, uniforms and helmets and simply change Redskins to Natives and everyone would be happy. Instead, he's being pig headed. Ironic right?