Tag Archives: National Football League

Silence and Spectacle: How the Sports Media Sanctions Racist Mascots

By Guest Contributors C. Richard King and David J. Leonard

Image by Keith Allison via Flickr Creative Commons.

One would hope sport media outlets might take their civic duty to foster critical thinking, public engagement, and informed debated seriously. Their approach to the representations in Native Americans in sport suggest otherwise. Under the veil of fairness and balance, they opt to speak for, to be silent and to silence as preferred pathways.

When ESPN columnist Rick Reilly offered a defense of Native American mascots because the American Indians he knew did not have a problem with them. Flouting his whiteness and playing his privilege with little regard, he spoke for Native Americas. His word – his whiteness, his platform – made their words meaningful. His editors neither batted an eye nor cleared a space for Native Americans to express themselves.

In fact, Reilly misrepresented his key source, his father-in-law, who wrote a lengthy retort in Indian Country Today that noted he found the name of Washington D.C.’s National Football League team to be objectionable. Reilly still stood by his piece and neither he nor his publisher have offered a correction or an apology.
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The Unsung Hero Of League Of Denial

By Arturo R. García

Dr. Bennet Omalu emerges as a key figure early on in PBS’ special report “League of Denial.” All images via PBS.

Advisory: This post deals in part with suicide and brain trauma

At its core, League Of Denial is a story about hurt. The special report by PBS’ Frontline traces the shameful history of the National Football League’s attempts to stymie, then co-opt research into the increasingly hard-to-hide connection between football, concussions and, ultimately, chronic traumatic encephalopathy — the disease known as CTE for short.

And while the report gives due time to the hurt experienced by not only the players affected but their families, another story emerges: how far the NFL went to hurt the career of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the Nigerian-born pathologist who first discovered the fatal link.
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The Racialicious Links Roundup 10.10.13: Malala, Oneida Nation, Sleepy Hollow And Saudi Arabia

When Malala Yousufzai was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen simply because she wanted to gain an education it sent shockwaves around the world.

The Western media took up the issue, Western politicians and the public spoke out and soon she found herself in the UK. The way in which the West reacted made me question the reasons and motives behind why Malala’s case was taken up and not so many others.

There is no justifying the brutal actions of the Taliban or the denial of the universal right to education, however there is a deeper more historic narrative that is taking place here.

This is a story of a native girl being saved by the white man. Flown to the UK, the Western world can feel good about itself as they save the native woman from the savage men of her home nation. It is a historic racist narrative that has been institutionalised. Journalists and politicians were falling over themselves to report and comment on the case. The story of an innocent brown child that was shot by savages for demanding an education and along comes the knight in shining armour to save her.

Links Roundup 2.14.13

Richard LaGravenese forbade us from reading the book. He said, “Do not touch the book.” I got the book. I read half of it and then I put it down, because Amma is a maid, and I just said, “OK, there’s nothing I can learn from this.” This is a total re-imagining of the character, and I like it. I’m going to be confident and bold and say I like it because, listen, I understand and I respect the book, and I think the book is wonderful, but this is 2013, and I think that when black people are woven into the lives of characters in 2013, then I think they play other roles than maids. I think that that needs to be explored, and I hope that the audience is willing to suspend their disbelief and embrace what Richard LaGravenese has given them.

For a few years, the Kansas City Star has referred to the Washington NFL team as such. Last year, Washington City Paper held a “re-naming” contest and settled on “Pigskins.” Around that same time, DCist, unannounced, started using the shorthand “‘Skins” as a means of dancing around the official title. It’s not the first time this website has teased the team about its name; in March 2011, after the team threatened to sue The Washington Post because the paper’s pro football blog included the team’s name followed by the word “Insider,” we responded in support of Post by referring to the team as the “R*******.” (The Post’s other sports blogs—Nationals Journal, Wizards Insider, and Capitals Insider—exist with no known acrimony from the respective franchises they cover.)

But in reality, the football team’s name continues to be out there. Last week, at a Smithsonian event in which panels of academics, activists, and journalists debated the impact of the use of Native American imagery and nicknames in professional sports, the Post’s Mike Wise and USA Today’s Erik Brady were unsparing in their criticism of the Washington football team’s name, and made no secret of their discomfort of sometimes having to write it in their columns. Meanwhile, two of Wise’s colleagues in Metro—Courtland Milloy and Robert McCartney—have written in the past week that it is long past time for the local NFL squad to change its branding. The Post’s ombudsman, Patrick Pexton, joined that chorus yesterday.

Unfortunately, as Wise said at the National Museum of the American Indian last week, the only way team owner Dan Snyder will even consider authorizing a name change is if the team’s financial success hinges on such an action. “If one athlete can kick Dan Snyder in the pocketbook, I believe he will begin to look at the issue differently,” he said.

A top assistant to a Univisión news boss trashed Sen. Marco Rubio on his aide’s Facebook page, calling the Republican lawmaker a “loser” and “a token slave boy.”

It’s the latest attack in a lengthy feud between the Florida senator and the powerful Spanish-language network that conservatives charge is anti-GOP and anti-Rubio.

The latest incident began Wednesday night after Rubio’s spokesman, Alex Burgos, announced the high-profile Florida senator would give the GOP’s first-ever bilingual rebuttal to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech.

That led Univisión employee Angelica Artiles to let loose a string of partisan criticisms.

“Oh. wow, the loser is going to speak after our President,” Artiles wrote on spokesman Alex Burgos’ Facebook page at 9:33 p.m. Wednesday. “Anything to get publicity. Ask him to do us a favor and stay home that night.”

Just as New York area transwomen were extremely ticked off about the transphobic reporting of the New York that came to a head in the story that was done on Lorena Escalera, our West Coast sisters are highly pissed off about the transphobic reporting in the West Coast’s paper of record that has now come to anger raising levels with Sam Quinones’ recent LA Times article about Hollywood’s sex workers that focused on the murdered Cassidy Vickers.

The Quinones article disrespectfully referred to Vickers and the other trans sex workers as “male hookers dressed as women” and “men with women’s breasts and clothes”.