Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise, after suggesting the Redskins should be shamed into changing their name, suggested Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III should be more socially conscious and push Washington owner Dan Snyder to change the team’s name.
Speaking on a Smithsonian panel on Thursday in Washington, D.C. about “Racial Stereotypes and Cultural Appropriation in American Sports,” Wise said “the only person Snyder” would listen to is Griffin.
Wise said though he does not expect athletes to be socially conscious like former Major League Baseball player Curt Flood (free agency) and former NFL great Jim Brown (race relations), he believes at some point athletes “have to have a social conscience and stand for something” or they will “fall for everything.”
He said it was time for minority athletes to stand for all minorities and essentially say, “you marched with my relatives in Selma years ago,” and it is time “I marched with you now.”
Wise said if a “free agent” or “someone on his roster now” can “hit Snyder in the pocket book,” Snyder could look at the issue of changing the Redskins name differently.
Wise said he believed the Redskins name would be changed during his lifetime.
“I believe in my lifetime that symbol will disappear from this town,” Wise said, of the Redskins name. “And when it does, there will be a lot of people to thank.”
He said Snyder would be upset if the Redskins were instead called the “Hebrews” and the mascot had dead sea scrolls in one hand and the Torah in the other. Wise also said he would not allow his children to wear Redskins gear even though they are fans of Griffin’s. He also said he would talk to editors at the Post about not printing “Redskins” in stories about Washington’s football team.
Wise was on a panel with D.C. Reverend Graylan Hagler, who suggested Griffin was a “high price” slave and fans boycott Redskins merchandise; Judith Bartnoff, deputy presiding judge of the District of Columbia Superior Court’s Civil Division; Robert I. Holden, deputy director of the National Congress of American Indians; and Erik Brady, a sports reporter for USA Today.