The NFL’s Washington Redskins’ reevaluation of its team name is motivated by financial concerns, assessed former NFL wide receiver Dennis McKinnon on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday with host Joel B. Pollak.
“A lot of what I’m seeing right now, going on in the country, is apologizing,” McKinnon said. “Apologizing not so much from the heart, but from the checkbook. It’s amazing, the power of money and how it gets people to do things. And that has led us to part of our conversation tonight about the Washington Redskins and Mr. [Daniel] Snyder,” the owner of the Redskins.
McKinnon continued, “I’m quite sure if it wasn’t for the fact that some of the major companies — including FedEx and Nike — did not urge them to their name, we would not be having a lot of discussion coming out of Washington outside of something going on with the president.”
The Redskins will conduct a “thorough review” of the team’s name after being asked by their corporate sponsors for change, according to a report published last week.
Potentially big news: The #Redskins have been having internal discussions about their team name and now will conduct a formal, thorough review. Full statement, including quotes from owner Dan Snyder, on a possible name change: pic.twitter.com/49mpesZGs9
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) July 3, 2020
Political activists targeted the Redskins’ advertisers and business partners, including PepsiCo, FedEx, and Nike, demanding the companies end business with the team due to its “racist” name.
A group of investment firms along with some shareholders are calling for advertisers to drop their support for the team based on its “racist” name, according to AdWeek magazine.
“I don’t think [the Redskins] have had more than five seasons since Snyder took over — I’m thinking ’99 — that they finished above five hundred,” McKinnon said. “They really haven’t been good for a very long time, and also I think we’ll get into how they treated Afro-American quarterbacks going way back to Doug Williams, who just happens to still be on the staff.”
McKinnon continued, “The color issue was always a conversation that was very short. Now it has become a board conversation. Now everybody has to listen. I think that for people of color and minorities and their impact on sports, in general, is one thing, but the financial restitution after that is now coming into conversation that was never really discussed at length, which is where we are.”
“Around the world, a majority of companies who have had generational wealth, their way of apologizing is writing big checks,” added McKinnon. “All that is a band-aid. We’ve really got to change policy across the board in order for there to really be change, and I think that’s kind of where we are now trying to take our sport forward on that issue.”
Pollak asked about the NFL’s donation of $20 million to organizations dedicated to “social justice.”
McKinnon replied, “When you talk about 400 years of repression, you can run forever in white America and it will take forever to catch up, so you can’t tell us, ‘Just go away and get over it. It’ll be okay.’ No, can’t do that. The guilt that you’re seeing now is only because the curtains have been pulled back, and the best way of ‘making it go away’ is just give out money.”
McKinnon added, “Until you can change those board positions, change policy into law, and change the power structure — all the way from cops all the way up to senators — we’re going to be in the same boat we were ten years ago. “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is just a spiritual song that resonates about the fact that the American flag, for a lot of reasons, never represents all Americans.”
McKinnon went on, “Even though we talk about it on a consistent basis, everybody has their version of what the American flag means to us, and ‘disrespect’ is a word that comes up a lot when people are trying to defend or appreciate the flag. For my culture and my Afro-American family, we’ve been disrespected for so long, you don’t get a right to say what’s disrespectful when you have not endured the kind of pain that we’ve dealt with.”
“A lot of times, people making those kind of comments are always from a position of privilege, and you really don’t get a right to have that discussion when you’ve benefited off a culture for such a very long time,” stated McKinnon.
McKinnon declared, “I’m an American. I’m proud to be an American, and I think from that standpoint, would you rather be anywhere else but the United States? No, but I think what we sometimes fail to realize is that kneeling, sometimes, is asking for forgiveness, is asking for strength. And the reason why we pray, we kneel to an almighty power, and I think that sometimes people have their own version or explanation of what everything means. Everybody’s explanation is not always right.”
McKinnon concluded, “At the same time, we should all have an opinion. I think sometimes, that what we have created through this mess is dialogue and conversation, which is a good thing because a lot of times decisions have been made behind closed doors that did not include everybody. The American flag is supposed to be inclusive. For a lot of days and a lot of years, it has not been, but I think, at the end of the day, the fiber of who we are — we’re Americans, regardless of what words you put before.”
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