World Cup Day 8 Colombia/Ivory Coast: Blame Goes To The Coach

Lamouchi (right) has hurt more than helped his team with his roster decisions.

Lamouchi (right) has hurt more than helped his team with how he’s handled his lineup.

At least for the first three games, the World Cup is not a single-elimination tournament. Such a setup allows team managers to learn what they did right and wrong with respect to their starting lineups, and going from their first to second game and then second to third, can implement reasonable adjustments to improve their teams’ performance. Yet whether impelled to move on from and leave his country’s older stars tucked away in the past, or oblivious to the effect these players currently have on his team, Ivory Coast’s coach Sabri Lamouchi has obstinately refused to make changes the rest of the soccer world deemed clearly necessary, and likely cost Les Elephants the chance to play to their fullest capacity for the entire match against Colombia on Thursday.

It was just five days ago that we witnessed how upon entering an opening game against Japan on the 62nd minute as a substitute, Didier Drogba galvanized the Ivory Coast unlike any other player on any other team could. Within a mere four minutes after his insertion, the Ivorians overcame a 48-minute long 1-0 deficit by netting goals on the 64th and 66th minutes. The palpable impact of Drogba on the flow of the match comprised two shots, one on target, and three drawn fouls, but most importantly, the legendary goal-scorer spurred the key attacking efforts that ultimately produced a 2-1 advantage and victory.

So why does his coach Lamouchi continue to sit him until the second half, as he did in the team’s second game against Colombia, subbing Drogba in at the 60th minute, after which although the opposition outscored them 2-1, Ivory Coast had never played better prior to his entrance, and wasted a plethora of opportunities to equalize? It shouldn’t be a dilemma of whether or not to pay homage to the country’s superstar, or considering the effect of his age (36): Drogba, without even needing to score, catalyzes the Ivorian team with his composed and creative presence on the pitch–making it undeniably vital for him to participate from the game’s opening whistle. Reports indicate that Drogba himself has expressed unhappiness over his coach’s controversial decision, forcing Lamouchi to publicly clarify and attempt to quell any problems.

Furthermore, Lamouchi mismanaged his squad in relation to other players as well. In placing Drogba into the game, he replaced Wilfried Bony–one of the players that cooperated well with and perhaps felt Drogba’s influence most in the last match against Japan, in which he netted Ivory Coast’s first goal to equalize the score. Then the realization hit that until his 67th minute substitution, Salomon Kalou–another aging team stalwart but still a productive midfielder–had not played the entire game. Another incomprehensible move by Lamouchi, Kalou had proven himself a useful cog in his team’s offense that led the 2-1 comeback win, and contributed significantly to late-game attacks by Les Elephants in only 27 minutes of play against Colombia–one can only assume he’d create even more goal-scoring opportunities had he received more time on the field.

Thus, with all these mismanagements and inability to understand the Ivorian roster’s strengths to the point of failing to start the best combination of his players, Lamouchi has already foiled his team’s chances against Colombia, and likely squandered a great opportunity to win Group C (and have a potentially weaker Group D opponent in the second round if the team advances). There’s still a final group match to make amends, as well as more than plausible round of 16 ambitions to achieve, but Lamouchi nevertheless has proved and remains the biggest hindrance to the success of his team, one that’s the best Ivory Coast has ever sent to the World Cup.

Why The Pacers’ Off-Court Actions Will Lead To Their Fall

Stepheson (right) will fell the brunt of LeBron's reaction to his comments.

Stepheson (right) will fell the brunt of LeBron’s reaction to his comments.

For all of Indiana’s efforts on the court to best solidify their chances of overcoming the two-time champion Miami Heat, it is the Pacers’ actions off the floor that have already triggered one collapse this year, and will soon spark another.

The organization has made itself into a championship contender, and proved its worth as one, through the game of play: the players’ cohesion and developing efficiency has vaulted the team into the upper echelons of the NBA. Its fame has not resulted from off-the-court popularization or basketball marketability, but from how complete and polished the squad is–namely the starting five–and how formidable they stand in the face of the megastars from South Beach. Thus, comments from Roy Hibbert and Paul George earlier in the season that first derailed the team, and now those of Lance Stephenson that will surely have the same effect, will make the season’s inevitable outcome both ironic and mind-boggling for Indiana.

Harken back to the shower of praise–in which two Pacer members partook–following the 61-point spectacular performance by LeBron James on May 3rd. Shortly after James’s achievement, Hibbert chimed in with applause on Twitter, which it’s worth mentioning has become a reliable outlet for an NBA player’s expression, tweeting “damn @KingJames 61 is tough. Congrats.” In the days following this seemingly simple gesture of praise, and presumably tied in some way to James’s recent surge, teammate Paul George expressed his desire to work with and learn from LeBron James. He essentially viewed the Heat superstar as a potential mentor, of course in spite of the fact that James and his team constitute the sole obstacle to George and his Pacers’ aspirations.

At face value, these instances do not appear egregious or damning, but rather gestures of respect and sportsmanship towards the opposition. But is it any coincidence that after the tweet and the comments to Basketball Insiders, the Pacers finished April on a 6-10 slide and ended the year 10-13, barely securing their number-one Eastern Conference spot and overtly showing their struggles along the way? It’s nice that players can act respectfully towards their contemporaries, but at the same time, there’s a time and place for these friendly activities. For the Indiana Pacers, James and the Miami Heat serve as the adversaries and hindrances to their goals, thereby forming the image of LeBron particularly as the enemy–not in any malicious way, but in purely competitive spirit. In no way is it permissible to reveal a hint of deference by congratulating the enemy on his successes, as Hibbert did, or to suggest to cooperate and mingle with him, as George desires to do.

Thus, through the actions of two prominent Indiana starters off court, the lack of a competitive mindset within the team’s core was uncovered, one that both NBA champions of the past and present possess. This damages the team’s prospects in the long run, but the more immediate effect, as mentioned before, manifested itself in a horrid stretch to conclude the regular season.

Now fast forward to yesterday, when another key figure on the Pacers roster, shooting guard Lance Stephenson, made comments about LeBron outside the court of play. Perhaps still remembered for flashing a choke sign at King James while in a backup role, this time Stephenson told the Associated Press that he feels he has gotten under LeBron’s skin and considers getting trash-talked by the Heat star a sign of weakness. Although this sort of statement connotes a very different attitude towards the opposition, the instance plays into the bigger picture of exposing Indiana’s focus on something other than itself and its abilities. It seems out of character for the Pacers to direct their attention to the their rivaling squad, rather than concentrating on themselves, their performance, and what they can do as a team: an approach that has led them to their status as one of the NBA’s best. Simply put, it’s matter of distractions and the Pacers investing themselves in something other than what they do on the court.

Moreover, at this juncture in the NBA year, when players battle through fatigue and seek sources of inspiration as they inch closer and closer to the illustrious NBA Finals, why would Stephenson dare to poke the proverbial bear? It’s not as if publicly clarifying on-court happenings and then making assumptions off them will irritate the attacked player in a manner that will hinder his ability. Instead, if anything, it will provide James and his team with “bulletin board” material, and incite the Heat–especially LeBron of course–with an extra push and motivation in their quest for a three-peat.

And that’s additional to the aforementioned effect Stephenson’s words will have on his team in terms of diverting focus. In what will eerily parallel the aftermath of Hibbert and George’s comments off the court, Stephenson’s actions off the floor yesterday will help bring about Indiana’s imminent downfall, one that is notably self-inflicted and outside the basketball court.

*Written without knowledge of the outcome of ECF Game 4 on Monday, April 26th. 

The Burden of Being a Brown: Johnny Football’s Next Big Task

Manziel (right) was relieved to finally hear his name called at the 1st round of the draft on Thursday.

Manziel (right) was relieved to finally hear his name called at the 1st round of the draft on Thursday. (Craig Ruttle/AP Photo)

Was the social media explosion of a welcome party meant as a way to usher in Johnny Manziel to his life as a Cleveland Brown? Or rather was it the events concerning two members of a depleted receiver corps that surpassed within 24 hours of Manziel’s selection, news that star Josh Gordon could face a season-long suspension after failing another drug test and that Nate Burleson fractured his left arm? Either way, intentional or not, the franchise was quick to show the adversity, hardship, and short-lived optimism that comes with being a Brown–without yet having played a single game on the gridiron.

Firstly, it’s important to acknowledge that a franchise-changing figure like Manziel fell into Cleveland’s lap not once, or twice, but at three different points in the 1st round of the 2014 draft, and that by the greatest strokes of luck, this downtrodden Browns franchise managed to receive one more chance to reel Manziel in towards the latter stages of the round. Manziel’s draft stock fluctuated highly before he even entered his name in the draft,  but to think that the polarizing quarterback could drop so deep would be ludicrous. Cleveland was evidently not sold on Manziel as a top-pick draftee. But if the franchise agreed on selecting Manziel in the unlikely scenario of his availability in the 20’s-pick range of the draft, then the manifestation of this situation–coming after several quarterback-needy teams passed on the Aggie–seems as a result of pure good fortune, a term rarely associated with the Browns.

Then comes speculation of how, or whether, Johnny Manziel fits in the Browns organization. Considering that a litany of quarterbacks have entered Cleveland with promise and subsequently departed in disgrace, and that the franchise has failed to see the light of the postseason in 12 years, the arrival of a high-profile, spotlight-attracting, and flashy-personified player like Manziel simply electrifies not only the team, but the city as well. Yet the attention Manziel garnered during his time at College Station, and has already brought to Cleveland, is justified: the QB achieved a Heisman Trophy in his college tenure, and totaled 7,820 passing yards with 63 TD passes as well as 2,169 rushing yards with 30 TD runs, in addition to several spectacular performances on the biggest stages, all within two years of play. Thus, the aura of stardom Manziel carries with him is anything but a facade–even though off-the-field peculiarities cause the football world to raise a collective eyebrow.

Moving to the actual football field, and beyond the stimulative effect only his presence and name will have on the franchise, Manziel will undoubtedly have plenty of freedom to operate in the Browns offense, which really has no identity or specific scheme to speak of. A couple of months ago Cleveland hired Kyle Shanahan as the new offensive coordinator, his last coaching stop being with the Redskins that concluded with the firing of both him and his father, Mike Shanahan. While his offensive tactics appeared incompatible with a very similar dynamic, dual-threat quarterback to Johnny Football–Robert Griffin III–Shanahan has stated, even before the draft, that he felt confident about Manziel’s NFL prospects, and that his style will translate to the next level. Moreover, Shanahan said he enjoyed his pre-draft time with Manziel, and perhaps most important to allaying any doubt with respect to his rapport with the young QB, said that he is willing to be flexible with Manziel at the quarterback position.

Another factor that could prove beneficial to Manziel in his time as a Brown is the proverbial “chip on his shoulder”. This characteristic of the QB has been made all to well-known to the football world, but in truth works to Manziel’s favor, and now even to a greater degree following his free fall to the 22nd slot. Manziel will of course direct his focus to solely bettering his own team, but surely the uncomfortable and distasteful experience he had amid his slide to the 22nd pick will stick with him throughout his NFL career; in what has become a matter of habit, Manziel will go out to prove his doubters wrong, and especially show the organizations that passed on him the horrendous mistake they made.

On top of all this, Manziel will work to revive his quarterbacking mystique at the next level with mindset of having a top-tier defense–further bolstered, ironically, by an 8th-pick Justin Gilbert selection Manziel surely believed was his rightful placement–fit to bail him out and grant him plentiful chances to succeed. Thus, Manziel can afford some mistakes in his first NFL year, and the backlash to any points of his mediocrity or disappointment will be minimized.

Nevertheless, Johnny Manziel received his first taste of the toils that come with the Browns territory shortly after being introduced to the franchise. Not only will Manziel enter a situation filled with new faces following a team overhaul, but he will likely take his first snap without the team’s best player in Josh Gordon, burdening Manziel with difficulty from the onset of his career. But if there’s anyone that can help shed the Browns’ history-filled record of misfortune and misery, and start to put a halt to this tradition of grief, Johnny Manziel has the looks and the feel of the hero Cleveland needs, and therefore, if all goes as planned, making his selection at the 22nd slot one of the best the team will have ever made.

Thunder/Clippers Series: The Intangible Aspect

Having split their regular season series 2-2, stocked with conference stars and playmakers, and each recovering from grueling seven-game series, the Thunder and Clippers commenced their 2nd round clash earlier this week with neither squad appearing as a clear-cut frontrunner. To amplify the unpredictable nature of this matchup, both teams experienced and found themselves caught within significant off-the-court situations which, thus far, have proved to generate positive effects during their respective playoff runs. So as if the series had not been fraught with uncertainty enough, the added presence of an intangible factor–usually a decisive edge for the one team that possesses it, but only now functioning for both teams–even further leaves the fate of this series as a tossup.

The Clippers staged a unified protest in response to their owner's racism-laced audio recording.

The Clippers staged a unified protest in response to their owner’s racism-laced audio recording.

For the Clippers’ situation, which involved much more controversy and outrage, it was the Donald Sterling fiasco that unfolded two days before the start of the team’s fourth game in their 1st-round battle against Golden State. Though suffering a harsh 21-point blowout, the severity of which most likely a result of their minds being preoccupied with the off-the-court instability, the Clips reacted to this precarious circumstance by deciding to bond together as a team; if their owner was not in their corner, then their ensuing plan of action would be to support and stick up for each other in a closer way than ever before. The Clippers, as well as the NBA front office, quickly resolved this dilemma, but most importantly, the seed of unity had been planted in the LA locker room. Following the Sterling controversy, the Clips–with emotions at hand and an intangible force in full effect–surged to triumph in two of the next three games against the Warriors, and advanced to the second round. If this powerful response to any off-court drama–the foundation of which derived from the team’s solidarity–did not sway onlookers enough to believe in an intangible unifying factor, then a stunning 122-105 opening-series rout of the Thunder surely did the trick.

Even prior to this thumping before its zealous home crowd, the Oklahoma City found itself in a state of uneasiness. Concluding the regular season schedule with a 5-4 April record certainly did not dispel the doubt surrounding the Thunder, as to whether they were primed for the looming postseason action, or whether stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook could play cohesively in order to succeed in the brutal Western Conference playoff layout. A 1st round date with the Memphis Grizzlies, in which OKC stood on the brink of elimination twice and had to scratch out a seven-game series victory, raised even more concern. Only two days after knocking off Memphis, the exhausted Thunder team–as mentioned before–suffered one of its worst home defeats ever to Los Angeles, and moreover, did so in an utterly discouraging and unresistant fashion.

Yet for a team that appeared disjointed and dejected, the remedy to its woes came from the most unlikeliest of sources: Kevin Durant receiving the 2013-14 MVP award. It’s important to keep in mind that in any sports, and for any type of award–especially one deeming a player the best in his sport–and even more so during or near the postseason, the effect of the award has the popular notion of producing a negative impact; in short, it often jinxes the player and his team, perhaps by diverting necessary attention away from the task ahead. So despite Kevin Durant deservedly receiving this title that he heavily sought after, it would not necessarily appear to be of any good, particularly a day after getting blown out at home.

Durant's MVP award and acceptance speech served as a unifying factor for his team. (Photo by Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports)

Durant’s MVP award and acceptance speech served as a unifying factor for his team. (Photo by Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports)

But it was the acceptance speech Durant delivered, with fellow teammates sitting beside him, that really mattered. Durant, in a display of courage of strength considering the situation, described his life leading up to his NBA prominence and MVP award, focusing on those that influenced him most in the past as well as in the present. Durant touched on how he had to overcome adversity throughout his life, especially in his youth, and identified everyone from his mother, Wanda Pratt, to OKC newcomer Caron Butler as sources of motivation in his life. Durant conveyed that this esteemed trophy was more of a product of working with those close to him than anything, and that without the help of and cohesiveness with others around him, this type of success–and perhaps any for that matter–would be unattainable. At the very least, his teammates sympathized greatly with his journey, and at the most, they even shared a similar one. So while inspiring and heartwarming for outsiders, the weight of Durant’s words had an even greater impact on his team: they made his teammates reconsider what they were fighting for during their current playoff run, and whom they were fighting with. Otherwise, what else could explain their reaction the following day, when an emotional and forceful performance–and above all else exhibiting a newfound sense of unity that so interestingly parallels that of the Clippers and their situation a short while ago–paved the way for a dominant 112-101 Game 2 win?

Once again, the peculiarity of this intangible factor that fosters unity does not originate in the fact that a playoff squad carries it, but in the coincidence that the two teams affected by it now go head to head. And with the characterization of intangibility in sports–something that is not definite and cannot be measured–one hardly predict what could arise as a result from both teams possessing the trait. If anything, it makes the Thunder and Clippers more formidable and empowered than at any previous point in the season, which could only indicate that this series will not settle itself easily, but rather in the most taxing and grandiose of NBA ways: a full set of seven games.

Baseball’s Pathetic Acceptance of Barry Bonds

Bonds was back in a Giants uniform for the first time in seven years.

Bonds was back in a Giants uniform for the first time in seven years.

Perhaps my disgusted reaction to Barry Bonds’s week-long return to the baseball world is exacerbated due to how the course of his playing career left me, and I’m sure many other young, credulous baseball fans, utterly heartbroken. But even if I put aside my biases, the decision of the San Francisco Giants to re-introduce Bonds into their clubhouse still remains disgraceful and egregious, and reflects the baseball world’s pathetic attitude towards, and handling of, the sport’s PED scandal.

On Monday earlier this week, the Giants brought Bonds–who retired in 2007–into their spring training facility in Scottsdale, Arizona as a guest hitting instructor. As part of a group of former players that rotates every year, Bonds was tasked to instruct the team’s hitters, but his presence alone proved more noteworthy: the Giants were welcoming him back into the game after having been ostracized from it for the past seven years.

As Keith Olbermann effectively puts it, Bonds is the “symbol of [baseball’s] worst crisis and darkest time since the era of the Black Sox scandal.” He played the biggest role in the BALCO scandal, was indicted for perjury and obstruction of justice, and remains one of the few high-profile PED-users to have not confessed to his crimes. 

So while any backlash to this seemingly minuscule one-week stint initially appears overblown, it’s the idea of Bonds’s acceptance that bears greater significance than however many days he was involved with the team.

The situation illustrates yet another whitewashing scheme on the part of the “baseball world” (what I mean here is a consensus of sorts and general common attitude of fans, players, organizations, and figures linked to baseball) regarding its once heralded, but now disgraced, steroid users. It shows the inability for the baseball world to rise up as a whole and courageously confront this issue as it now spreads into another decade of the sport’s rich history; the baseball world pathetically shies away from the glaring problem–and away from the necessity of acting boldly in response to it–and instead opts for purposeful ignorance, choosing to be complacent rather than proactive.

Furthermore, this unwillingness to set a bold precedent–perhaps starting by banning anyone connected to steroids from Major League Baseball–will undoubtedly continue to tarnish the sport. Rather, the baseball world has done the exact opposite: it has allowed PED-users to be involved in baseball, whether still on the field, like Ryan Braun and Jason Giambi, or in dugout roles, such as Mark McGwire and now Barry Bonds.

It’s also important to reiterate and re-establish the severity and detrimental effect of steroid usage, as another event linked to it has come up. Simply put, the use of performance-enhancing drugs destroys the integrity of the competitive game. The establishment of a set of rules for all to follow provides stability and control. In turn, the violation of these rules produces a destructive effect, and impairs those who actually abide by the standards, a phenomenon that stretches beyond the smaller scale of the baseball world into the greater level of society.

Bonds’s alma mater, Arizona State University, also seemed to capitalize on the Giants’ naive push to welcome Bonds back into baseball. Before the Sun Devils’s game on Saturday, Bonds–as well as other 1980s ASU stars–threw out the first pitch at Packard Stadium, five miles from San Francisco’s Scottsdale Stadium where Bonds had been working the past week. Though a less egregious decision than that of the Giants, as Bonds was an All-American legend in Tempe presumably before any PED usage, ASU still appeared keen on ignoring Bonds’ past misdeeds and receiving him as untainted baseball hero. Thus, the team’s decision displayed yet another questionable choice by the general whole of the baseball world with respect to its steroid dilemma. 

And while this stance may seem callous and unforgiving, it’s important to note that before we can give the slightest of pardons to Barry Bonds, he must be the one taking the first steps to asking for forgiveness, starting by the most humbling of acts: plainly accepting his fault.

Kuechly at Forefront of Panthers’ Turnaround

As part of an underwhelming Panthers team, you couldn’t really make much out of Luke Kuechly winning the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year Award in 2012. But just one season later, as the undeniable leader and anchor of Carolina’s defense, Kuechly has played an integral part in his team’s transformation–accentuated by the Panthers’ 10-9 victory over the 49ers on Sunday.

Kuechly sacks Kaepernick in the 4th quarter. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Kuechly sacks Kaepernick in the 4th quarter. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The ninth-overall pick in the 2013 draft may not be posting nearly the same gaudy defensive numbers as in his rookie year (an astounding 164 combined tackles), but he remains the Carolina’s chief defensive asset at the linebacker position. Building around Kuechly, the Panthers’ D has improved from among the most porous and unstable in 2012, to ranking at the top in this current season. The run defense–where Kuechly makes his impact felt most–best epitomizes the unprecedented defensive turnaround: the Carolina defense has allowed an average 79.1 rushing yards per contest, 2nd-best in the entire league.

And so, the Panthers entered Candlestick Park on Sunday expected to fulfill the script of being exposed at the hands of the vaunted San Francisco 49ers–only it didn’t happen. The Niners held the lead for almost two quarters of play, but the Panthers’ defense were actually winning the key battles, holding San Fran to only three field goals. The Carolina offense did its part before the half, converting for a touchdown shortly after the two-minute warning, as well as helped to tack on a pivotal three points in the fourth-quarter. A Colin Kaepernick interception then sealed the shocking away-game victory at the 0:23 mark.

In by far the best win of the season, the Panthers held fast to their style of football: a grind-out defensive battle, in which the victorious team eclipsed the single-digit scoring mark by one point, with only one player totaling more than 100 yards (Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, throwing for 169 yards). And who was at the center of this effort? Second-year standout Luke Kuechly, notching 11 solo tackles, along with an important late-game sack. No player had a bigger role in two, decisive aspects of his team’s defensive performance:

  • limiting the best rushing attack (averaging 153 YPG) in the NFL to nearly 50 yards below their game average (105 yards on Sunday)
  • holding the 49ers to 18 points under their season average (from 27 PPG to 9 on Sunday)

While the Panthers continue trying to harness the potential firepower on the offensive side of the football, it’s comforting to know that their defense has evolved into one of the best in the league, anchored by none other than Luke Kuechly. Furthermore, by proving that they can contend with the NFL elite, and with at least four more potential wins on their schedule, the Panthers appear destined for postseason action–a notion inconceivable at the start of the year.

What’s in a Name? Insensitivity, and a Necessity for Change

The mascot in question, recently garnering much national attention.

Recently, the debate over the controversial usage of the nickname “Redskins” for a football organization has returned to the national spotlight. The Native American community, prominent media members (from within and outside the sports realm), and even the U.S. president have sparked the fiery movement protesting the name, calling on team owner Daniel Snyder to enforce a nickname change.

For the popular franchise that the Redskins are, it’s understandable that Snyder, along with the organization’s fanbase, has met this possible change with harsh resentment. Generations of supporters grew up watching and cheering on this franchise, ingraining a Redskin pride in their lifestyle. A change in the most noticeable part of the team—its mascot—would seemingly disrupt their long-standing passion.

But that’s no reason to continue to endorse a name that blatantly constitutes a racial slur, and of course, all the while ignorantly neglecting its denigrating effect on Native Americans. The term “Redskin” directly refers to someone that has skin resembling that of the color red. Its usage might have been a fad of the 18th century, but now, in the present day, how can a name like that of such racially-insensitive origins–derived from intolerant attitudes–be allowed in any measure? Moreover, how can it sensibly and respectfully be attributed to a multi-million dollar organization, as Dan Snyder has endlessly persisted to do?

Snyder has attempted to quell the dispute over his team’s nickname through an open letter to fans. He cited polls that showed how most people (Native American or not) found no problem in the name “Redskins”, and expressed the sense of pride, courage, and heritage that comes when bearing the name for the team. Specifically, he referred to a poll that revealed 90 percent of surveyed Native Americans saw the name “Redskin” as not offensive.

DanielSnyderG_468x707

The polarizing Daniel Snyder.

And here’s where Snyder, with his childish obstinacy and ignorance in full force, fails to understand a crucial part of this controversy. What matters in the aforementioned poll–the validity of which some have questioned–is not the nine out of ten people who don’t find the name denigrating, but the one person who does. However small the group opposed to the name may be, a harmful sense of disrespect remains tolerated, which serves as enough justification to abolish the nickname.

And whatever happened to a non-Native American using his or her own judgement in a situation like this? Even if the vast majority of this racial group found the name unoffensive, it should not take anything but one’s own sensible rationale to come to the conclusion that the term “Redskin” is impermissible in any setting.

But of course, that’s not the case. The Oneida Indian Nation–which represents at least one Native American community fairly well–has publicly spoken out against Snyder’s refusal to drop this racial slur of a nickname, as well as starting an online campaign against its use. One can only reasonably surmise that there still remains a large Indian population–though perhaps hesitant to express it in surveys by powerful media outlets–that doesn’t take kindly to the name “Redskin”.

Meanwhile, roughly two-thousand miles away in Driggs, Idaho, Teton High School decided to drop the same mascot Snyder continues to employ for his professional football team. The high school came to this conclusion on the basis of encouraging its “students and the community to see beyond skin color and stereotypes”, and respecting those who find the name offensive. So if an obscure high school can express more sensitivity, awareness, and rationality than an NFL team owner, what does that say about the current battle over a team’s logo in our nation’s capital, generated by this owner? Perhaps an intervention by Roger Goodell and the National Football League is in order.