Sure, it’ll probably be quite some time (sadly) until the Washington Redskins drop the racist moniker, but last week in Ottawa, the Nepean Redskins (one of our minor football teams) decided – with a bit of pressure – to finally drop the name. It took two years, a Human Rights complaint a lot of bad press, but the club finally did the right thing.
In The Ottawa Citizen on Saturday, I argued that the team made the right decision and that it was a good thing that issue never found its way at a tribunal hearing:
His cause was just, but his method was imperfect. Campeau, in essence, was threatening to bring the weight of the government down on this minor football club. A seemingly heavy action for a team that could not cause significant material harm to anyone. They were not the vanguard of Canadian intolerance.
But to suggest that the use of the name would harm absolutely no one is naïve. Canada has a wretched history regarding the treatment of the Native population. An Ojibwa, Ian Campeau has, no doubt, experienced both subtle and overt racism throughout his life. It is his wish to minimize such experiences for his daughter, and thus his crusade.
It may have been unsavoury, and it certainly wasn’t his initial course of action, but only the official complaint elicited a response from the Redskins.
I am glad to live in a city where, in the end, this sort of crap just won’t fly. Hopefully, that other capital city will soon follow suit.
And as a bonus, let’s go in the way-back machine to Jay Adler’s guest post
on issue here at the League.$