Loudoun supervisors passionately defend Redskins
The term redskins is deemed a racial epithet by many people within and outside the Native American community, and the controversy surrounding the name has steadily heightened in recent months.
The Washington football team's practice facility and headquarters is in Ashburn in eastern Loudoun County. In early 2012, the supervisors signed off on a deal to spend $2 million – $500,000 annually for four years – to showcase the county through various avenues with the Redskins.
Board Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) said he's "kind of had enough" with "some elitist news organizations."
"It will be up to the decision of the Washington Redskins what they want to do. But I'm just kind of thoroughly disgusted [with] what is going on,” said York, who recently participated in an online debate with U.S. News and World Report.
In October, NBC Sports commentator Bob Costas provided one of the most public condemnations of the team's name during halftime of a Sunday Night Football broadcast featuring Washington and Dallas.
" ... think about the term ‘Redskins' and how it truly differs from all the others," Costas said. "Ask yourself what the equivalent would be if directed toward African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians or members of any other ethnic group. When considered that way, ‘Redskins' can't possibly honor a heritage or a noble character trait nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term."
“It's an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent," Costas added.
Loudoun supervisors Wednesday were intent on defending the Loudoun County business and the free market system.
Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) said the controversy is "political correctness run amok," rehashing a phrase from Costas.
“Some people will say, 'why is this our business?'” said Buona. “My first question is why is it the D.C.'s City Council business? The Washington Redskins do not play in Washington, they play in Maryland. The Washington Redskins are not headquartered in D.C. They're headquartered in Loudoun County, Virginia. It's our business … The resolution says the Redskins have the right to weigh customer input. Loudoun County is a customer of the Washington Redskins. We have a financial deal in place with the Redskins.”
Supervisor Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian) quoted the first phrase of the Republican Party creed to validate her stance.
“We believe that the free enterprise system is the most productive supplier of human needs and economic justice," Volpe said, reading the creed. "… I don't need some House of Representatives non-voting member in D.C. trying to dictate to a privately-owned business headquartered in our county what their name should be.
“Where does it stop?” Volpe added. “What if somebody doesn't like Telos, or somebody doesn't like Sprint … Fighting Irish, thank you very much.”
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