On Wednesday—against the backdrop of a national debate on the offensiveness of the Confederate flag–Olbermann drew several parallels between the flag and the NFL team’s nickname, highlighting the typical defenses of both symbols (“heritage,” “tradition” and “respect”).
But in answering a judge about the Confederate flag case and its relation to the team’s nickname, Olbermann points out that Robert Raskopf, a lawyer for the team, did not use any of the “nonsensical” arguments Dan Snyder has employed in the past—completely omitting any denial that the name was “offensive.”
“He did not say anything resembling ‘our team is nothing like the Confederate flag’ or ‘our team name is not offensive,'” said Olbermann.
Instead of differentiating the nickname from the flag, Raskopf compared the usage of “Redskins” to Coca-Cola putting its brand name on a can of soda, simply stating: “This is pure private speech.”
“All of this happening when the name ‘Redskins’ is effectively on trial in Virginia,” said the host of ESPN’s Olbermann. “All of this happening while we see that a symbol like a flag can not only invoke and encourage racism and violence and madness and murder and treason, but that it can do something even worse.”
“It can represent evil,” concluded Olbermann, referring to the team’s nickname. “And it represents genocide and the persecution and mockery of a group of people because of the color of their skin. And if a flag can do that, a football team name — beamed into our homes every day, to our headphones, our minds every day — it can represent the same kind of evil, the same kind of genocide, the same kind of persecution and mockery of a group of people because of the color of their skin. There is a good reason that Dan Snyder‘s lawyer did not tell the judge ‘Redskins’ isn’t offensive. That’s because it is. And he knows it.”
Watch the segment, courtesy of ESPN.