It would appear that with each passing day more celebrities – the big and the small – have something to say about the ongoing Washington Redskins name change controversy, and we are still months away from the start of the NFL regular season.
The latest public figure to join the growing chorus is the voice of NBC Sunday Night Football’s Al Michaels. The sportscaster said he believes the issue over the racist team name is “nuts” and suggested that team owner Dan Snyder won’t relent anytime soon – if ever.
“It seems to me as if he is going to hold on,” Michaels said, according to The Washington Post. “I mean all of the sudden – I mean, for 70-some odd years this was a zero issue, and then it became an issue. I understand we live in this politically correct environment. It's crazier than ever; you know, senators want to weigh in on this, like there's nothing better to do in Congress. This becomes a big issue. I mean, I just think it’s nuts.”
Michaels said Snyder told him that he will first die before he changes the name.
“And I do know, I've talked to Snyder about it – not recently, but when we were in Washington last year – and he basically said ‘over my dead body.’”
It wasn’t long after Michaels’ position was made public that the Oneida Indian Nation in New York – one of the leading opponents of the team name – responded, reminding Michaels and Snyder that death is already a part of the team name’s history:
“Al Michaels' insensitive comments defending Dan Snyder perfectly exemplify why this has become the civil rights issue of the moment,” Representative Ray Halbritter told USAToday.com. “He proudly defends Snyder saying the name will only be changed ‘over my dead body,’ somehow ignoring the fact that this name is already associated with dead bodies – untold numbers of dead Native Americans who were tortured, abused and killed while being taunted with this racial slur.”
True to form, Twitter also decried Michaels’ comments and poked fun at Snyder’s ‘over my dead body’ comment to Michaels.
Twitter user Marcos_El_Malo tweeted that it would be a “WIN-WIN” situation, and Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise wrote, “At least I'm not the only who thought Al Michaels' quote smelled bad.” Later, Wise tweeted that Michaels’ ‘over my dead body” line “needs apology.”