(Paul Sakuma/AP)
(Paul Sakuma/AP)

From the Front Office to a Front Row Seat

Raiders CEO turned CBS analyst Amy Trask on why Washington should change its mascot and the one play she'll never forget

By
Greg A. Bedard
· More from Greg·

1. I think the NFL should reconsider, and either abandon or substantially modify, the blackout rule. If a team is struggling to sell out, it is counterproductive to black out home games in the very market in which the team is endeavoring to engender greater support.

2. I think the best coaches evaluate their rosters and design offensive and defensive game plans that put their players in the best position to succeed.

3. I think the Washington Redskins should make a powerful statement and change the team name and logo. If we wish to inspire people to consider one another without regard to skin color, then it is antithetical to refer to any person or any group of people by skin color. The Washington Redskins have an opportunity to do something very meaningful.

4. I think that if all people were as blind to racial, gender, religious, ethnic and other differences as Al Davis was, the world would be a much, much better place.  Actually, I know this to be the case, but the title of this column is 10 Things I Think I Think,  not 10 Things I Know.

5. I think that, as a general rule, a three-man rush is a really bad idea.

6. I think that two teams sharing a stadium (like the Jets and the Giants do) makes a tremendous amount of sense. Stadiums are not easy to build. Stadiums are expensive. Amortizing the cost of a stadium over two teams makes sense.

7. I think high school administrators and school boards are, or will be, evaluating whether it makes sense to continue high school football programs. There are a number of issues to consider with respect to the health and safety of the student-athletes. I do think that it is imperative that all youth football programs emphasize proper techniques for tackling and blocking.

The Tuck Rule (Matt CAMPBELL/AFP/Getty Images)

8. I think the league needs to address the preseason by reducing the number of games, reducing the price of tickets, or otherwise addressing the value proposition. The nature and quality of preseason games has evolved over the last decade or so (as roster and other rules have evolved) and, while I love the preseason, the league must address this issue.

9. I still think Brady fumbled (And before you tell me to get over it, please remember that the fun of sports is that we don’t have to get over it. #immaculatereception  #lytlefumble)

10. The thing I loved the most about my almost three decades in the National Football League is the same thing I still love about the National Football League: the game. I can’t wait for kickoff.

55 comments
ChrisAitken
ChrisAitken

This woman has lived a life of privilege, barely stepping off the Berkley campus, or outside bankrupt California. The name Washington Redskins has been defined for almost one hundred years as the name of a football team. The reasoning from Ms. Trask, is all knowing what is best for all of us. She has not spoken to anyone in regards to this matter (American Indian included) outside of the politically connected (ex Suzanne Harjo professional activist). Ms. Trask is one of many in the media attempting to pervert something that is good. & decent. Public opinion means nothing to Ms. Trask. The only opinions that matter to Ms. Trask are those in her small minded, self aggrandizing, privileged, intolerant media driven,  elitest circle who know what is best for all.

Hail To The Redskins Now & Forever!

Chris AItken


GaryHubbell
GaryHubbell

Hi All...I grew up as a fan of USC football and the PAC 8 (now larger) and, at the time,  didn't understand what was really happening when the Stanford Indians changed their name to the Cardinal. That was a giant step that the NCAA chose to change themselves, along with other Indian type names, for fear of litigation. Now, I believe it was a very broad and strong statement with respect to a whole race of people. I did a little research to discover what the name "redskin" means. Here's what I found: "Redskin" is a racial descriptor for Native Americans, the origins of which are disputed. Although by some accounts not originally having negative intent, the term is now defined by dictionaries of American English as "usually offensive", "disparaging", "insulting","taboo" and is avoided in public usage with the exception of its continued use as a name for sports teams.
All of the people that don't think the word "Redskin" isn't racist Have totally forgotten how this country of ours was founded! Slice it, dice it, and carve it up any way you choose but; if it quacks like a duck, looks like a duck, and swims like a duck, it IS A FRIGGIN RACIST SLUR! The only people who chose the names at the time were white, and they probably had a white sheet to go with it!

GordonHay
GordonHay

There was no roughing the passer on Ray Hamilton in the 1976 playoffs.  Ben Dreith rides again.  Tuck rule was payback.  

Lacarious
Lacarious

Keep telling it like it is... and please go slap some sense into mark davis.

Rui
Rui

Dear Ms. Trask,

Thank you for your views. I'd like to comment on two of them.

As to #3, I was born in 1967 just outside of D.C., and have been following the Redskins since I was age 5 (1972/George Allen). At that time, Washington was still guilty of institutionalized racism, yet never once in my life from then until now have I heard the name Redskins in ANY other context than in reference to the franchise. Additionally, the logo depicts a strong and determined man. Not so dark as to be clearly African American, nor so light as to be Caucasian: he's every man, thus resonates to each man of strong and determined nature.

As to Thought #7, eliminating school programs would effectively annihilate the NFL, depriving it of both it's future fan base AND its future talent pool. Need I say more to illustrate the deficiency of this notion?

Thank you again for sharing your experience, but Political Correctness is just an adult form of Peer Pressure and Bullying of others of different opinions. I'll listen to your opinions as readily as you listen to our objections to them. Cheers!

junkmagnet2013
junkmagnet2013

Well written Amy. For the rest of you - if you don't think racism & discrimination still exist, then just try having a "National Caucasian History Month" or a "Heterosexual Pride Parade". Everyone from Obama to Jesse Jackson to Richard Simmons would lash out at the racism and discrimination of it. ... but a black person calling another black person "my N....r" is perfectly acceptable.

badcyclist1
badcyclist1

It is amusing that a team that consciously seeks to attract the most thuggish fans in the NFL would criticize another team's image problems.

JohnEspino
JohnEspino

Well written!

I'd also like to mention the constant rule changing and tweaking. I can understand the concern for players health and safety.... But it's football. These guys have been playing their entire lives. They know the risks involved in football. If the game continues to evolve in this direction, eventually it'll become flag football.

ianlinross
ianlinross

You forgot the Holy Roller, Amy. Poor Raiders, always getting shafted.

Merv
Merv

I think I think that White People with guilty consciences about being White should stop telling Native Americans ( of which I am partly one) what is an appropriate name.  Every single Native American Group and every single poll ever taken of Native Americans finds the name Redskins for the NFL team in Washington DC to be fine.  In fact, I would wager that the Redskins are the number one favourite team of Native Americans in the NFL.  (It certainly isn't the Cowboys)

vasanth_n
vasanth_n

"If all people were as blind to racial, gender, religious, ethnic and other differences as Al Davis was, the world would be a much, much better place"


I couldn't agree more. I just wonder what happened to such a pioneer in the last decade that drafted Haywood-Bey, JaMarcus and hired Lane Kiffin. It's going to take Reggie Mckenzie a good 5 years to get them respectable again. I love watching videos of the Raiders from the 70s and 80s - the present bunch is a joke. 

headavguy
headavguy

the problem is as a society we cant pick and choose what is and what is not appropriate. I agree that the name should be changed if it is offensive to some but yet as a society it is OK to have the "N" word in every rap song that is played. We have become so desensitized to certain racial words that we as a culture have become overly politically correct to not offend some but will go out of our way to argue that we should remove certain things that offends others. 

westcoastbias
westcoastbias

Interesting how similar to Al Davis' views hers are.  Wonder who influenced whom.  Gotta chuckle about item 6.

Ciscos
Ciscos

2. I think the best coaches evaluate their rosters and design offensive and defensive game plans that put their players in the best position to succeed.

Yup.  If you have a one size fits all scheme, then chances are you won't be successful.  You either find the players that fit your scheme or you adapt your scheme to the players you have.  You can't run a power offense with guys who are under 5 feet and weigh 140 lbs. 

retro-grouch
retro-grouch

There are very few areas of American public life in which we will tolerate racial, ethnic, or gender insults, and the idea that the dominant culture can patronizingly instruct an embattled minority to "not be insulted" by a crude reference to skin color is absurd.   It's easy to think of many similar historical expressions  which can no longer be used and if used here would cause a post to be censored.

Racism has no place in the NFL.   Shouldn't that be obvious?  Why isn't it obvious? 

ken.burnside
ken.burnside

I vote for renaming the Redskins the Big Brothers, and use the NSA logo on their helmet.  

I predict, once they make this change, that RG3 never throws another incompletion, and nobody in the other jersey ever comes within ten yards of him.

hansen100357
hansen100357

Well done, Amy!  Your points about the Blackout Rule and designing game plans to help the players you have (not the players you wish you had) are very well taken!

windlaker
windlaker

There is NOTHING wrong with the Redskins team name.

It's not meant as an insulting name (why would a team name themselves if it was an insult?)

Too many people take too many things way too seriously.

Mike26
Mike26

@ChrisAitken Chris, I agree that the Redskins shouldn't change their name.

That is all I agree with thought - the rest is just envious cheap shots.

adityase
adityase

@Rui You are delusional if you think the team's logo and mascot do not represent Native Americans.  Not to make a judgment, but where did you pull that out of?  The Redskins do not stand for "each man of strong and determined nature."  Even the team doesn't stoop that low.

thehouseofho
thehouseofho

@Rui I don't think she was advocating the elimination of high school football programs, but stating that the high schools themselves would be evaluating whether or not the liability outweighs the benefits of having a football program.

Scramble
Scramble

@ianlinross They made up for it with steroid super bowl victories. The Steelers aren't the only ones with that distinction.

evil.aaronm
evil.aaronm

@Merv My wife - full-blooded - and son - half-blooded - are Native and neither really cares about it.  I've asked the question, specifically.  Neither do my sister-in-law nor her daughter, both of whom are full-blooded.  On the other hand, at least one full-blooded lacrosse buddy thinks we should have a team with a name like "Dallas Honkies," but he hasn't come out and directly said he doesn't like the name "Redskins."  And within the small community in which I live - my house is a block away from a Native reservation - there's no great overwhelming urge to change the name of the high school team from "Warriors."  Most people are proud of it, given the close connection between the reservation and the school district.

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

@Merv That's rich - a white man speaking on behalf of all Native Americans.  Some of you are so ignorant it's hilarious

Ashvin
Ashvin

@vasanth_n - What a stupid thing to say. No one get's it right 100% of the time. For all his success he has had some misses as well. And it won't take 5 years to fix, not in the era of free agency.

Tommy K
Tommy K

@headavguy agree 100% and very well said. the word and team Redskins has a lot of tradition involved that has no relation to race. yet rap songs, videos, atheletes etc use far worse words in every day conversation. 

steveh1
steveh1

@retro-grouch because the name "redskins" isn't intended to be racist?  nor insulting?  do you think vince lombardi intended it to be racist?  how about joe gibbs?  just because certain colleges and universities (stanford, dartmouth, etc.) abandoned their tradition, why should a professional football team?

cheeseteam
cheeseteam

@windlaker .  The greatest example is the "Fighting Irish".  The Mascot looks like an angry drunken brawling Irish man... And yet everyone loves it (Especially the Irish).  The Redskins chose the name for respect out of the Native American Warrior.  If Redskin was still a derogatory word (Akin to Honky or the N word) then sure- It would not be tolerated.  But when in the past 20 years as one white guy said to another guy- He's only a Redskin... Or- What a lazy Redskin.  You would get puzzled looks.  Redskin has one use and only one use- As the Mascot for a football team with a deep and well respected history.

BigMac
BigMac

@windlaker  If their mascot was a potato, I could agree with you.

RichardAnglemeister
RichardAnglemeister

@windlaker It always has been an insulting name and it always will be an insulting name. The fact that you can't realize this shows where your mind is at. While I agree in general about taking minor things too seriously, this is one thing that needs to be taken seriously. Anyone who doesn't realize this is a big deal is either not intelligent, clueless or a bad person. End of discussion.

ChrisAitken
ChrisAitken

@Mike26 @ChrisAitken  Not envious, and no cheap shots intended, just very weary of a small group of entitled people telling us what is good for us, what is right, and what is wrong. 

Scramble
Scramble

@adityase @Rui There are no Native Americans. The so called Native Americans came from somewhere else.

Merv
Merv

@ProfessorGriff @Merv  Isn't that what you and Ms Trask are attempting to do?  Speak on behalf of Aboriginal peoples and tell them what they should and should not be offended by?  

Why is it Professor that some people can never accept that there beliefs and viewpoints are not always shared by those they think they are protecting?

Scramble
Scramble

@Ashvin @vasanth_n Tell that to the fans of the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens have two super bowl victories and the Browns just have stains in their shorts.

NA_Dellsey
NA_Dellsey

@Tommy K @headavguy I'm sure the Pekin High School Chinks (out of Illinois) had a very proud tradition too.  Still was the proper move to change the name.

Brian63
Brian63

@Tommy K @headavguy

So I guess this isn't offensive?  http://www.grayflannelsuit.net/ephemera/afl-programs/1963/1963-season-kan-bos.html

Yes, we can make all kinds of excuses for this type of game program 49 years ago but to your point this WAS tradition.  So to say that because certain parts of the entertainment industry use one inappropriate word doesn't mean that it's ok for a professional sports franchise to continue the use of a racist label.  I think that was the point of what Amy Trask statement.  Don't make excuses of keeping the team name.  Be better than that.  



NA_Dellsey
NA_Dellsey

@cheeseteam @windlaker by all means, head on over to a reservation and use the word to say hello to all the citizens and see the reaction you get.

headavguy
headavguy

@Brian63 @Tommy K @headavguy  Your missing the whole point. society cant pick and choose when a certain term is offensive or not, it either is or isn't. each side to this argument can cherry pick responses to bolster their argument whether right or wrong. If a word is offensive than it should not be used PERIOD. we as a society deemed it OK for the party who it is offensive about to use the words with themselves without repercussions. 

I am not saying they should not change the name. I am saying we are all a little bit hypocritical if you step back and look at it, and yes myself included this is not a soap box I'm standing on. I think as long as we are either over sensitive or desensitized about certain terms we will never get out the race card game. 

I think the whole thing is wrong. If it offends native americans than change the name BUT it is up to the native americans to push for that change and refrain from that word being used in society amongst themselves or the rest of society will eventually become desensitized to it similar to what is going on with the "N" word. 

You can agree with me on how I am stating the problem in written word but your have no basis to argue to point, society took care of that for me.

evil.aaronm
evil.aaronm

@NA_Dellsey Depends on the connotation.  I live a block from a reservation and have plenty of lacrosse buddies who are Native.  There's a term they have amongst themselves - gunnat - and if you're one of them, or someone they consider a friend, and call them that, it's no big deal.  It's considered a greeting among friends.  But if you're not one of them, it's an insult.  Almost like the n-word.  It depends on who you are and your meaning.

kensnook5150
kensnook5150

@windlaker windlaker is 100% correct. I have several Indian friends and not one of them finds the name offensive.  George and Richard should put their efforts towards making the world better by spending time helping the homeless or any given charity instead of trying to correct this NON issue. 

headavguy
headavguy

@NA_Dellsey @headavguy @ssmtreviews @windlaker Its the exact same thing..The music industry, which is much more profitable and much larger than the NFL sanctions it. As I stated above, each side can make assumptions for their point of view. Stop blaming the Team, The NFL, The music Industry, The white Man, The black man and Native Americans. It is all of society that is to blame...

NA_Dellsey
NA_Dellsey

@headavguy @ssmtreviews @windlaker the difference, of course, is that the use of the word in a song is not the same as a professional sports organization officially sanctioning the use of the word and making sure it must be used in newspapers, on highlight shows, during broadcasts, etc.  If youre a fan of the NFL you can't get away from it and the NFL should consider all of their fans.

headavguy
headavguy

@ssmtreviews @windlaker the problem is as a society we cant pick and choose what is and what is not appropriate. I agree that the name should be changed if it is offensive to some but yet as a society it is OK to have the "N" word in every rap song that is played. We have become so desensitized to certain racial words that we as a culture have become overly politically correct to not offend some but will go out of our way to argue that we should remove certain things that offends others. 

ssmtreviews
ssmtreviews

@windlaker you don't seem to even remotely understand the difference between a name and a term that was used to denigrate, humiliate and otherwise dehumanize a group of people.  

Your comment shows utter ignorance of this issue in your attempt to conflate two issues.

I suggest you google "white privilege" and maybe have your mind expanded.

windlaker
windlaker

Then change the Indians, the Vikings (don't want to offend any Swedes), the Seminoles (there are those pesky Indians names again), the Patriots (don't want to offend any Communists or Obama), the Raiders (don't want to offend any pirates).... want to keep going?

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