Lawrence O'Donnell: "Redskins" owner is the new George Wallace or something

A must-see via the Corner, not because O’Donnell’s suggesting one is as bad as the other — he isn’t really — but because it’s a lesson in how quickly leftist opinion can transform an esoteric issue that they’ve ignored for decades into bien-pensant conventional wisdom that demands hysterical demonization of its opponents. Bob Costas is another perfect example. When exactly did it occur to him, wonders Joe Concha, that “Redskins” is “problematic”?

I mentioned earlier that Bob is 61. That said, he’s been in broadcasting for nearly 40 years, entering the fray in 1974 St. Louis before hitting the big-time nationally in the early ‘80s. That said, the Redskins have played (including playoffs) about 640 games since Costas was given a megaphone to voice his opinion. NBC owned rights to the NFL during the start of Costas’ career at the network until 1997, and again from 2006 to present day. Having that said, Costas had literally hundreds of opportunities to voice his opinion on the Redskins name during an NFL telecast.

But only after a few other prominent white sports writers and reporters came out against the name did Costas have his epiphany, find his voice on taking on Dan Snyder—the owner of a NFL’s most profitable team…a team that hasn’t seen even a blip in loss of revenue for using a name for 81 years that Costas now deems as a racial slur.

Of course, if he had led on the topic, as ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser (formerly of the Washington Post) has since 1992 (and was basically a lone major voice on the topic in sports media until recently), that’s one thing. But for Costas to raise a hand and be part of the “Me too!” crowd is, quite frankly, an obvious show of conformity for conformity’s sake.

I checked our archives to see when our own blogging about the anti-“Redskins” movement began. Could be that this subject, which has been percolating for ages, reached full boil on the left a long time ago, but if it did, we missed it. The first notice we took of it was Erika’s post in March about a small group of congressional Democrats trying to do something legislatively about it. (They’re still trying, by the way.) A few weeks later there was something about the D.C. City Council wanting to do something about it. Then Redskins owner Dan Snyder made his big blunder: He told USA Today, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps.” That was him essentially daring the left to try to force him by engineering new “enlightened” ground rules on “Redskins” usage for the media and political class. A few months later, “Slate” dropped the word; Rachel Maddow followed suit and then, inevitably, Obama was asked about it and tepidly endorsed changing the name. And so now, with record speed, here’s O’D in the highest self-righteous dudgeon towards people who hold a position that virtually no one gave a wet fart about six months ago. To me, that’s the worst part of the whole anti-Redskins phenomenon. It’s not opposing the term itself that’s annoying; that’s defensible. It’s not even getting indignant with people who don’t see a problem with using it. It’s the sanctimony coupled with the faddishness of the whole thing. How dare Dan Snyder disagree with something that the left didn’t care about five minutes ago? How dare he? Somewhere the owner of the Cleveland Indians is watching all this and wondering when it’ll be his turn, and who’ll decide when it is.

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