An interruption from my series on Barracks Rows’ exploding restaurant scene so as not to bore y’all. The final two segments will run Friday and and some time next week.
Judging by his third column on the need to change the Redskins’ nickname in the past 16 months, Tuesday must have been a slow news day for Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy.
With the attention grabbing headline “It’s time once again to tell Washington’s football team to ditch the ‘Redskins’ racist moniker” (apparently the paper didn’t want to go with “We should change the Redskins’ name because it is racist and Courtland Milloy doesn’t like it so you should read the article to find out why”), Milloy violates a rule that we are all taught as journalists: A news story should have a news peg.
The Redskins’ season ended Sunday. The Redskins have been bad for the last two months, there were plenty of more timely opportunities to run this column, even if it is redundant when weighed against his previous near-identical efforts. But no, on a day of THREE killings in Prince George’s County, where the columnist lives although he often writes as if each of his four limbs reside in a different D.C. quadrant, Milloy pulled out the same tired piece. It’s not that I don’t agree with his points: Yes, the Redskins should change their name for a multitude of reasons. It’s just that his column writing has become Wilbon-esque, seemingly written faster than a DC Crank Tank blog post. Consider the ledes of the three most recent runs at the Redskins name, which ALL lack a time peg and could easily be substituted for each other:
In response to widespread disagreement over the meaning of the name Redskins, I have crafted this interpretive totem pole of words, in lieu of a peace pipe, to help guide at least some Washington football team fans along the path to enlightenment.
Throughout much of the aught years, I put hexes on the Washington Redskins, casting aspersions on the team in column after column in hopes of jinxing every game until they changed that offensive name.
And HOLYCOWTHISHEADLINEISBAD: It’s time once again to tell Washington’s football team to ditch the ‘Redskins’ racist moniker, January 4, 2011
After a recent visit to the National Museum of the American Indian on the Mall, I’m wondering how much longer our city will tolerate having a football team known as “Redskins.”
Milloy is a gifted writer, often provoking discussion and criticism from his columns, which is generally a sign of a good columnist (not so much Petula Dvorak’s stuff about her booger-nosed kids). But on the heels of a spate of killings in Prince George’s and D.C., Washingtonians could use a sobering voice to help make sense of how the level of violence remains high in one of the most successful regions of the world. Instead we got a rip-off of past columns that would earn an “F” from a journalism teacher (“You thought you could submit the same column twice, eh, Mr. Milloy?”)
That’s almost as disappointing as the Redskins’ failure to change their name.