‘Daily Show’ segment gets under football fans’ skin

Last night, Comedy Channel’s Daily Show finally aired its segment on the Washington Redskins, almost a week after some of the participants themselves objected to what they said about the team’s racist nickname.

At issue was a forced meeting between Native Americans and fans of the team who were being interviewed by cast member Jason Jones.

The Washington Post reports that most of that confrontation was cut out of the piece.

“This goes way beyond mocking. Poking fun is one thing, but that’s not what happened,” said Kelli O’Dell, 56, a former teacher who lives in Alexandria and doesn’t watch the show regularly. “It was disingenuous. The Native Americans accused me of things that were so wrong. I felt in danger. I didn’t consent to that. I am going to be defamed.”

Brian Dortch, who runs a home-repair business in Dinwiddie, Va., and counts himself a Comedy Central fan, said he and his fellow Redskins supporters asked producers in advance whether they would have to face off with Native Americans.

“They told us they were going to have a fan panel, and, at some other time, they were going to do a panel with Native Americans,” said Dortch, 38. “So I said back, ‘Just to clarify, specifically, we’re not doing a cross-panel discussion right?’ The producer said, ‘Yeah, right. That would be too serious for Comedy Central.’ ”

Among those confronting the Redskin fans was Tara Houska, a 2012 graduate of the University of Minnesota who is a member of the Couchiching First Nation in Fort Frances, Ontario and was born and raised in International Falls, Minn.

“My heart goes out to them because they are people, too,” Houska told the Post. “But it’s a weird position for them to take, because someone is crying over the loss of their offensive mascot when I am right there, standing in front of them. I don’t think they’re racist. I think their mascot is racist.”

Watch the video here.

  • I watched that last night and yeah, it was pretty tense, but I don’t feel bad for the fans backing such an obvious racist mascot / name.

  • Dave

    I remember this exact topic being raised in my high school history class more than 20 years ago. One student said that the Native American names chosen for team mascots are to “honour” those people. He (a white kid) added, “I’m not offended by the Patriots or the Yankees.” Even my adolescent mind knew that was bogus.

    I recently paged thru some of my dad’s high school yearbook. He graduated from a high school whose mascot (at the time) was called the Lonesome Polecat. It is an Indian in headdress, running, with a raised tomahawk. The fans and owners need to think about that. The team names and mascots are chosen because of the perceived intimidation afforded by the stereotype of a savage indian. It’s savagery.


    Daily Show should do more on this issue. Specifically, they should investigate why the ownership is resistant. There is no way that Daniel Snyder thinks it’s an “honourable” name. So what is it? Is it the cost associated with changing the name? Do they see it as losing the “PC” war? That is, giving in to special interest groups? Are they getting heat from the owners of the Cleveland Indians or Atlanta Braves? Chicago Blackhawks? Because all of them are the next dominoes if the Redskins fall.

    • Seneca HS still has that cartoonish mascot displayed??

      • Dave

        They changed their mascot quite a long time ago. They are now the Red Hawks. That page is a link to their history.

  • Kassie

    One of the Native American women in the video talks about how she lives in DC and every single day she is confronted with the racist symbols, but these people feel bad because they were confronted once. I have no sympathy and hope somehow, someday, they see they are wrong.

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    “I don’t think they’re racist. I think their mascot is racist.”

    That’s a distinction our society no longer makes, sorry.

  • Nicholas Kraemer

    Whatever point the Daily Show wanted to make was blunted by the fact that they lied to get the supporters of the name on the show. People do not tend to respond well when they are blind sided. Such shallow, pathetic tricks like this only serve to harden the resolve of people who insist on clinging to the name.