Skins games: The pressure continues to mount on the Washington Redskins professional football team to dump its archaic and racist nickname, which the team has steadfastly refused to do.
Recently, two influential NFL voices — including CBS lead analyst Phil Simms — said they likely won’t use the term “Redskins” when discussing the franchise.
NBC’s Tony Dungy, one of the most prominent voices in the league as a Super Bowl-winning coach and now as a studio commentator, plans to take the same route as Simms.
A longtime referee asked NFL officials not to assign him to any Redskins games. “It just became clear to me that to be in the middle of the field, where something disrespectful is happening, was probably not the best thing for me,” said Mike Carey, who recently retired after 19 years of officiating.
In the meantime, the Washington Post, in what can be best described as the most spineless editorial stand in recent memory, said it will no longer used the term “Redskins” in their editorials but would allow it to continue in news and sports stories.
The Post should also avoid the term “courageous” when referring to themselves.
I visited this topic in a column that ran last November. In it, I wrote that my choice for the team name would be the Warriors. This not only honors the men and women who have fought and died for this country but acknowledges the bravery of the American Indians who fought to preserve their lands.
There are more light-hearted options, of course. In keeping with the current atmosphere in Washington, we could call the team the Bureaucrats, or the Spendthrifts, the Fillibusterers, Gridlockers or Can Kickers. Better yet, the Partisans.
But I have an even better idea. Why not name the team after the administration that holds power at any given time? We could have the Obamacats, the Bushwackers, the Slick Willies, the Gippers, the Tricky Dicks…you get the idea.
Just think of the millions the team would make in sales and marketing revenue by changing its name every four or eight years.
Squeeze Play: For the third time in nine days, a fight over reclining seats caused a commercial airline flight to be diverted.
Not surprising. That’s what happens when there’s more room in a MRI tube than an economy class seat.
It seems that an effort over the past decade by carriers to expand higher-fare sections has shrunk the area devoted to coach on many big jetliners. But airlines don’t want to dump passengers. So they slimmed seats to add more rows.
Now, according to data collected by MSN, the 16.7-inch seat is becoming the norm. Just for the sake of comparison, a stadium seat is 19 inches wide, Amtrak coach seats are 20.5 inches and movie theater seats 25 inches.
A first-class seat measures in at 21 inches,
So now we have a cabin full of snarling passengers who are prepared to divert a flight rather than surrender an inch of space caused by a reclining seat.
Thank God first-class passengers have a curtain to separate them from the Dickensian rabble in the back of the plane.
This isn’t new. Three years ago, I wrote about an incident that occurred as I was flying to Denver and became a hapless victim of Abrupt Recliner Syndrome.
I was sitting in the last row of seats. A woman sitting in front of me quickly thrust her seat as far back as it would go but I couldn’t recline in self defense because last row seats don’t adjust.
She was so close I could smell her toothpaste.
I eventually called the flight attendant because I couldn’t drop the tray table in front of me.
No fisticuffs ensued. No fighter jet escorts were required. But my fellow passenger was clearly miffed and I was just as determined not to spend the flight in the pre-natal position. We didn’t exit the plane holding hands.
I realize that in this day and age it’s frowned upon to seek help from the federal government. But if we don’t want to be stacked in economy class like the galley slaves of old, maybe someone should intervene.
Ex-Press: Newbie journalist Chelsea Clinton announced this week that she is retiring her NBC press pass to devote her energies to the Clinton Foundation and more importantly, the impending birth of her first child.
Don’t look for an outbreak of going-away parties.
I wrote last month that she had been hired to do feel-good stories as part of NBC News’s “Making a Difference” franchise. And for that she was paid $600,000 per year, three to six times the salary that people from less-high-profile families snare only through years of tireless work covering the news, according to the Washington Post.
That boils down to roughly $26,724 for each minute she appeared on air, according to one estimate.
“I’m sure that that salary figure is going to make other NBC correspondents’ heads spin right off their shoulders,” the Post story concluded.
Chelsea wasn’t the only big-bucks celebrity journalist to hit the jackpot. Sarah Palin allegedly hauled in $1 million a year working for Fox. That figures out to about to about $15.85 a word during her two-year stint, according to one study.
Robert Rector is a veteran of 50 years in print journalism. He has worked at the San Francisco Examiner, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Valley News, Los Angeles Times and Pasadena Star-News. He can be reached at Nulede@Aol.Com.