Before the NFL became mired in its current quagmire of bad press – the Ray Rice incident, Adrian Peterson’s legal issues, Roger Goodell’s press conference, the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense – there was another controversy that threatened the league’s standing: the Washington Redskins’ name.
Yes, despite the pleas of just about anyone with a conscience, and a U.S. Patent Office decision to cancel the team’s trademark on grounds that it was “disparaging of Native Americans,” team owner Daniel Snyder remained resolute. He would not change the team’s name – which me maintained was a tribute to a proud people and their heritage.
In recent months, the Redskins controversy has faded from the headlines. Luckily, South Park is here to bring it all back to the forefront.
On Wednesday night’s season premiere, the show skewered Snyder and his team on an episode that saw Cartman, Stan, Kyle and Kenny launch a start-up company they decided to call “The Washington Redskins,” using the Patent Office’s June ruling as the basis for their decision (other potential names included “Boner Balls” and “Pungent Crotch Sweat”).
This understandably draws the ire of Snyder, who approaches the boys – along with head coach Jay Gruden and new QB Kirk Cousins (added at the last minute following Robert Griffin’s injury) – and demands they ditch the name. Of course, Cartman uses Snyder’s own logic to defend his use of the brand.
“We have total respect for you,” he tells Snyder, adding they chose the Redskins name “Out of deep appreciation for your team and your people.”
As is often the case with South Park, Wednesday’s episode didn’t stop there, managing to work in jabs at Goodell’s stiff press conference last Friday (he’s referred to as “The Goodell-bot,” and his actual non-answers from the presser were used), Cowboys owner Jerry Jones’ philandering, ISIS, Kickstarter and the iPhone 6 launch. There were also references to the Rice case and, in one particularly scathing exchange, a series of jokes that compared the faux morality of the NFL with that of the Catholic Church.
Yes, it was an episode for the ages, the kind that reminds you no one is capable of striking faster – and scoring more direct hits – that South Park.