Ditka dubs Redskins dispute 'stupid'

Updated: August 20, 2014, 2:43 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Former Chicago Bears coach and current ESPN analyst Mike Ditka said it would be "ridiculous" to change the Washington Redskins nickname in an interview with RedskinsHistorian.com's Mike Richman.

In the interview conducted Aug. 7 and posted last week, Ditka poses the question: "What's all the stink over the Redskins name?"

"It was said out of reverence, out of pride to the American Indian," he said in the interview. "Even though it was called a Redskin, what are you going to call them, a Brownskin?

"This is so stupid it's appalling, and I hope that owner keeps fighting for it and never changes it, because the Redskins are part of an American football history, and it should never be anything but the Washington Redskins. That's the way it is."

Calls to change the team's nickname have increased recently.

In June, the United States Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team's trademarks in a 2-1 ruling on the basis they are "disparaging to Native Americans." The team has appealed the ruling and has said it is confident it will be overturned.

Several politicians have urged NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to force team owner Daniel Snyder to change the team's name, including Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. Harry Reid and former secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. President Barack Obama said last year that if he owned the Redskins, "I'd think about changing [the name]."

Earlier this month, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley said on his Facebook page that it is "probably time" for the Redskins to change the nickname. The team plays in Landover, Maryland, at FedEx Field.

The Democratic governor, who is mulling running for president, posted: "I was asked earlier today and answered that I do believe it is probably time for the Washington Redskins to change their team name.''

Goodell has not pressured Snyder to change the name and has said he stands by his stance that the name honors Native Americans.

Snyder told ESPN's "Outside the Lines" earlier this month that he won't change the team's name because it is not disparaging to Native Americans but instead a term of honor and respect.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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