Mike Ditka may have opened up Pandora’s Box with his commentary on the Washing Redskins name controversy. In an interview with Mike Richman, The Redskins Historian, Ditka gave the following blunt criticism of politics, liberals and the ongoing Redskins debate (transcription via Washington Post):
“What’s all the stink over the Redskin name?” Ditka said. “It’s so much shit it’s incredible. We’re going to let the liberals of the world run this world. It was said out of reverence, out of pride to the American Indian. 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.
“Its been the name of the team since the beginning of football. It has nothing to do with something that happened lately, or something that somebody dreamed up. This was the name, period. Leave it alone. These people are silly — asinine, actually, in my opinion.
“It’s all the political correct idiots in America, that’s all it is. It’s got nothing to do with anything else. We’re going to change something because we can. Hey listen, I went through it in the 60s, too. I mean, come on. Everybody lined up, did this. It’s fine to protest. That’s your right, if you don’t like it, protest. You have a right to do that, but to change the name, that’s ridiculous. Change the Constitution — we’ve got people trying to do that, too, and they’re doing a pretty good job.
In regards to Washington owner Daniel Snyder, he apparently has an ally in Iron Mike.
“I admire him for it,” Ditka said. “Really, I think it’s tradition, it’s history, it’s part of the National Football League. It was about Sammy Baugh and all the guys who were Redskins way back then. I didn’t think that Lombardi and Halas never had a problem with it, why would all these other idiots have a problem with the name? I’m sorry. I’m not very tolerant when it comes to the liberals who complain about everything.”
As of now there has been no formal comment from ESPN. While in the past it has not concerned itself with Ditka’s politics, with the added components of the NFL, Redskins hot-button issue, and term “Brownskins,” it’ll be interesting to see the Worldwide Leader’s reaction – especially on the heels of PR dustups from other prominent on-air talent in the wake of the Ray Rice saga.