tom jones' two cents
It's time for the Washington Redskins to change their nickname.
If American Indians are offended, no non-American Indians should or can say they're wrong for being offended. Seriously, how can someone who is not an American Indian have the right to determine what is or is not offensive to someone who is?
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder wrote a letter last week saying he respects the opinion of those who are offended but said, "We cannot ignore our 81-year history."
Saying the team should keep the name because of tradition might be the lamest excuse I've ever heard. Let's keep doing something because that's the way we've always done it, regardless of people's feelings?
In addition, Snyder pointed to a nine-year-old poll of 800 American Indians in which 9 of 10 did not find the name offensive.
So what is Snyder saying? That not enough people are offended to change the name? Maybe Snyder can tell us exactly how many people must be offended for the name to be changed?
Please tell me that Snyder is not such an idiot that he actually believes the team is honoring American Indians with this nickname. I've got news for you: American Indians do not feel honored by this name.
If American Indians, even a small minority of them, are offended, that should be enough to warrant a change. Fans of the team are not going to abandon them if they are called by some other name. Meantime, Snyder can make a powerful statement and be a leader of change. Why should he? Because it's the right thing to do.
As the baseball season moves to the league championship series stage, here's one take on the five greatest LCS games in history.
1986 NLCS Game 6: The Mets led the series three games to two but needed to win Game 6 to avoid facing Astros pitcher Mike Scott, who was practically unbeatable, in Game 7. In a wild extra-inning game, Houston's Billy Hatcher tied it in the bottom of the 14th with a solo homer. The Mets scored three in the 16th, then held off Houston in the bottom of the inning for a 7-6 victory.
1986 ALCS Game 5: The Angels had a 3-1 series lead over the Red Sox and were one out away from their first trip to the World Series when pitcher Donnie Moore gave up a homer to Dave Henderson to give Boston a 6-5 lead. The Angels tied it in the ninth, but the Red Sox won in extra innings and then took the series back to Boston, where they won the final two games and advanced to the World Series.
1992 NLCS Game 7: The Braves trailed the Pirates 2-0 going to the bottom of the ninth but rallied to win when little-known Francisco Cabrera singled home two runs with two outs, including the winner scored by former Pirate Sid Bream. The Pirates did not return to the postseason, or even have a winning record, until this season.
2003 ALCS Game 7: Red Sox manager Grady Little left starting pitcher Pedro Martinez in the game too long and the Yankees rallied from a 5-2 deficit in the eighth to tie the score. The Yankees won on Aaron Boone's walkoff homer in the bottom of the 11th.
1985 NLCS Game 6: The Dodgers led 5-4 with two outs in the ninth and were one out away from sending the series to a decisive seventh game. With runners on second and third, Dodgers skipper Tommy Lasorda did not walk Jack Clark and, instead, had reliever Tom Niedenfuer pitch to him. Clark cracked a three-run homer to send the Cards to the World Series.
ABC/ESPN's NBA Countdown is getting quite the shakeup. First, and I'm guessing a lot of viewers are not going to be broken up about this, Magic Johnson (below) is stepping away because he apparently has too many other commitments in his life. I thought Johnson got a little better last season, but overall, he was the weakest part of the show and is not going to be missed.
Meantime, Michael Wilbon's role on the show is being diminished to the point that he might hardly, if even, be on. Former NBA coach Doug Collins is expected to replace him. The Wilbon part is both good and bad news.
The good news is that Wilbon can dedicate more time to his bread-and-butter show, Pardon the Interruption. Because of his NBA duties, Wilbon has often either missed PTI or had to link up via satellite with partner Tony Kornheiser. This show only works when it's Kornheiser and Wilbon, and it doesn't work as well when Wilbon is not in studio with Kornheiser.
The bad news is Wilbon is outstanding on NBA Countdown and will be missed.
But I'd rather see ESPN and Wilbon showing this kind of commitment to Pardon the Interruption, which remains a solid show when Wilbon and Kornheiser are together.
As far as Countdown, I'm hoping Doris Burke, who is already signed up to be on the show on Wednesdays, gets a more expanded role. She's outstanding.
• If you are a reader of Sports Illustrated's popular "Hot Clicks" section of the "Extra Mustard" blog, here's a jolt: the author, Jimmy Traina, has been hired away by Fox Sports to cover sports and pop culture. His new duties at Fox also will include a podcast.
• Rachel Nichols, who was in town last week to cover the Rays-Red Sox series for TBS, launches her new CNN show, Unguarded With Rachel Nichols, on Friday nights, starting Oct. 25 at 10:30.
• So far, the 12 most-watched television shows since Labor Day are NFL games. Coming in at No. 13 was the season premier of CBS's The Big Bang Theory (right), which attracted 20.4 million viewers.
Three things that popped into my head
1. It was stunning how many people wrote in to complain just how disappointed they were in TBS's coverage of the baseball playoffs, particularly the Rays-Red Sox series. It's common for me to get a handful of emails complaining about coverage when a series or event involves a Tampa Bay team, but these emails ran into the dozens and were not from a bunch of crackpots. The emails, for the most part, were intelligent, calm and very much matter-of-fact. And all absolutely blistered TBS, involving everything from the announcers to the camera work to the graphics.
2. One outdoor hockey game a season is really cool. Having six this season? That's way too much. It's like ice cream. One scoop equals great. But do you want six?
3. Many, including media critic Ed Sherman, pointed out that Tuesday's Game 4 of the Rays-Red Sox series took 3 hours, 41 minutes and was only a 3-1 game. And all agree: That's ridiculous.