Matthew McConaughey's Opinion on the Washington Redskins Name Is All Wrong, All Wrong, All Wrong
I am generally a proud supporter of the McConaissance. The revival of Matthew McConaughey's career took him from guilty-pleasure romantic comedies to an Oscar-winning performance in Dallas Buyers Club and reminded everyone that this handsome dude with a Texan drawl still has a few more iconic roles left in him. Along the way, he took time to play the enigmatic Detective Rust Cohle in HBO's True Detective, and now we'll never be able to stop thinking about what "time is a flat circle" means. With the epic space blockbuster Interstellar on the horizon, the McConaughey engine is revving up again, and with it comes interviews and some questionable beliefs that I'm not entirely on board with. In an interview with GQ magazine, McConaughey talks life, family, and acting, but what I take issue with is the fact that McConaughey isn't really supportive of the Washington Redskins changing their name.
First of all, yes, the Redskins are McConaughey's favorite team, so how did a Texan boy become a fan of the Redskins in the first place? He told the mag, "First: 4 years old, watching Westerns, I always rooted for the Indians. Second, my favorite food was hamburgers. The Redskins had a linebacker named Chris Hanburger." Well, that's innocent enough. But with old age and the knowledge that those "Indians" are actually Native Americans and definitely not "Redskins," you would think McConaughey would have a change of heart, right? Nope! Here's what he thinks of the proposed name change of Redskins to something less offensive:
Man, it's twofold. What interests me is how quickly it got pushed into the social consciousness. We were all fine with it since the 1930s, and all of a sudden we go, "No, gotta change it"? It seems like when the first levee breaks, everybody gets on board. I know a lot of Native Americans don't have a problem with it, but they're not going to say, "No, we really want the name." That's not how they're going to use their pulpit. It's like my feeling about gun control: "I get it. You have the right to have guns. But look, let's forget that right. Let's forget the pleasure you get safely on your range, because it's in the wrong hands in other places."
Oh, McConaughey. To tell you all the truth, I never liked him much for the things that came out of his mouth, other than the delightful "alright, alright, alright" that has become his signature mating call — I mean, calling card. Ignoring what he said about gun control — that opens up a completely different can of worms — I take issue with the fact that he's concerned with how everyone was fine with the name being offensive and demeaning until they weren't. Well, as it happens, Americans were fine with a lot of things until they knew better. Slavery and segregation, for one. The illegality of same-sex marriages, for another. Americans have (for the most part) come to see the error of their ways on those two subjects, so what's wrong with realizing that this offensive NFL team name needs to go?
McConaughey isn't alone in his stance to keep the football team's name the way it is. A poll conducted in September revealed that 58 percent of NFL players support keeping the Redskins name. Another poll conducted by ESPN, revealed that the public (or at least ESPN viewers) also support keeping the same name. For McConaughey, it's more about the feeling he gets from seeing the Redskins emblem that makes him want to cheer on his team:
It's just... I love the emblem. I dig it. It gives me a little fire and some oomph. But now that it's in the court of public opinion, it's going to change. I wish it wouldn't, but it will.
McConaughey probably won't hurt too many feelings with this sentiment because he has a right to his own opinion and his fans simply wouldn't drop him for feeling this way about the Redskins. However, to say that he knows a lot of Native Americans who don't have a problem with it doesn't make it okay. Even President Obama weighed in on the name-change, saying he would "think about changing" the name if he were the owner. And if it comes down to choosing between McConaughey and Obama on this one, I think my loyalties are going to lie with the person who isn't fine with a derogatory term as the name of a football team. In this instance, McConaughey is all wrong, all wrong, all wrong.
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