South Park opened its 18th season with a highly hyped takedown of NFL team owner Dan Snyder. The boys of South Park launch a company on Kickstarter and decide to call their company The Washington Redskins, because it’s available since the “court thingy.” (In June, the U.S. Patent Office canceled trademark protection for the team name because it said it was an insult to Native Americans; that move threatened millions of dollars in merchandising, sponsorships, etc. The team has appealed that ruling.)
Snyder argues it makes his team seem a joke and says he’s deeply offended; Cartman insists the gang has a deep appreciation and admiration for Snyder’s “people.” Privately, however, the boys acknowledge “digging in our heels and pissing on public opinion is what the Redskins are all about!” Snyder turns to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who is revealed to be a robot with only a limited repertoire of cliches — and they’ve all been used in his handling of the league’s domestic violence scandal. Goodell’s voice makes its South Park debut in that scene.
Comedy Central has launched a major offensive against the Washington NFL team over its name, debuting the promo for the South Park season debut episode, “Go Fund Yourself,” during the fourth quarter of the team’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday night. Meanwhile, Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show has yet to air a controversial segment in which correspondent Jason Jones interviewed four die-hard Redskins fans who support use of the slur as the team’s name. The four fanatics say they were duped by The Daily Show and, in the course of the pre-taped interview, they were ambushed by Native Americans — an ambush that left the team fans feeling in danger and “defamed.” The producers had said the segment would include Native Americans weighing in on the name controversy, but assured then there would be no ambush because that would be “too serious” for the late-night comedy/faux news program, the fans told WaPo. In the segment, the Native Americans also were taken to FedEx Field to interact with other team fans as they tailgated before a game, some of whom screamed obscenities at them.
Last March, social media went all Lord of the Flies when @ColbertReport tweeted out a single line that Stephen Colbert had delivered on the show, mocking Snyder’s reaction to the calls to change the team name. Snyder, in an effort to placate those wanting the change — including President Obama — had just announced his formation of a foundation to help Native Americans. Proving his critics’ point, Snyder hilariously named the foundation The Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation. Colbert subsequently had to devote an entire episode of his show to a rebuttal of #CancelColbert over that line in that segment about the team.
“The Interweb tried to swallow me whole. But I am proud to say that I got lodged in its throat and it hacked me back up, like a hastily chewed chicken wing,” Colbert told fans who’d tuned in to see how he would respond to the kerfuffle, which had been a top trending topic on Twitter for two days running.