The Washington Redskins are the latest target of South Park, the animated adult comedy now in its 18th season on Comedy Central. Team owner Dan Snyder is spoofed in the commercial, which aired Sunday night in the DC television market during the Washington-Philadelphia Eagles game. Snyder has defended the team’s name as meaning “honor, respect”.
Eric Cartman, a main character and potty-mouthed fourth grade friend to Kyle, Stan and Kenny, often serves as a South Park villain. The commercial shows Cartman running a business using the Washington Redskins name with a sign that says “corporate headquarters” taped to a desk. In the cartoon, team owner Dan Snyder demands that Cartman, “in the name of decency,” stop using the team’s name, adding that it was “offensive” and “derogatory” to use the name for his own business.
“I have total respect for you,” Cartman says with a fake grin. “When I named my company Washington Redskins it was out of deep appreciation for your team and your people.”
South Park’s spoof comes after months of controversy over the continued use of the Washington Redskins name, which team owner Dan Snyder has refused to change. The United States Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team’s trademark in June 2014, saying that it is “disparaging to Native Americans”.
“A Redskin is a football player,” Snyder told ESPN. “Redskin is our fans. The Washington Redskin fanbase represents honor, represents respect, represents pride, hopefully winning… um, um… and it’s a positive.”
“We sing ‘Hail to the Redskins.’ We don’t say hurt anybody. We say ‘Hail to the Redskins. Braves on the warpath. Fight for old D.C.’ We only sing it when we score touchdowns. That’s the problem because last season we didn’t sing it quite enough as we would’ve liked to,” Snyder added with a joke.
Snyder has dug in his heels on the issue, saying in 2013 that the team would “never” change its name.