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'Daily Show' airs controversial Washington Redskins segment

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Daily Show Redskins
Comedy Central

Part of the fun of the Daily Show is watching passionate—though not always eloquent—people make their case for a cause that’s important to them (and sometimes only them).

It’s fair to say that some eventually regret opening their mouths on TV. Last week, a Virginia woman who volunteered to defend the Washington Redskins nickname in a segment contacted the police and the Washington Post after she and three other Washington football fans were introduced by Jason Jones to several Native American activists protesting the nickname, which they consider a slur. “The encounter at a Dupont Circle hotel was so tense that an Alexandria fan said she left in tears and felt so threatened that she later called the police,” Ian Ahapira wrote in the Post. “She has told the Daily Show to leave her out of the segment but doesn’t know whether the producers will comply.”

Well, Jon Stewart aired the segment Thursday night after acknowledging the controversy:

“We learned later that some of the individuals who participated in the piece, they didn’t enjoy the experience. It’s something that happens a lot less than you would think. But we take the complaint seriously. We generally don’t want people who participate in the show to have a bad experience. We work very hard to find real people who have real beliefs and want to express those beliefs on television, and we work hard to make sure that the gist of those beliefs are represented accurately, albeit sometimes comedically on our program. If we find out that someone in a piece was intentionally misled or if their comments were intentionally misrepresented, we do not air that piece. We would not air that piece. So that being said… I hope you enjoy the following piece.”

Jones spoke with both sides, but clearly empathized with the Native Americans. The money quote came from one of the football fans, who said without irony, “If the Redskins name is changed and I have children one day, what will I pass on to them?”

When one of the football fans suggested that the real problem was that the two camps weren’t sitting down with each other to have this serious discussion, Jones jumped on it and brought the Native Americans into the room. According to the Post, a heated confrontation ensued. Jones acknowledged that fact in the segment, and it seems like the Daily Show may have left out video of any ugly exchanges and closed with a tense handshake.

In other news, the Washington Redskins lost to the New York Giants Thursday night, 45-14.