City Desk

Cheap Seats Daily: Could Chief Zee Sway Supreme Court Case?

There's trouble in maroon-and-black-and-yellow land. The mood is so toxic that even a nice plea to help out Chief Zee, the headdress-wearing longtime unofficial mascot of the Redskins and among the nicest, naivest, old-school mega-racists you'd ever meet, turned real ugly real fast.

Somebody posted a notice on Dan Snyder's message board, Extremeskins, alerting fans that a fundraiser will be thrown in Arlington next week to help pay medical bills for Chief Zee (real name Zema Williams).

Time was, such a post in these friendly confines would elicit nothing more controversial than "How much does he need?" But these days, even wins are booed. So the thread immediately disintegrated into an interrogation of the original poster, with some folks wondering why Williams needs another fundraiser—"He can afford season tickets, but not medical bills?" huffed the poster brianm23—and others asking why give money to a guy Chief Zee's age, since he should have all his health care covered by those socialist programs, Medicare and Medicaid.

(AFTER THE JUMP: That blogger called Chief Zee WHAT? Would Justice Scalia cringe at Chief Zee's costume? WJFK's crushing WTEM? It's a good time to unaffiliated with Dan Snyder? The last Guaranteed Win Night of 2009?)

I've met and talked to Chief Zee, and he's a real pleasant, happy old guy. To longtime Skins fans desensitized to the offensiveness of his caricatured costume, Chief Zee is the football fan equivalent of a combat vet: He had his leg broken by Eagles fans in the parking lot of Veterans Stadium after a 1983 Skins/Philly game. Williams described the beating to me a some years ago:

"They treated me like chopped meat," he says. "They ripped off my costume, smashed my eye socket so my eyeball was just hanging out, snapped my leg like it was a twig, and yelled, 'You won't be jumping up and down in this stadium anymore!' They left me lying in my underclothes."

But to pretty much everybody without allegiance to our NFL team, Chief Zee is a feather-and-moccasin-wearing symbol of everything wrong with having a franchise named "Redskins."

As a blogger from stuffblackpeoplehate.com explained last year:

For people who aren’t from the Washington D.C. area, Zema Williams (a.k.a. Chief Zee) is the racist asshole who throws on a warbonnet and beaded warshirt at Washington Redskins games and proceeds to dance around like an unmitigated fucktard. He has become the unofficial de facto mascot of the Redskins, despite the fact that he’s basically Native America’s Al Jolson in blackface.There isn’t enough space on this blog to list everything that’s wrong with what he’s doing, nor is there enough space to explain how offended Native people and I, as a Native person, are offended by this assclown. What possibly sticks in the craw the most is the fact that November 7, 1985 was declared ‘Chief Zee’ day in Washington D.C. – right smack in the middle of American Indian Heritage Month. Fuck you very much whoever’s idea that was.

Now on to the much shorter and more easily explained reason why this, and indeed the very fact that a team called the ‘Redskins‘ is even allowed to exist, bothers me as a black man:

Black people are next.

Perhaps stuffblackpeoplehate.com will present an amicus brief if the Supreme Court hears Harjo v. Pro Football Inc., the lawsuit that challenges the trademark protections enjoyed by Dan Snyder with his Redskins merch.

Or maybe the lead plaintiff in the case against Snyder, Suzan Harjo, should just rent Chief Zee for a day if her case comes up, and just have him walk around the Supreme Court entrance in costume. Even Antonin Scalia would admit have to admit "Redskins" is offensive after a glimpse at Zee's gameday getup.

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Update on the sportstalk war: DCRTV reports that the Dan Snyder-owned WTEM is getting grounded and pounded by non-Dan Snyder-owned WJFK in the key demographic of 25-54 year old males.

The latest ratings book includes the NFL preseason, which would figure to be the high holy days for Snyder's frequency, what with its total access to the Redskins. But according to a radio industry source, WJFK beat WTEM in every time slot in the Erectile Dysfunction demo they both are going after.

WJFK boss Chris Kinard admits it's a good time to not be affiliated with Dan Snyder.

"Our goal has always been to provide a platform for the fans for whatever they want to get off their chest," says Kinard. "The way things have gone in the last 10 years for the most beloved franchise in Washington, D.C., that frustration was apparent in the stadium last weekend, and that frustration has been apparent on our airwaves."

The WTEM/WJFK feud has already produced off-air entertainment. WJFK brilliantly hired the Redskins cheerleaders to work the press party announcing the station would be flipping to a sports station and challenging WTEM, meaning Snyder's favorite play-toy was used to sell the opposition.

Snyder rebounded from the cheerleader stunt by using backdoor channels to crush WJFK's attempt to open the FanZone, a tailgate friendly parking lot near FedExField that was planned as WJFK's first marketing extravaganza after the flip to sports talk.

Another big chapter in the stations' rivalry will come with the next ratings book, scheduled for release Oct. 8, which will be the first book to include numbers from Tony Kornheiser, who came back to local airwaves after being kicked out of the Monday Night Football booth. If WJFK continues winning that time slot with Mike Wise, it'll be turn out the lights, the party's over for Snyder and Kornheiser as sportstalkers.

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The Nationals get bombed by Los Angeles, 14-2.  That puts Washington at 51-99.

One tick away from the century mark!

It's been a while since we had an R²D²™ Update! L.A. has now outscored the opposition by a Major League-best 179 runs on the season; Washington has been outscored by a Major League-worst 164 runs.

So, let's take a look at the big board, just returned by Jerry Lewis: The Nats now have a negative-343-run-run-differential-differential with the Dodgers, or an R²D²™ of -343!

Wow! The Nats are to R²D²™ as Hussein Bolt is to the 100 meters, only opposite! Vegas can't be surprised they got blown out by 12 runs last night!

But all bets are off with the squad teetering on still another 100 loss season.

All bets except one, that is! It's time for Cheap Seats Daily's famous Guaranteed Win Night™! That's right, for the last time of 2009, put the mortgage on the Nats to win tonight at Nationals Park!*

And remember, if the bet doesn't come in, the rest of the season is free!

*Don't really put the mortgage on the Nats, dumbass....UNLESS YOU GET PLEASURE OUT OF WINNING LARGE SUMS OF COLD, HARD CASH!

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Story tips? Wanna Play the Feud? Tube amps for sale? Send to: cheapseats@washingtoncitypaper.com

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