Matthew McConaughey is November's GQ cover star and, in the accompanying interview by Brett Martin, the Oscar-winning actor waded into the controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins and its much-derided team name.
"What interests me is how quickly it got pushed into the social consciousness," McConaughey said in the interview of the movement to alter the Redskins nickname. "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.'"
Debate over Washington's National Football League team moniker has been in the news for some time. Most recently, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler said the name was "offensive and derogatory." In 2013, President Barack Obama said he would "think about changing" the handle if he were the owner.
"I think you're going to have some people that feel a certain way, absolutely, and we respect those opinions," team owner Daniel Snyder told ESPN in a September interview about opponents to the Redskins name. "But I hope they respect our opinion. The respect needs to be mutual, and I hope they do." Snyder has previously stated that Washington's team name is not derogatory to Native Americans.
But for McConaughey, who has been a Redskins fan since his childhood and even attended a team practice in June of this year, it's only a matter of time before a change to the Washington name occurs.
"It’s not going to hurt me. It’s just ... I love the emblem," McConaughey told GQ. "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."