Chief Zee

Chief Zee

Chief Zee with fans at FedEx Field on December 4, 2011

Chief Zee, real name Zema Williams, is a well-known fan and unofficial mascot of the Washington Redskins of the National Football League. Dressed in a faux American Indian headdress, rimmed glasses, and a red jacket, Chief Zee has been attending Redskins games since 1978.[1] He, and other local sports personalities, are featured in a number of television commercials for Eastern Motors, a Washington, D.C. and Baltimore area car dealership.[2][3][4]

History

Chief Zee first showed up in costume on September 5, 1978.[5] In 1983, Chief Zee attended a game against the Eagles at Veterans Stadium. While at the game, he was attacked by Eagles fans angry at [6] their team's 10-point loss to the Redskins - the fans broke his leg, tore off his original costume, and left him hospitalized.[7] The altercation hasn't kept Chief Zee from attending Redskins games in Philadelphia.

On August 9, 2008, the Chief set down his signature prop, a toy tomahawk, while he was signing autographs at the Redskins' preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. When he turned to retrieve it, it was gone. The 12-inch tomahawk has a slender wooden handle with a rubber blade, and appears in many photos of Williams since he started attending Redskins games over 30 years ago.[8] By August 28, 2008, Chief Zee's tomahawk has been returned to him with the help of Redskins tight end Chris Cooley who got a call from someone that said they had it. He swapped a signed jersey for the tomahawk.[9]

Honors

  • November 7, 1985 was declared "Chief Zee Day" in Washington, DC.
  • In 2000, Visa and the Pro Football Hall of Fame selected the biggest fan of each of the then-31 teams and placed them in an exhibit in Canton. He was the fan chosen for the Washington Redskins.

Controversy

Some consider Williams' stereotypical portrayal of American Indians to be offensive.[10][11][12][13] His use of a stylized headdress is often referenced as the reason for offense, as the headdress is a sacred, central cultural item for many tribes.[14]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Chief Zee Gave His Life to Redskins.....Maybe the Skins Can Help Save His". Retrieved on 2007-11-11.
  2. ^ "Eastern Motors Ad on YouTube"
  3. ^ "Another Eastern Motors Ad on YouTube"
  4. ^ "Another Eastern Motors Ad on YouTube"
  5. ^ "Super-Fan Chief Zee's Heartfelt Comfort to the Enemy". Retrieved on 2007-11-11.
  6. ^ "Washington-Philadelphia". dataBse Football.com. 
  7. ^ "Grace Kelly came from this place?". Retrieved on 2007-11-11.
  8. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/08/26/AR2008082603015.html
  9. ^ http://www.wjla.com/news/stories/0808/548002.html?082908
  10. ^ http://www.bluecorncomics.com/2009/10/debating-chief-zee.htm
  11. ^ http://www.stetsports.com/2009/09/how-chief-zee-could-change-the-history-of-washington-football/
  12. ^ http://stuffblackpeoplehate.com/category/racism/page/3/
  13. ^ Milloy, Courtland (21 October 2009). "On the sidelines, the sad symbol of a sorry tradition". The Washington Post. Retrieved 5 August 2014. 
  14. ^ http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/pressrel/99-59.htm

External links

  • Chief Zee's MySpace page