Time for Washington Redskins to Change Name in 21st Century

 

Should the NFL make the Washington Redskins change their name in the near future?  This question has been a popular topic of debate in newspapers, college classrooms, sports bars, and sports talk shows for the past many years.  Redskins is considered a derogatory term and offensive name for Native American Indians based on skin color.  There are other sport mascot names for Native Indians that could be used which are more positive like Chiefs, Warriors, American Eagles, etc. to better represent American Indians in the capital city of America.

“An NFL source explained that calling a team the Redskins has paid homage to Native Americans, a stance Commissioner Roger Goodell made publicly in 2013, when he wrote to Congress in a letter about the name Redskins: “The name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect.” … This leads to the question — why haven’t the NFL and the Washington Redskins made a push to win over this natural fan base, all over our country? The league is constantly trying to grow the game — why doesn’t it send Redskins representatives to South Dakota or Oklahoma to reach out to the people they respect so? … Washington owner Dan Snyder himself should make a trip like this, and he can “explain the rich history of the team to all present. Tell them about how it’s really a tribute, as former team vice president Karl Swanson said, ‘derived from the Native American tradition for warriors to daub their bodies with red clay before battle.’ ”  … Roger Goodell, just change the name.  Your league is a bully. With a team called the Redskins, the NFL is insulting thousands of American citizens. Imagine if you named a team Redskins today? Or named a team any sort of derogatory term?”  (Hochman, 2015)

It would be considered offensive and unacceptable to name a new, expansion team a derogatory term like the Whiteskins, Blackskins, Brownskins, or Yellowskins to represent American Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians today in the United States.  The NFL and Washington owner Dan Snyder need to finally do the right thing by changing the offensive name to something more empowering like Washington Warriors or American Bald Eagles that puts Native Indians in a more positive light.  The St. Louis Rams play the Washington Redskins this Sunday, September 20, 2015 where Missouri is home to around 25,000 Native Americans according to the 2000 census.

References

Hochman, B. (September 16, 2015). Hochman: NFL should make Redskins change name.  Retrieved from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/columns/benjamin-hochman/hochman-nfl-should-make-redskins-change-name/article_651e5701-7393-55e5-8ae0-dd76e8632be1.html

Dr. Michael Fredrick is the Chair of Sport Studies at the United States Sports Academy and can be reached at mfredrick@ussa.edu.

 

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