How Has Washington Not Changed Its Football Team Yet?

More and more attention has been focused on the Washington "Redskins" controversial name and it's about high time the team changes its name from that ridiculous slur to something that doesn’t offend an entire group of people.

Despite silly and lame attempts by Dan Snyder, the team’s owner, and many of its fans, to claim otherwise, the name is offensive and comes from a time and usage when it was by no means meant as a term of pride. And equally as important, it isn’t just about the term. Native Americans are real people and should not be somebody’s mascot, like wolves or bears or falcons. They are people, an ethnic group, and one that has been horribly discriminated against no less, which makes it even worse to see non-Native Americans parading around wearing headdresses and “war paint."

And don’t be confused by the fact that there are teams with names like Cowboys, Patriots, Texans. Those are not ethnic groups. And the terms are not even remotely debated as to whether they are offensive or not. Washington is the only team in professional sports that I know of that actually uses a racist term, and somehow, the public generall accepts that without question. Imagine being a Native American having to hear that slur everyday and on TV no less.

But thankfully, more and more people are recognizing how wrong this is and taking a stand. Even the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has made a move to the right side of history, canceling the Washington Redskins’ trademark registration on the grounds that the name is offensive. Several high profile NFL television broadcasters have even decided they will not utter the term while referring to the team, only saying Washington instead. The broadcasters are Lisa Salters from ESPN, Phil Sims and James Brown from CBS and Tony Dungy from NBC. Washington’s own City Paper is among the news publications that have chosen to never use the term in its paper. So has Mother Jones and Slate magazines. Sport Illustrated’s Peter King also joined the movement.

Call me crazy but for me it is enough when the people themselves that you are supposedly honoring with your slur, tell you they are offended. Shouldn’t that be enough? Even the largest of the Native American groups, the National Congress of American Indians, stands firmly against the name.

I just don’t get it. Haven’t we done enough to Native American people? And by the way, while I absolutely support the Change The Mascot movement, because Washington’s usage is by far the worse, I also believe no team at any level should have ethnic groups as mascots. So that means the Chiefs in the NFL, the Blackhawks in the NHL, the Seminoles of Florida State and any other team in any sport that has non-Native American fans dressing up as “Indians” and doing tomahawk chops and the like, should be stopped. 

Why it is so hard to see the distinction is beyond me. It is the difference between naming a team the Police and naming them the N-word, with a photo of a black face on the helmets. Come on people. Those who are holding onto this silliness will soon find themselves simply on the wrong side soon enough. And it won’t be a moment too soon.


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