Washington NFL Team Should Change Their Name

The Washington NFL Team Should Change Their NameThe Washington Redskins were given that nickname in 1933. Many terms from that era are no longer appropriate. It's time to change the Washington NFL teams' name.

I've got friends who think the name should be grandfathered in as an offensive relic from another era. In essence, it's always been that way, so why change it now?

Baxter Holmes, a proud Native American of Cherokee and Choctaw lineage, wrote this compelling piece for Esquire. I urge you to read it and come back and share your thoughts on this issue.

The story in my family goes that the term dates back to the institutionalized genocide of Native Americans, most notably when the Massachusetts colonial government placed a bounty on their heads. The grisly particulars of that genocide are listed in a 1755 document called the Phips Proclamation, which zeroed in on the Penobscot Indians, a tribe today based in Maine.

Spencer Phips, a British politician and then Lieutenant Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Province, issued the call, ordering on behalf of British King George II for, “His Majesty’s subjects to Embrace all opportunities of pursuing, captivating, killing and Destroying all and every of the aforesaid Indians.” They paid well – 50 pounds for adult male scalps; 25 for adult female scalps; and 20 for scalps of boys and girls under age 12.

These bloody scalps were known as “redskins.”

In 2014 it's not okay for the American capital to celebrate a football team named for the most offensive word toward Native Americans. It's time for Dan Snyder to change that name.

Do you agree?


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Comments (35 - click here to join in!)

Al The Royal Pain

10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000% Agreed.

For those of you who ask, "Why now? What has changed?" Nothing has changed. Offensive is offensive. This is a small minority of people who don't have the same voice that other minorities have had to influence change. This one is on US as a "civil" society to recognize that change is in order and not to wait for the demonstrations or riots to happen in order for change to happen.

We should know better! History has taught us better.

June 23, 2014 @ 11:49 AM

Argie

I disagree. I don't believe its offensive. Of course no one is mentioning this but at the end of the day, the Redskins name will remain after Snider has written a rather large check to some sketchy Indian group.

Its what happened in Florida when FSU wanted to keep the name "Seminole" name and the same thing will happen here. Money seems to be the cure for most complaints when it comes to the natives.

June 23, 2014 @ 12:10 PM

Al The Royal Pain

@Argie

After reading the above explanation of the name you still don't find it offensive? Really? So let's call teams Black Skins or Yellow skins while we're at it.

Also, the Florida Seminoles have received the blessing of the Seminole tribe to use the name as a tribute to their people. The name Redskin is not a tribute to any tribe with anyone's blessing, instead it is at the very least a tasteless racial slur and at the very most an homage to a brutally violet practice of genocide.

June 23, 2014 @ 12:15 PM

Argie

@Al
Do we know for sure that the nickname was "inspired" the brutal historical events noted in the article? Is it possible they were simply using the term "redskin" instead of Indian or native?

Like I wrote, even if its offensive to natives and everyone else, they will cave once they seen the zeros on the cheque from Snyder.

BTW, should Notre Dame change their name too? Isn't it perpetuating a negative stereotype about Irish people???

June 23, 2014 @ 12:25 PM

Dan

Where is all the uproar about the Cleveland Indians?

June 23, 2014 @ 12:32 PM

Philly-Bob

@ Dan - There's tons of uproar over the Indians...they changed their logo years ago from that caricature of a Native.....

June 23, 2014 @ 12:44 PM

Philly-Bob

@ Argie - As an Irishman...I am very offended by the stereotype that Notre Dame presents of my people. We are not all short, redheaded drunks looking for a fight...

....please note I am not actually offended.

However, I can see how the redskins name could be offensive...and it is not even close to being the same as the Semenole's. (indecently, the Blackhawk Tribe is fine with the name of the NHL team in Chicago because the original owner was a Patron of the Tribe and has always portrayed natives in a positive light)

@ Argie - would you be okay with a team calling themselves the coons ..of course you wouldn't....even though the term is originally meant to describe Raccoons....sometimes being PC is the right thing to do...this is one of those times.

June 23, 2014 @ 12:49 PM

Argie

@Philly-Bob
Being PC is never the right thing to do. There are things that are right and some that are wrong. We all should be govern by that, not by the 2014 PC world according to the New York Times.

If all natives had the same attitude you have about Irish stereotyping, there wouldn't be an uproar.

I can see how some natives would be offended but like I stated earlier, it will come down to money.

June 23, 2014 @ 1:06 PM

Nigel Trousershrapnel

The Washington Hand-Guns

Goes without saying that no one in the old US of A would have the stones to challenge that one. Just think of the merchandise sales.

June 23, 2014 @ 1:49 PM

this guest

"The state reward for dead Indians has been increased to $200 for every red-skin sent to Purgatory. This sum is more than the dead bodies of all the Indians east of the Red River are worth." [23]

[23] "Winona State University Newspaper Archives". The Daily Republican (Winona, MN: Winona Daily Republican). 1863-09-25. Retrieved 11/06/2013.

June 23, 2014 @ 1:54 PM

Al The Royal Pain

This isn't a PC issue, this is a right vs wrong issue. Unless you're ok with having a team called the Atlanta N***ers, you can't be Ok with the Redskins, it's the exact SAME thing. Just because the minority in question doesn't have the political power to fight for change, doesn't make it right. The richest side isn't always the right side...in fact it is often the opposite. We've got to learn from history.

@Argie, as I stated before, even if at it's best (if the meaning isn't derived from the scalping reference) it's still a racial slur.

Names that reference proper tribal names are OK, only if they're sanctioned by the tribe in question. In Cleveland, not only have they changed the logo, they've gotten rid of the stereotypical mascot.

Redskin isn't a proper tribe name it's a blanket slur used to reference all Native Americans/Canadians, so there is no buying your way out of this one.

Team names that are Native Canadian/American references are changing all over North America. Washington will change their name eventually...My guess it happens within the next 5 years.

June 23, 2014 @ 1:58 PM

Lyle Lanley

It's frightening that some neanderthals still think this is an okay name for a football team.

June 23, 2014 @ 2:13 PM

Philly-Bob

@ Al - It will be changed before the start of the season if the NFL has its way....

June 23, 2014 @ 2:16 PM

Argie

@Al
Again I ask, are you OK with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish?

June 23, 2014 @ 2:18 PM


Al The Royal Pain

I don't know if the term "Fighting Irish" is a racial slur. If it is then no, I'm not OK with it.

As we learn more about these things, our opinions need to evolve.

If they don't, then we're guilty of ignorance. Willful ignorance is no excuse for being a dick (not you specifically @Argie, but people like the Washington Owner).

There are plenty of things that growing up, I thought were OK, (yes, I'm old enough to have used the original version of Eeny, Meeny Miny Moe) but when you learn the origin of something and you know it's wrong, changing your ways doesn't make you PC, it makes you an evolved human being.

June 23, 2014 @ 2:28 PM

Philly-Bob

@ Al - you are correct.

@ Argie -

Not hanging crosses in our courthouses, or saying Happy Holidays when you want to say Merry Christmas: Silly overindulgence in Political Correctness

Changing the name of a Professional Sports Team because it is archaic and racially offensive: Proof of an evolving society.

Let me ask you Argie - would you wolf whistle and yell "hey nice legs" to an attractive woman walking down the street...because it was considered acceptable to do so back when this team was named the Redskins.....

June 23, 2014 @ 2:37 PM

Argie

@Al
Disparaging the Irish is not racial, by any means. It could be considered offensive though.

Is your criteria only racially insensitive terms? What if a term or name is offensive to women, a certain religion or disabled people?

Besides a bunch of white, guilt ridden liberals, is there a strong movement by natives to have the name changed?

@Phil
Women are always yelling stuff at me as I walk down the street (I kid of course....)

June 23, 2014 @ 2:48 PM

this guest

Demeter, Richard. The fighting 69th : a history. Pasadena, CA: Cranford Press, 2002.

Loback, Tom. Civil War flags of the Irish Brigade and others in the 69th Regiment's Armory collection. S.l. s.n, 1999.

'Fighting Irish' seems to be a phrase that goes back to the U.S. Civil War when regiments were assembled along ethnic lines.
In this understanding it's not a question of being a drunken brawler but rather fighting with courage in battle.

June 23, 2014 @ 2:57 PM

Al The Royal Pain

@Argie

If there is a movement to change the name of the Fighting Irish due to the fact that it is disparaging, then I would support it.

Basically my criteria is this, if I can picture myself walking into a bar filled with a certain minority, class, or gender and yelling out a specific word or term and I don't picture myself walking out of that bar of my own means, then I'll probably never utter that word or term again. It's called empathy. It has served me well.

And yes @Argie, once again, there is a movement. Teams all across North America are changing their names. Mike wouldn't be posting about it if there weren't a movement.

June 23, 2014 @ 3:06 PM

Gary

Before this most recent outrage on the Redskins name; I had no idea what it meant and I never really gave it a second thought. It was just a team name. As these things come to light, we need to evolve. Having said that, if no-one had said a word about it, would this debate even exist?

June 23, 2014 @ 3:10 PM

this guest

Re: 'the term 'Fighting Irish:'

The name "Fighting Irish" came about from the Civil War. It evolved from "New York's Fighting 69th" (part of the Irish Brigade). I know it true because my decedents fought for Col. Corcoran.

And Notre Dame became most notorious, after their students defeated the KKK in the 1920s. Google "Notre Dame Vs the KKK"

a comment on this site:
http://www.historynet.com/americas-civil-war-why-the-irish-fought-for-the-union.htm

June 23, 2014 @ 3:11 PM

this guest

I post the above information to debunk the spurious claim that the term 'Fighting Irish' is somehow equatable to the murderous, racist term 'Redskin.'

June 23, 2014 @ 3:14 PM

this guest

Nigel Trousershrapnel
June 23, 2014 / 13:49

The Washington Hand-Guns

Goes without saying that no one in the old US of A would have the stones to challenge that one. Just think of the merchandise sales.

************

Seriously Nigel - very brilliant.

June 23, 2014 @ 3:30 PM

Speysidephil

@Argie
The sad thing in all the comments is when you have to follow what is obviously a joke with the statement " I kid of course. "

June 23, 2014 @ 3:32 PM

Al The Royal Pain

I got this from Wikipedia. Notice the dates. This is not a new issue.

School Nickname Former Year Changed
Arkansas State Red Wolves Indians 2008
Carthage College Red Men Redmen 2006
Chowan University Hawks Braves 2006
Dartmouth College Big Green Indians 1969
Eastern Michigan Eagles Hurons 1991
Eastern Washington Eagles Savages 1973
Indiana University Crimson Hawks Indians 2007
Uni of Louisiana Warhawks Indians 2006
Marquette Golden Eagles Warriors 1994
Massachusetts Minutemen & Redmen 1972
Minutewomen
McMurry University War Hawks Indians 2006
Miami University RedHawks Redskins 1997
Newberry College Wolves Indians 2008
North Dakota None Fighting Sioux 2012
Quinnipiac Bobcats Braves 2002
St. Bonaventure Bonnies Brown Indians 1992
St. John's Red Storm Redmen 1994
Seattle University Redhawks Chieftains 2000
Siena College Saints Indians 1988
Stanford University Cardinal Indians 1972
Stonehill College Skyhawks Chieftains 2005
William & Mary Tribe Indians 1978

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_American_mascot_controversy

June 23, 2014 @ 4:11 PM

Al The Royal Pain

I apologize if the previous post is difficult to read, all the tabs and spaces were removed when the post went through. Just click the Source link for the full chart which is about a third of the way down.

June 23, 2014 @ 4:13 PM

Corey

@Phil -

Cleveland has not retired the Chief Wahoo logo. In fact I was at an Indians game a couple years ago, and they even sell merchandise with the original, even worse version. The girl at the cash referred to it as "old school Wahoo".

June 23, 2014 @ 6:05 PM

dale


Redskins even though a name since 1933, it's time to go. Very degrading in 2014 to all involved.

Other sports team names, Braves, Indians, Blackhawks, Browns, Chiefs, etc. should consider also even though not as degrading as Redskins.

June 23, 2014 @ 7:52 PM

Cambo

Here's a test for you, Argie.

Then next time you come across a native Indian, instead of saying "hello", try saying "Hey Redskin".

We'll see how far you get.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Redskin_(slang)

The term is one we "white people" came up with referring to them from the 1800's. It is not an endearing name.

June 25, 2014 @ 8:18 AM

Argie

@Cambo
I do that all the time.

June 25, 2014 @ 8:40 AM

Matt

Whether or not they change it won't affect the way I view the team.

I'm more offended that some group is planning to sue the indians for 9 BILLION dollars because the name and Chief Wahoo logo is "racist"

June 25, 2014 @ 7:07 PM

Corey

As someone with some Scandinavian ancestry, I'm offended by the Minnesota Vikings name and logo. I've complained that the logo is is a gross distortion, since Vikings didn't wear horned helmets, and weren't blood-thirsty barbarians. For some reason, no one takes me seriously.

June 25, 2014 @ 10:10 PM

Mike from Lowville

NFL NAME CHANGE




Here is an email sent to Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune after an article he published concerning a name change for the Washington Redskins.



Dear Mr. Page...



I always love your articles and I generally agree with them. I would suggest, as in an email I received, they change the name to the "Foreskins" to better represent their community, paying tribute to the dick heads in Congress.



Here are some other politically correct issues to consider: I agree with our Native American population. I am highly insulted by the racially charged name of the Washington Redskins. One might argue that to name a professional football team after Native Americans would exalt them as fine warriors, but nay, nay. We must be careful not to offend, and in the spirit of political correctness and courtesy, we must move forward. Let's ditch the Kansas City Chiefs, the Atlanta Braves and the Cleveland Indians. If your shorts are in a wad because of the reference the name Redskins makes to skin color, then we need to get rid of the Cleveland Browns.



The Carolina Panthers obviously were named to keep the memory of militant Blacks from the 60's alive. Gone. It's offensive to us white folk.



The New York Yankees offend the Southern population. Do you see a team named for the Confederacy? No! There is no room for any reference to that tragic war that cost this country so many young men's lives.



I am also offended by the blatant references to the Catholic religion among our sports team names. Totally inappropriate to have the New Orleans Saints, the Los Angeles Angels or the San Diego Padres.



Then there are the team names that glorify criminals who raped and pillaged. We are talking about the horrible Oakland Raiders, the Minnesota Vikings, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Pirates!



Now, let us address those teams that clearly send the wrong message to our children. The San Diego Chargers promote irresponsible fighting or even spending habits. Wrong message to our children.



The New York Giants and the San Francisco Giants promote obesity, a growing childhood epidemic. Wrong message to our children.



The Cincinnati Reds promote downers/barbiturates . Wrong message to our children.



The Milwaukee Brewers---well that goes without saying . . . Wrong message to our children.



So, there you go. We need to support any legislation that comes out to rectify this travesty, because the government will likely become involved with this issue, as they should. Just the kind of thing the do-nothing congress loves . . .



As a diehard Oregon State fan, my wife and I, with all of this in mind, it might also make some sense to change the name of the Oregon State women's athletic teams to something other than "the Beavers."



Keep those cards and letters coming.

June 29, 2014 @ 9:31 AM

Darrin irwin

Absolutely has to change! Hate flag's are gone for the most part so this name has lasted long enough, WAKE UP AMERICA!
We are just visitors! (Us round eyes)...LONG LIVE A.I.M.

October 20, 2016 @ 6:42 AM

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