The Redskins have been an NFL team for decades. However, the name is based on the Native Americans who used to live throughout the region. Native American advocates have been working to change the name for years – and they feel the climate is right for bringing it up again.
Surely, if statues representing slaves and slave owners can be taken down around the country, a politically incorrect NFL name like the Redskins can be changed, right?
The NFL team owner, Dan Snyder, hasn’t shown any signs of addressing the name.
While the history of the team name dates back to a coach that had questionable origins, there are countless Native American organizations that have been looking to have the name changed. The dispute started in the 1960s. The National Congress of American Indians is one of the largest groups in support of changing the name.
A Redskins spokesman has already come forward to say that they have no comment. It shows that they’re not prepared to consider changing both the name and the logo. It’s a comprehensive (and expensive) change to undergo, especially with the ramp-up to the NFL season occurring.
According to an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Arianne Eason, it might be easier for the NFL to mandate the change. It would take the pressure off of the team as well as Dan Snyder. The NFL has not responded to questions regarding the future of the team’s name.
The mayor of Washington DC has also called the Redskins name an “obstacle” when discussing a new stadium appearing in the district – especially since it would likely go on land leased by the federal government. Yeah, that could get awkward – then, the federal government would have to admit that Native Americans were a part of our history. Oh, wait, they already did that.
Dan Snyder has been the owner since 1999. When a Washington Post Poll was conducted in 2016, it showed that nine out of ten Native Americans didn’t take offense to the name. Snyder said that it “represents honor, respect, and pride.”
And now, suddenly, it doesn’t?
Correct, it isn’t. Because we’re living in different times. According to Ray Halbritter, the representative for the Oneida Indian Nation, if it’s degrading or disrespecting someone, it shouldn’t be done, even if it’s only degrading or disrespecting a few.
New studies have shown that 49% of 1,000 Native Americans find the NFL team name offensive. And with the death of George Floyd awakening a controversy regarding systematic racism, the Native Americans feel that there’s a moment to discuss equity concerns in general.
Once they get the Redskins to change the name, they’re going to be targeting some of the other mascots – and not just in the NFL. That means that the Florida Seminoles will likely be getting a branding reboot, too.
It’s only right, though – if we’re going to get rid of all of the histories regarding slave ownership, let’s wipe out anything having to do with Native Americans, too.
What the groups demanding the change don’t realize is that there is good intention behind the name. Redskins is a derogatory term now based on how modern dictionaries define it. However, it was never meant to be derogatory.
After all, why would an NFL team do that to themselves? Instead, they chose the name to honor a coach…William Henry “Lone Star” Dietz. The logo was even proposed by a former Blackfeet tribal chairman.
No offense was ever meant by it. But, times are different. Rather than seeing honor in the fact that Native Americans are being represented in the NFL, they are choosing to find offense. So, we must change the logo and change the name. As for the fans who have foam fingers, jerseys, and other team merchandise, they have wasted millions of dollars to support a team that will no longer exist as the Redskins.