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Momentum Gaining For Redskins Name Change; But Will It Matter?

Lost in the remembrances of Martin Luther King Day celebrations was this news, released on this day honoring the civil rights icon because of its significant social nature: The Fritz Pollard Alliance, perhaps the most influential organization the NFL works with on racial issues, said it supports the Washington Redskins changing its name, saying it’s a team decision.

The NFL has mouth about every other thing that happens in the league—the color of players’ cleats, if they speak to the media after a game, how they celebrate a touchdown, etc.—and yet on this lingering concern, it has nothing to offer?

That’s why it is important that the Fritz Pollard Alliance used King Day to voice its support of a name change. The NFL supposedly respects and takes heed to the recommendations of this group. We will see on this one. The alliance, named after Fritz Pollard, the first Black to play in the NFL, is responsible for promoting minority hiring throughout the NFL.

The group’s leaders have met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell—but Redskins owner Daniel Snyder refuses to sit down with them. Snyder has been adamant about not changing the name that some Native Americans consider racially insensitive and refers to the slaughter of countless Native Americans.

Black people overwhelmingly seem to get it, and with good reason. From Colored to Negro to Afro-American to African-American to Black, there was a movement to get the identifiable name right, to accurately depict who we are in America. Blacks would not stand for a team’s mascot carrying any of the derogatory monickers whites have used to insult us. Native Americans should not, either.

Other Native Americans say it’s not offensive.  Synder rolls with the side that thinks the team’s name should remain as it has been since 1937.

 “As the NFL continues to move in the direction of respect and dignity, one of its teams carrying this name cuts glaringly against the grain,” read a letter co-signed by John Wooten, the alliance’s chairman and a former lineman for Washington. “It hurts the League and it hurts us all.”

The Seattle Post-Intelligence reported last week that the Seattle Human Rights Commission said in a resolution passed that residents of Seattle should boycott corporate sponsors of Washington until Snyder changes the team’s name.

Some around the NFL have vowed to not use “Redskins” when talking about that team, including NFL Phil Simms of CBS and Tony Dungy. Former NFL referee Mike Carey revealed he was allowed to avoid Washington games for eight years due to he did not like the team’s name.

All this, and it still might not make a difference. If it is not made a law that Snyder change the name, he likely will not change it. And that would be part of his legacy as Redskins’ owner. . . and the consistent losing.

What people are saying

6 thoughts on “Momentum Gaining For Redskins Name Change; But Will It Matter?

  1. Brian Jungen says:

    The name is not changing. Deal with it.

  2. The term is colloquial; therefore, it is guttural. All modern dictionaries define the word as offensive. Moreover, most linguists would concur and label the term as an anachronism, no longer appropriate to describe a race of people. In the last 25 years, 32 high schools have dropped the mascot; additionally, two universities no longer use the moniker as a team name. The social tide, therefore, appears to be against the continued use of the term. Deal with it.

  3. It's simple. Boycott it! You ain't getting a grape!

  4. stop trying to change the name. why would you want this country to continue to hide it's true colors. maybe you haven't notice that the Indian on the helmet is black. and every time the cowboys and redskins play symbolizes the war between the Indians and the Europeans. racism will never end in this country because people are condition to be that way. changing the name of team that reminds you of how messed up this country really is isn't the answer.

  5. I've never heard anyone use the term in an offensive way. I've always known Redskin to be a Native American, not a derogatory name for one. Since many natives have used the term to describe themselves, I hardly see why this is an issue. If they were called Rednecks, Whiteskins or honkies, I wouldn't give a rat's ass.

  6. Brian Jungen says:

    The team name was approved by Native Americans at the time. The Navajo nation has schools that are 100% Native in population that have the name and logo as their mascots. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it is bad. It is not. And for the record, I am a fan of the team and my wife is Native American.

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