The Washington Redskins have undergone much scrutiny in recent years over whether or not their team name is racist. The franchise began in Boston as the Braves in 1932. In 1937, they moved to Washington, D.C. and changed their name to the Redskins. The racism in the name has been talked about on and off since 1971, with the latest revival begun in 2013. Native American protests seem to be the most direct opposition to the name while the majority of those in favor of keeping the name are not of Native American descent. Arguments can be made towards either side.
The argument for keeping the name:
The name of the Redskins has been around for 77 years. When people hear “Washington Redskins” they don’t think of the the Indians but more of the franchise. Announcers and commentators don’t use the term as a way to sneak in hidden racism. They use it on behalf of addressing the team on how it has been addressed for years. It has built up a legacy of excellent football for years and should continue to build that legacy under its long held name.
Redskins president and general manager Bruce Allen said in a letter to the senate that the name is respectful towards Native Americans. It shows respect to their culture and their influence in the history of America. The franchise should not be looked at for its name but more in the way it plays the game. If people get hung up on the name because it can be seen as offensive to some cultures, they get away from the actual sport itself.
Another major issue with the name change would be all the merchandise that was sold while they were under the Redskins name would become useless. If they banned the use of the name Redskins, would they also ban the wearing of apparel to games? But how can they justify allowing apparel one game then banning it the next? If Washington is forced to change its name, it opens up a whole new section of issues.
By keeping the name, the NFL allows the fans to continue rooting for a team it has been rooting for their whole lives. If they change the name, they are accepting that it has been used as a form of racism for 77 years.
The argument for changing the name:
Some things are outdated. That once state-of-the-art Envy 2, the neighbor’s beat up 1990 Chevy Cavalier, those year-old pudding cups in the cupboard. Some things just don’t belong in today’s day and age. They need to be removed from society. Not only is this in reference to actual physical items we see with our very own two eyes, but also other things that possess no physical being. Derogatory language, racism, insensitivity, and something that involves all three of these: the name of the Washington Redskins.
The professional football team located in Washington, D.C. has been called the Washington R******* for the greater part of the past hundred years. Despite their legacy, the name, or even just the figure represented by the team, the name has to go. We as a country have decimated the Native American population, their tribes, and what may very well have been the worst of all, their Indian identity.
How are the Washington R******* able to use a name that is in fact derogatory towards the Native America people after all the injustice and troubles we have put on them? The simple answer is that they shouldn’t. And to capitalize off of and generate more wealth for their organization solely off of their name is all the worse.
The name Redskins is a direct comment at the color of the Native American people, and if we label them as such, we are only putting their existence at a lower level than ours. Many would take offense at a football team named the “Whiteskins” or the “Blackskins” so why is it okay when we use the “Redskins”? Just because their population size is not as great as many other ethnicities does not make it acceptable to use the name.
The Washington R******* need change. Whether it comes from a renaming of the franchise to a changing of the logo, something needs to happen. To take advantage of a certain ethnicity’s name is unjust as it is taking advantage of that ethnicity as well. The name is racist and demeaning and though it has existed for nearly 80 years, the times have changed what may have been acceptable then may not be acceptable now. Some things are just outdated.