War Drums Bang Again for the Redskins to Change Name
Yesterday, the Oneida Indian Nation in New York launched a radio ad campaign targeting the Washington Redskins to change their name.
Will this get any farther than all the other calls for change?
To date, the only Native American mascots across all sports that have been pressured into changing their name come from the college ranks. There have been exceptions, such as the Florida State Seminoles receiving tribal permission as well as the Utah Utes. Then there's the University of North Dakota, where one branch of the Sioux said yes to continuing with the nickname while another said no. The latter got the traction with the NCAA.
On the professional level, hockey fans are aware that the Chicago Blackhawks are actually named in honor of a World War I flight squadron, and while teams such as the Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians pay homage to great Native American tribes and individuals, the mascots are deemed offensive by the politically correct crowd.
Especially the moniker Redskins.
Naming teams after ethnic groups is far from unique to Native Americans. That doesn't make it right, but why don't the Irish (Nôtre Dame), Dutch (New York Yankees, Union College), or Scandinavians (Minnesota Vikings) object? They're all portrayed in caricature form, too.
But those names just don't evoke slur like Redskins does.
If you are an astute reader of this website, you’ll recall I suggested the Cleveland Indians change their name back to the Spiders when they played in the National League from 1889-1899. I’m sure the city of Cleveland is eager to revert to the team that set the record for the worst winning percentage in a single season when they went 20-134 in 1899 for a .130 clip.
Could you imagine some poor sap dressed up in a giant spider costume mingling with the crowd and getting doused with spider spray? Ohio area Home Depots would surely see a spike in sales for their insect repellent!
Redskins owner Daniel Snyder seems as open and receptive to changing the teams name as a season ticket holder forced to purchase pre-season tickets. Some suggest that they change their names back to the Braves, the name they originally when they played in Boston back in 1932. Again, I’m not sure that's much of an improvement if the Atlanta Braves are under the same pressure.
A good compromise would be to play as the Senators, which pays homage to the political scene in Washington DC as well as the original American League baseball team; the first baseball team there was called the Nationals. While it's probably associated too strongly with baseball in that town, Senators certainly has a better ring to it than the Lobbyists, or Pork Barrels!
Whatever the decision, a name change for the team doesn’t appear likely to happen anytime soon since the 2013 season is underway. Perhaps, cooler heads will prevail if Daniel Snyder decides to sell the team and new ownership changes the team name.
Until then, enjoy your crimson and yellow RGIII replica jersey!
Just know that when you buy it, you're supporting the very reason why the Redskins won't change their name.