Sports Law Blog
All things legal relating
to the sports world...
Friday, February 15, 2013
 
Will the Washington "Redskins" Finally Get A New Name?

Dave Zirin wrote an article this week in The Nation entitled "Redskins: The Clock is Now Ticking on Changing the Name."  We have regularly debated the offensiveness of American Indian mascots at the Sports Law Blog, and once again, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has been called upon to change the team moniker of our nation capital's NFL club.  Zirin's article was inspired by a symposium held in Washington D.C. at the Smithsonian's Museum of American Indian History decrying the use of all American Indian mascots.

According to Zirin:  "It’s an awkward fact of life in Washington, DC, that we are home to both the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian and the Washington Redskins. One attempts to preserve the Native American cultures that weren’t eradicated by conquest; the other is both a symbol and result of the same eradication. These two worlds collided this past week when the museum hosted a day-long symposium about Native American sports nicknames. In a packed auditorium, panelists and audience members took the local team to task, calling their name 'ugly,' 'offensive' and 'a racist slur.' Former Colorado Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell, the only Native American senator in US history, said from the stage, 'If you want [your mascot] to be a savage—use your own picture.' Not one person either in the audience or the crowd defended the use of 'Redskin,' because, as one fan of the team said to me, 'it really is defending the indefensible.'"

While the NCAA has taken strong action against the use of offensive nicknames and imagery, will Dan Snyder, and other professional sports team owners (including the Braves, Indians, Chiefs, Blackhawks, etc.) finally heed the call for change and eliminate offensive and stereotyping monikers and mascots?





5 Comments:

The Braves nickname may sound offensive to some, but is actually not directly related to native Americans. Just who were those "Braves" in Boston who dumped tea into the harbor?

Blogger Doug Sligh -- 2/19/2013 6:47 AM  


I get the back and forth when it comes to names like the Blackhawks or Indians. I really can't see what the justification is for calling a team that Redskins. That just seems to be a step beyond the others and I think that its long past due that the name is changed.

Blogger Unknown -- 2/20/2013 1:38 PM  


I agree that "Redskins" is offensive, especially for a team in our nation's capitol. As to other names like "Fighting Sioux" or "Indians," it can be argued that they are a compliment, preserving the relevance of the name. If all such names were eradicated, there would be no societal impetus for, say, a fifth grade sports fan to think, hey, I should read some books about the Sioux to see where this this team name actually came from. I am a norwegian Vikings fan, and would be saddened if the name of our team was changed. When else would the term "Viking" from my heritage ever come up? The point is, be careful what you wish for.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 2/21/2013 10:24 AM  


I agree that "Redskins" is offensive, especially for a team in our nation's capitol. As to other names like "Fighting Sioux" or "Indians," it can be argued that they are a compliment, preserving the relevance of the name. If all such names were eradicated, there would be no societal impetus for, say, a fifth grade sports fan to think, hey, I should read some books about the Sioux to see where this this team name actually came from. I am a norwegian Vikings fan, and would be saddened if the name of our team was changed. When else would the term "Viking" from my heritage ever come up? The point is, be careful what you wish for.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 2/21/2013 10:26 AM  


It is certainly is a difficult situation, because on either side seem to hurt the pride of some, I hope to finish this fight.

Anonymous Price per Head -- 3/20/2013 3:57 PM  


Post a Comment