A Slur By Any Other Name Is Just That!

RedskinsAre you ready for the big game? No, not the one in New Jersey this weekend with the Seattle Seahawks & Denver Broncos battling it out for the Lombardi Trophy.

No, I’m talking about the one between the Atlanta Niggers vs. the New York Kikes, or how about the one between the Minnesota Honkies against the New Jersey Guineas or maybe the San Francisco Gooks versus the Boston Drunken Irish Men.

No? Those games aren’t on your radar? Those teams aren’t on your radar?

Well, not surprisingly and I’m sure you knew this but they don’t exist because what team would want to be known by such disgusting reprehensible names right?

Yet, every year since 1933 the “Redskins” have gone by the disgusting moniker they still represent even some 81 years later.

They began in 1932 as “The Boston Braves” in part because they played at Braves field where the Braves played and yes they are the same Braves that called Milwaukee home for part of their existence and eventually relocated to Atlanta.

A year later they moved to Fenway Park home of my Boston Red Sox and were renamed “Redskins”, which back then as we all know from being around an elderly relative who uses offensive language about other ethnic groups “wasn’t a big deal then”.

I’ve always disagreed with that notion that it was a “different time” then and that we’re too “sensitive” these days rather I like to think that people just had a bit more self-control then more times than not and when called a derogatory name they either responded in kind or perhaps in some cases fisticuffs ensued.

It’s basically rationalizing bad behavior like when people say they committed some boorish or illegal act while intoxicated and somehow feel as though that’s justification or excusing of their actions.

The Redskins moved to Washington DC in 1937 and had a great opportunity to change their name but they didn’t and here we are some 77 years later with all the great racial progress we’ve made in this country with much, much more to be made by the way but here we are all these years later and Daniel Snyder – Owner of the Redskins still maintains that the team name is staying!

Even the NFL, who are extremely PR conscious have backed him up on this assertion, as a matter of fact the NFL Commissioner Roger Gooddell while giving his “state of the league” address on Friday asserted as much saying:

“I’ve been spending the last year talking to many of the leaders in the Native American communities,” Goodell said at his annual news conference during Super Bowl week. “We are listening. We are trying to make sure we understand the issues. Let me remind you: This is the name of a football team, a football team that’s had that name for 80 years and has presented the name in a way that it has honored Native Americans.”

Yes Commissioner Goodell, it is “The name of a football team” but also not forget that many institutions across the country have changed their offensive team mascots like “Redmen” at St. John’s University in NY who had a native American Mascot, Stanford University originally was named “The Indians” but changed their name to “The Cardinal” in 1972 because of student protests, closer to my home – The University of Massachusetts Lowell changed their mascot name from “The Chiefs” to “The River Hawks” as an homage of being on the Merrimack river.

Most notably it is pointed out that Florida State University still calls itself “The Seminoles” but in that case the University has obtained permission from the Seminole nation to use that moniker and have had the tribe design the costume and war paint worn by the student that is the “Seminole” mascot that rides an Appaloosa horse bareback out on to the field before the game begins

I still don’t get why they can’t have a native American student perform this task as mascot especially a Seminole student, I’m sure it’s not difficult to locate a student on campus who is both a proud Seminole and a Florida State football fan but at least they are being respectful and actually honoring the Seminole nation.

If Commissioner Goodell & Mr. Snyder TRULY want to honor Native Americans of the Washington DC area why not embrace one of the tribe names as the mascot for the NFL team that calls the land the tribes have lived on for so many years as the “official” team mascot?

How about: “The Washington Piscataway’s”? or maybe “The Washington Nanticoke’s”? Just to name a couple of tribes native to the DC/Virginia area.

Now, in the name of fairness I will point to an article written in the Washington Post, the same newspaper from which  I have culled much of my information for this opinion piece in which some native Americans and tribes don’t have a problem with the mascot name : “Redskins”, they say they know there’s no malice behind the name when it’s said by most people these days and that most just think it’s the name of a football team and not a racial slur.

Despite all of that we all know the right thing to do is to change the team’s name, they’ve just hired a new head coach in Jay Gruden, they’re looking to rebound from a terrible season that saw them go 3-13 and finish their season 0-5.

They’re looking for a break out year from their young superstar QB in Robert Griffin III who should by all accounts have a great season in Jay Gruden’s offense as well as having a full two years recovery time for his injured knee so why not start fresh all around?

Keep the colors of the team, THAT is more recognizable than the name but change the mascot of the team, get creative or do what you say you want to do in really honoring native Americans and choose a name they and the rest of the city can be proud of!

I will leave you with two things:

First, when asked on Friday at the “State of the league address” Mr. Goodell was asked: “Would you ever call a native American “Redskin” to their face?” He didn’t directly answer the question but rather gave this response:

“We recognize that there are some that don’t agree with the name, and we have listened and respected that,” Goodell said. “But if you look at the numbers, including in the Native American communities — in the Native American community polled, nine out of 10 supported the name. Eight out of 10 Americans in the general population would not like us to change the name. So we are listening. We are being respectful to people who disagree. But let’s not forget this is the name of a football team.”

Next, here’s a link to an article from the Daily Kos with an incredible ad that is stirring, inspiring and something I wish that anyone who defends this racial slur as a team mascot name would watch and consider when they defend the name “Redskins”.

Commissioner Goodell & Mr. Snyder know they’re fighting a losing battle so I just merely ask them to do the right thing!

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