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Redskins go passive-aggressive on nickname debate

Dave Lysinger AP

At a time when many are debating the appropriateness of the Redskins nickname, the team is taking a decidedly passive-aggressive approach.

Rather than risk offending anyone, and coming out with a statement telling the offended to buzz off, the Redskins posted a bizarre story on their official website about all the people who take pride in the name.

They found 70 high schools that still refer to themselves as “Redskins,” and quoted Coshocton High School athletic director George Hemming as saying: “We are very proud of our athletic teams and very proud to be called Redskins!”

With all due respect to George, so what?

Each individual has to make their own decision about whether the name is appropriate or offensive, and to be honest, whether some high school AD thinks it’s OK doesn’t matter one whit to me.

In fact, if someone from the team stood up and told the world to go climb a totem pole while wearing a feathered headdress, I might have more respect for the position, in that a position had actually been taken.

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52 Responses to “Redskins go passive-aggressive on nickname debate”
  1. Jeremy W says: Feb 11, 2013 3:51 PM

    Nobody is actually debating this.

  2. balfe13 says: Feb 11, 2013 3:55 PM

    Oh no!! Someone isn’t conforming to the “political correctness” myth!! Let’s all guilt them into conforming! ‘Merica.

  3. madpunter88 says: Feb 11, 2013 4:01 PM

    There really is no question the name is offensive. Any argument to the contrary is just intentional naivete. The question is whether the league, fans, and — in particular — the ownership are willing to selectively ignore the obvious out of convenience and money. Clearly the brand is worth a lot of money and diluting that brand by changing the name and/or logo will be difficult to accept. Change will eventually come but only at a grudgingly slow pace. It just is not worth it to the ownership group as long as the fans and the league pretend there is actually a debate or any positive message behind the name.

  4. mormegil49 says: Feb 11, 2013 4:03 PM

    Seriously? This story again? There is no push or groundswell, or momentum or anything even approaching that to call for the Redskins to change their name. This is a manufactured story by a small group of people looking for attention, to fatten their wallet and/or get page views.

    Only two groups of people care about this issue: (1) old, self-loathing white people because they think caring gives them some street cred with non-white people (it doesn’t) and (2) a select group of lawyers and native-Americans who have turned this into a career.

  5. pc29 says: Feb 11, 2013 4:06 PM

    Who is debating this?

    And you expect me to believe that you would ‘respect’ the Redskins official who came and supported the name just so you could turn around and blast them about political correctness? Give me a break. Money makes the world go ’round.

  6. sadskinsfan89 says: Feb 11, 2013 4:08 PM

    so u have found ppl that r offended? where r they? i have heard no native americans speak a wrd.

  7. cwwgk says: Feb 11, 2013 4:15 PM

    Amazing how the media can get so offended and self righteous when others don’t agree with their point of view. Perhaps a dose of humility might serve the industry well. At least then it wouldn’t come across as so hypocritical.

  8. jwreck says: Feb 11, 2013 4:17 PM

    Regardless of how you feel about the issue, the really offensive thing is how the writers here feel like the have to be the sole engine of social change for Native Americans.

    If Native American groups really wanted to make a big deal out of the nickname, they would. The fact that this website’s staff seems to feel like Native Americans are somehow incapable of speaking out, having their voices heard, or advocating for themselves: and that sportswriters are the only ones who can do it; is not only arrogant, but far more belittling than anything one could construe from Washington’s team name or logo.

  9. tannethrill says: Feb 11, 2013 4:19 PM

    LOL, I bet those HS teams use Washington as their excuse.

    Washington, you’re supposed to be the example.

    I’m not Native American but I can easily see how one would be offended.

    Maybe change the name to a local Native American tribe like the Seminoles do at FSU. The Seminole tribe defends them because of course they financially benefit from the connection.

    Maybe partner up with Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation, it worked for WesternSky lol

  10. 1standinches says: Feb 11, 2013 4:25 PM

    I would laugh so hard if the Redskins updated their current logo and uniforms and still being the Redskins as a way of shutting people the hell up about the name change

  11. zengreaser says: Feb 11, 2013 4:31 PM

    The funny thing about offensive words is that they are only offensive if you allow them to be. I’m not defending the name, nor am I opposing it. The reality is just that Native Americans could embrace the word if they so chose. That’s the nature of words & linguistics. Words & their definitions evolve over time. The word may have been a slanderous one in the past, but it could be reclaimed as a point of pride.

  12. banky74 says: Feb 11, 2013 4:32 PM

    I’m a Native American and while I certainly can’t speak for all Native Americans, I’m not offended by the name. “Intent” is the key word when discussing this. Nobody uses the word “Redskins” with the intent to disparage Native Americans.

    The origin of the team name dates back to 1933 when the owner, George Preston Marshall renamed the team “Redskins” in honor of the head coach, William “Lone Star” Dietz who was as you might guess, an American Indian.

    The people that stir things like this up do nothing to contribute to racial harmony. It’s an empty exercise that allows white liberals to assuage themselves of some white liberal guilt.

  13. rodeoclown11 says: Feb 11, 2013 4:33 PM

    Apparently Dan Snyder doesnt think its offensive.

  14. nebster21 says: Feb 11, 2013 4:35 PM

    The person that the logo was created off of was very proud to be used when it was made. Darin you should really do some research instead of jumping on the band wagon of other peoples failed research.

    If big and tall people were offended by the name Giant should the Giants change their name? Because I am offended if I am called a Giant.

  15. xtb3 says: Feb 11, 2013 4:37 PM

    How about the Baltimore Ravens named after book by murderous Baltimore lunatic Edgar Allen Poe. FOX urrently on Monday night’s have a series called The Following about serial killers following “The Raven” book this team is named after.

    Seems like they are going after the wrong local team.

  16. sophillyimjersey says: Feb 11, 2013 4:42 PM

    I know this things been brewing for years. But the names been around so long. The team would have to change logos n colors maybe. I just don’t know if it offends football fans. I shouldn’t say offend but bother, it doesn’t bother football fans. I don’t think it’s an issue for a fan that’s watched the game for years n years. Now to casual fans n fantasy fans sure. But to a guy like me whose watched football since I was a kid and I don’t automatically think of a native American when I hear redskin or redskins, I usually think of Dan snider or RG3 now.

  17. paintan8 says: Feb 11, 2013 4:46 PM

    You really must have nothing to write about. They are not changing the name and doing so would bring about a far greater outrage from their fanbase than the team or the league has ever gotten from any Native American organization.

  18. bigjd says: Feb 11, 2013 4:56 PM

    If you don’t like the name, don’t watch them play.

  19. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Feb 11, 2013 5:01 PM

    Just too much PC. We have become a nation of sissies (I hope I didn’t offend anyone) who either are offended, or pretend to be at every little thing.

  20. bigbillinocmd says: Feb 11, 2013 5:03 PM

    at least I don’t root for the DC Whitey’s… Now thats a group of savaged beasts who thought it was a great idea to come to this “new land” and destroy the native americans one bullet at a time while raping their woman and destroying their land scape by claiming it for themselves. better yet, lets be called the “senators”.. (The actual name of some of these folks that voted on such regulations that resulted in the initiative of forcing fear and terror to these folks who’s name they find offensive years later..) Society is a joke…

    lol… I need to know who finds this name more insulting… Folks with true indian heritage or beat writers for the washington post and pft?

  21. monkeesfan says: Feb 11, 2013 5:08 PM

    Who is actually debating using the Redskins name? It’s a bogus discussion.

    They’re the Redskins and that is what they ought to be called.

  22. bigbrad184 says: Feb 11, 2013 5:09 PM

    These last 3 articles are really starting to make me question if I should be coming to PFT anymore. I can get my football news elsewhere. I don’t come to PFT to read Florio championing his self-righteousness and allegedly superior morality because he is “fighting the good fight” over the Redskins name. It’s getting old real quick PFT.

  23. devildog911 says: Feb 11, 2013 5:12 PM

    Whatever name they come up with or whether they stick with Redskins, it’ll be irrelevant anyway just like the team.

  24. manderson367 says: Feb 11, 2013 5:13 PM

    Oh…to have nothing in the world to worry about except what someone names a sports team. Must be nice to be so self absorbed that words are offensive to you.

  25. freddavisbong says: Feb 11, 2013 5:17 PM

    I will lose all respect for Dan Snyder and this organization if they cave to the thought police. Respect is earned through resistance not compliance.

  26. oldbloodstegosaurus says: Feb 11, 2013 5:23 PM

    I disagree about the name change but there is a lot of bs on this comment thread.

    mormegil49: “Only two groups of people care about this issue: (1) old, self-loathing white people because they think caring gives them some street cred with non-white people (it doesn’t) and (2) a select group of lawyers and native-Americans who have turned this into a career.”

    This represents such a narrow world view, “Only two groups… white people… lawyers…” Seriously? No matter what the term “redskin” is, at the least, insensitive and a valid argument is that it’s no different than the N-word as a team name. Minorities would be more reactive to that and the minority is no longer as small as it once was in this country. On a simple number comparison more minority people care than white people, I’d be willing to bet.

    A key issue here is “intent” as banky74 said. It’s not a commonly used racist term. I would like to think everyone understands you shouldn’t call someone that. You can even say the ethics of majority rule minority right comes into play. If Redskins fans are the minority and keeping the same name the team has had for like 70 years could be called a right. A name change would be like lipstick on a pig. It would be shallow and needless.

    Same user; banky74 said “The people that stir things like this up do nothing to contribute to racial harmony. It’s an empty exercise that allows white liberals to assuage themselves of some white liberal guilt.” Ugh, they argument against white guilt is that in post-racial America race should be irrelevant. I agree with that. If it should be irrelevant than why bring it up? Again with “white liberals” also. They need to label that Fox News syndrome. Ignoring the changing demographics.

  27. fancyleague says: Feb 11, 2013 5:26 PM

    The Redskins should change their name right after the Vikings change theirs.

  28. purplepunisher says: Feb 11, 2013 5:31 PM

    You have told us that you think the name Redskins is racist. With all due respect Mike, who cares what you think.

  29. 44boz says: Feb 11, 2013 5:38 PM

    “so u have found ppl that r offended? where r they? i have heard no native americans speak a wrd.”

    That is probably because the Natives are on Reservations in the West, not DC. I dare say most of the people posting on this topic have not even met a Native American. If they had, there would not be such disrespect.

  30. chicagobtech says: Feb 11, 2013 5:42 PM

    In 2004 the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg Public Policy Center performed a randomized telephone survey. Of the 65k people who participated, 768 self-identified themselves as Native Americans. Of that group, 9 percent said they found the name offensive, with a +/- of 2 percent. The breakdowns within the group of 768 indicated between 6 and 13 percent found the name offensive, depending on their subgroup.

    Google “national annenberg survey redskins” if you want to read the survey results as well as the specific question that was asked of participants.

  31. banky74 says: Feb 11, 2013 5:43 PM

    From oldbloodstegosaurus:
    “Same user; banky74 said “The people that stir things like this up do nothing to contribute to racial harmony. It’s an empty exercise that allows white liberals to assuage themselves of some white liberal guilt.” Ugh, they argument against white guilt is that in post-racial America race should be irrelevant. I agree with that. If it should be irrelevant than why bring it up? Again with “white liberals” also. They need to label that Fox News syndrome. Ignoring the changing demographics.”

    I’m simply describing what I see in today’s society. I’m libertarian in my beliefs and belong to neither political party. I don’t watch Fox, CNN, MSNBC or any other news network because all of them have a difficult time telling the truth.

    The bottom line is that I don’t see American Indians raising the issue of the Redskins’ name in masse. Nor do I see any conservative or libertarian outlets raising this issue en masse. The only people raising this issue are white liberals and consequently, that leads me to believe that this whole issue is another symptom of the white liberal guilt phenomenon.

    In this country, we have freedom of both speech and expression. If the Dan Snyder wants to use a name that may or may not be racist, he has a right to do so as long as he understands it is at his own peril.

    On the other hand, people who have a problem with the name have the right to express their opinions about the issue with their money (in terms of Redskin’s tickets and merchandise) and their own voices.

    What I have a problem with is the grandstanding done by PFT writers and other members of the media. Their criticisms ring hollow to me and I don’t believe that they’re genuine in their words. It’s simply another person with some notoriety getting up on the pulpit and showing everyone else how morally superior they are.

    You can try to label me all you’d like, I’m just stating what I see.

  32. matt4477 says: Feb 11, 2013 5:54 PM

    I conducted a poll last week and spoke to 20 tribal members from different tribes. Not 1 person found it disrespectful including the one Mike Wise supposedly spoke to. Mike Wise and the writing this article need to chill. Mike wise needs to go back to NY and leave our area alone

  33. stunzeed5 says: Feb 11, 2013 5:55 PM

    If they change the name or beautiful colors/logos, I’m going to walk into the offices of PFT and split their nuts off the side of their faces. Hail.

  34. hawk4life80 says: Feb 11, 2013 6:04 PM

    Oh you mean the same government that took all these “redskins” and put them on reservations, thinks a nickname is offensive… I’m part Sioux Indian and I could care less. They were named out of respect just like every other nickname out there give me a break.

  35. neraider says: Feb 11, 2013 6:09 PM

    You let stunzeed5 say he was going to spit your nuts off the side of your faces, but you won’t let my comment go through? ( sorry to call you out stunzeed5)

    I am done with this site. See ya Florio.

  36. threefingerclown says: Feb 11, 2013 6:17 PM

    Why stop at Redskins? Let’s change every name that might be offensive to any miniscule segment of the populace!

    Raiders/Vikings/Buccaneers/Pirates – Historically associated with criminal activity. Let’s change them to Sailors/Nordics/Seamen (hehe)/Swabbies. Won’t someone please think of the CHILDREN??
    Packers – “Meat packer” origin offensive to vegans. Green Bay Blue Collar Workers?
    Saints/Padres/Angels/Devils – Offensive to athiests. We need to retain the separation of church and stadium!
    Red Sox/White Sox – Nontraditional spelling offensive to English professors. Use “Socks” please…
    Brewers – Offensive to teetotalers. Milwaukee Beverages?
    Hurricanes/Avalanche – Offensive to anyone who’s lost a loved one to these natural disasters. Carolina Drizzle and Colorado Snowfall seem more PC.
    Oilers – Offensive to environmentalists. Edmonton Solar Energy sounds much better anyway.
    Thunder/Lightning – These scare my kids. Offensive to parents!

    You’ve opened my eyes, PFT. Clearly every sports team should be named after a bird or horse. Where is the media outrage over all these disgusting team names???

  37. docdhc25 says: Feb 11, 2013 6:41 PM

    Redskin is a slur. To name a team after a racial or ethnic slur is ridiculous.

  38. skinsfaninnebraska says: Feb 11, 2013 6:50 PM

    I am of Irish descent. I find the “Fighting Irish” and their pugilistic little Leprechaun are perpetuating a stereotype of Irish men being prone to getting drunk and starting fist fights.

    BTW, that “bizarre” story at Redskins.com? It was apparently only “bizarre” to you, Mr Gantt. I read it and found nothing at all wrong with it.

    Too bad, I guess, it doesn’t agree with your narrow little view of what’s PC, or you wouldn’t have accused the Redskins of being “passive aggressive” and posting a “bizarre” article defending their position on the subject.

  39. cballlv11 says: Feb 11, 2013 6:51 PM

    I grew up in the D.C. area with a whole bunch of Native Indians who are some of the biggest Redskin fans I know. They love the name and consider it a sign of respect for their people and culture. Please find a real story to report on. Thank you.

  40. acdc84 says: Feb 11, 2013 7:12 PM

    “At a time when many are debating the appropriateness of the Redskins nickname…”

    LOL. Just because someone at PFT decided to post a rant about this doesn’t mean anyone important is actually debating it.

  41. xtb3 says: Feb 11, 2013 7:30 PM

    Redskins franchise has always had a long history of race relatiobs. Owner George Preston Marshall who moved te Redskins from Boston to Qashington, sais as late as 1960s that “he would finally sign a Black player as soon as the Harlem Globetrotters signed a White player.”

    Note- Bobby Mitchell then was acquired.

  42. string888 says: Feb 11, 2013 9:39 PM

    Dan Snyder should relocate the team on a reservation and deny the uppity government their tax cut since it offends them so much.

  43. hrdcorbengalsfan says: Feb 11, 2013 9:46 PM

    Give me a break! I am sure tons of a$sh?les are offended by the Browns but no one changes that!

  44. pjcostello says: Feb 11, 2013 10:06 PM

    Wow, still on this non-story, eh? Will we be going after the Chiefs, too? These team names were thought to be RESPECTFUL of, and admiring of, Native American Indians — not disparaging at all. The Indians were considered to be great warriors, and we always hear how sports are ‘battles’ fought on ‘fields of honor’ and the like, and that’s all these team names were supposed to represent.

    In the 1940s we interred Americans of Japanese descent, yet no sports team was ever named anything insulting to the Japanese people. We went to war with Germany, twice — yet no sports team was ever named anything disparaging to the German people.

    It’s simply a politically-correct lie to say that Redskins, or Chiefs (who play at ARROWHEAD Stadium, right????) or any other team name is an insult to anyone. It’s just ludicrous. People who want to be insulted will always find a reason (or in today’s PC lexicon, they’ll be ‘offended’).. but that’s their problem, not everyone else’s.

  45. camlwalk says: Feb 12, 2013 3:07 AM

    I find the name ‘Giants’ to be extremely offensive to large people. And I don’t think we should be celebrating ‘Buccaneers’, ‘Raiders’, or ‘Pirates’ as these are all murderous criminals. As an Irish-American I find Notre Dame’s team name to be a vile stereotype and I am profoundly offended. Don’t even get me started on the Canucks….

  46. ham1 says: Feb 12, 2013 6:36 AM

    I dont want to be passive aggressive here so I will call it like I see it.
    Your article stinks .
    I bet you would like to get Obama to sign an executive order wouldnt you?
    Pathetic and biased writing that is offensive to me.

  47. steeelfann says: Feb 12, 2013 8:08 AM

    Have the lib whackos thought about or gave consideration to all of the Indians or partial Indians that just love the fact that the Washington team is named the Redskins? Oh right, it just makes em feel good to run around with another cause. Snore.

  48. dblodg says: Feb 12, 2013 10:41 AM

    I am offended that I have to watch a team called the Cowboys. I find it stereotyping and offense and I am going to round up…. say 500 people out of the millions in America and therefore they must change their name! Nope, not gonna happen. BUT, if these soft weaklings ever get their way with changing my beloved Redskins name, here is what we will do. We will change the name to the Washington….wait for it…. Redskins. Simply have the guy eating a peanut, who happens to be wearing a Native American headdress. Maybe he can be giving the bird too

  49. jwil444 says: Feb 12, 2013 10:49 PM

    So right, why should George the AD’s opinion matter? Clearly only weenies w/sports blogs have the right to an opinion……

  50. musicman495 says: Feb 13, 2013 9:42 AM

    I am a Redskin fan – not a Native American – who has mixed feelings about the name. I do not have either White Guilt, or “White Man Victim’s Disease,” as manifested daily on AM talk radio and cable news. I would cheer for the team with the current name or a with new name. I do not cheer for the name, I cheer for them because Sammy Baugh and Sonny Jurgenson and John Riggins and Darrell Green and RG3 played for them, and Joe Gibbs coached them to three Super Bowl wins, and they embarrass the Cowboys regularly.

    I do not understand the hostility on the part of those who want to stifle this discussion.
    To me, Florio is being kind by calling the Redskins.com article “bizarre.” I would call it idiotic and irrelevant. Who cares whether the team can quote some high school that uses the name “Redskins” and does not find it offensive. If the team wants to bolster their position for not changing the name, they should poll and interview and post the comments of Native Americans from different tribes across America who say they are not offended and find the name inspiring. If the overwhelming majority agree with the team, as was the case with a poll in 2004, then the white sports columnists will just have to learn to live with it. If the overwhelming majority disagree with the team, then it is time to respect that sentiment, and look for another name. I will be a fan either way, and my world will not end.

  51. jollyjoker2 says: Jun 29, 2014 10:47 PM

    every high school needs to change the name. NOW. Wait til los angeles has to change their name because of the pagans of the world find it offensive.

  52. jollyjoker2 says: Jun 29, 2014 10:49 PM

    name them all zombie 1 – 31. No one gets offended.

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