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Redskins ask fans loaded question regarding possible name change

Getty_S_051013_Redskins Getty Images

Some polls are aimed at finding out what people really think.  Some polls are intended to make people think a certain thing.

The Redskins have crafted an online fan poll with at least one question that seems to be more about pushing public sentiment in the team’s desire direction instead of finding out what people truly believe.

The questions, shared by Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post, come from a broader online survey.  The first poses in simple “yes” or “no” terms whether the team should change its name.  Then, the survey asks which of the three following statements the reader agrees with the most:  (1) “the name is rooted in racism and is outdated and offensive”; (2) “the name is a unifying force that stands for strength, courage, pride and respect”; and (3) “it is just another team name and doesn’t really matter to me all that much.”

Plenty of people may not completely agree with any of those statements.  Some may agree more with “the name may have been acceptable at first but times have changed and at some point the name should” or “when disconnected from the name of a team, the term ‘redskins’ is inappropriate and offensive” or “in 100 years people will look back on this period of history with amazement that it took us so long to realize the name should be changed.”

But that’s not even the most troubling question.  The last one, a classic political push poll, loads up the team’s position before seeking an answer:  “If you knew that . . . According to the independent institute poll of nearly 1,000 Native Americans, 90% of Native Americans DON’T find the Washington Redskins name offensive . . . and . . . Ten Members of Congress called on the team to change its name because they considered it offensive . . . Should the Washington Redskins change their name?”

The team doesn’t care about the answer to that one.  The goal is to make sure the person responding to the poll can change “if you knew” to “now I know.”

At least it’s better than using the “hey look at all the high schools that use the name” approach, and it’s a definite improvement over using a Chief who isn’t a Chief and may not even be a Native American.

The goal is the same.  The team wants to recruit more fans to become active participants in shouting down anyone who would dare point out that, for example, “the name may have been acceptable at first but times have changed and at some point the name should” or “when disconnected from the name of a team, the term ‘redskins’ is inappropriate and offensive” or “in 100 years people will look back on this period of history with amazement that it took us so long to realize the name should be changed.”

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50 Responses to “Redskins ask fans loaded question regarding possible name change”
  1. DonRSD says: Jul 10, 2013 9:16 AM

    Very well written article.
    Redskins name is a disgrace for the NFL.

  2. SilentMajority says: Jul 10, 2013 9:17 AM

    Is any of this really surprising? If the Redskins organization didnt want to influence public opinion then they’d just change the name and be done with it…

  3. breadslicer says: Jul 10, 2013 9:27 AM

    So embarrassing and I’m not even a Redskin fan.

  4. ridingwithnohandlebars says: Jul 10, 2013 9:27 AM

    It will be interesting to see if the fans accept a name change.

    I remember when the Baltimore CFL team was going to be named the Colts but were not allowed to because of the NFL. The fans still called them the Colts however, and when the team was announced at the games the announcer would say “Your Baltimore CFL…” and the fans would yell “Colts!”

    I am sure there are a lot of people who have been fans of the team all their lives and would fight to keep the name for as long as they possibly can.

  5. skinsnation703 says: Jul 10, 2013 9:30 AM

    I’m a die hard Skins fan, and If they ever do decide to change the name it better be something fierce. I mean look what took place with the Bullets…and are now the Wizards. If something like that happens it would be very disappointing.

  6. doomsdaydefensetx says: Jul 10, 2013 9:44 AM

    Hail to the Redtails

  7. thevet716 says: Jul 10, 2013 9:47 AM

    They should change there name to…..The “FORESKINS”!

  8. verna82 says: Jul 10, 2013 9:48 AM

    This has Frank Luntz written all over it.

  9. fireeyes111 says: Jul 10, 2013 9:50 AM

    You mean Dan Snyder hired a Fox News strategist known for spin-doctoring and biased-twisted polling to try and convince people that he’s right?

    The same guy who told GOP’ers to refers to Democrats as “traitors” and “sickos”?

    Same guy who denied the existence of global warming and told everyone to call it “climate change” since then no one would know what it was?

    Yeah, color me shocked.

  10. blackfootkiller says: Jul 10, 2013 9:51 AM

    Indeed times have changed…What we need to be asking; has it been for the better?
    When everyone becomes so ‘over sensitive’ that they find offense in everything, whether intended or not…
    We have truly left the rational world…
    And are doomed to embrace the unrealistic one that has been fabricated by Politics, the media, and Hollywood.

  11. geemoney713 says: Jul 10, 2013 9:51 AM

    This is a non story. The 3 options are just asking people to draw a hard line with how the name makes them feel.

  12. osiris33 says: Jul 10, 2013 9:52 AM

    The name is only offensive to the liberal elite who have nothing better to do than be offended by something at all times.

  13. theflyingtad says: Jul 10, 2013 10:00 AM

    There must be some bird names that aren’t taken to go with:

    Eagles
    Ravens
    Cardinals
    Seahawks
    Falcons

    Besides, when the Redskins do finally get around their name. We will just start talking about the Kansas City Chiefs…

  14. justinstuckrule says: Jul 10, 2013 10:06 AM

    What I know is the Redskins are a tough team and it will be a big battle for the Giants to beat them this year. The Giants can do it but they are underdogs.

    The Giants are pretty predictable on offense and defense so division games are pretty tough for them. The Redskins defense has Eli’s number.

  15. bcraze says: Jul 10, 2013 10:10 AM

    My wife’s grandfather was a Native American and arguably one of the biggest Redskins fans of all time. He’d be rolling over in his grave if he heard they’re trying to change the name because it’s “offensive” to Native Americans.

  16. PeterKingLovesCoqAVin says: Jul 10, 2013 10:11 AM

    Redtails is awful. Washington Hogs is much better. You could even call them the Red Hogs if you wanted to be stupid about it.

  17. kane337 says: Jul 10, 2013 10:12 AM

    Washington Warriors
    Washington Redcoats
    Washington Pigskins

  18. packerbackernj says: Jul 10, 2013 10:13 AM

    Washington Pelicans

  19. unbiasfan says: Jul 10, 2013 10:18 AM

    How about the Washington Whales?

  20. SparkyGump says: Jul 10, 2013 10:19 AM

    If the league was expanding into a new market and the name “Redskins” was being proposed do you think any sane person would actually go for it? Times have changed and the name “Redskin” is no longer acceptable. To all the fans of the team who resist this, try to keep in mind your team has a bright future with an owner who has finally come to his senses and turned the keys to the franchise to a GM and coach who know what they are doing and your biggest rival, the Cowboys, are still stuck in Jerry Jones’ meglomaniacal delusion and will be that way for a long time to come.

  21. cajunaise says: Jul 10, 2013 10:21 AM

    Want to know why the Redskins organization is screwing up at every turn in this fight so far? Because there’s no correct way to defend the name.

  22. fins33 says: Jul 10, 2013 10:29 AM

    I’m not extremely passionate about this issue one way or another but if you really think that this name is not offensive… call a Native American person you do not know very well a Redskin and gauge their reaction. I understand it’s hard to change something with such rich tradition but.. it’s a derogatory name for a group of people. Period. Websters defines it below:

    Noun
    offensive. An American Indian

  23. bjtmeyer says: Jul 10, 2013 11:31 AM

    The Washington Senators?

  24. brocattosbasement says: Jul 10, 2013 11:38 AM

    Just change the name to the “Skins”. Much of the fanbase refers to them as the Skins already. Skin is not offensive, we all have it.

  25. johnnyquisp says: Jul 10, 2013 11:40 AM

    I am saddened by the approach so many take in this argument. This isn’t being overly-PC, and the intent does not matter. The name is, by default, signaling a group of people out by their skin color. That’s what makes this different than names like “Chiefs”, “Indians”, “Warriors”, “Seminoles”, etc. It emphasizes skin color, whether by design or not. Doesn’t matter if the intention is good (I assume it is), it is pointing out a difference based on skin color. We are supposed to be past that.

    I doubt anyone would walk up to a Native American on the street and say “Excuse me redskin, do you have the time?” It is just as silly as referring to someone as a “black skin”, or a “yellow skin”, or a “white skin”. So why use it for a name for your business, in an arena with as much exposure as the NFL receives? If we think like global citizens, and not football fans, it seems clear to me. The universe doesn’t end if they choose not to rename, and no one should force it on them. But it just seems like the right thing for them to do.

  26. metspeed21 says: Jul 10, 2013 12:13 PM

    My high school was the Redskins and they changed the name fifteen years ago. Our community is close to a reservation and it clearly had to go.

    There has to be a way to change the name without sacrificing the warrior spirit they’re trying to embody. Even a return to the helmet with the arrow on it would be an improvement over having the head of an aboriginal chief on their helmet.

  27. jacunn2000 says: Jul 10, 2013 12:25 PM

    Just name them the “Natives”… Is that better??

  28. escapedconvict says: Jul 10, 2013 12:25 PM

    From now on all games are Home vs Visitor

  29. pleasebe18 says: Jul 10, 2013 12:32 PM

    I’m a life long fan of the skins. Long ago I recognized that character is what you do when no one is looking. Now that everyone is looking Snyder, what are you going to do?

  30. hail74 says: Jul 10, 2013 1:05 PM

    Can we just stop using the argument of “call someone a redskin and see how they react”? Obviously calling anyone by something other than their name or polite greeting of some sort is offensive. Go to a bar in the south and just call everyone cowboy. If they get mad should Dallas change their name? Call someone hey black, and when they get mad tell BET to change the name of their station.

  31. wiley16350 says: Jul 10, 2013 1:14 PM

    Here is a question. What has happened in the last 81 years that has made the term Redskin more offensive? Has it been used more often to disparage and denigrate? In reality, the offensive use of the word was used previous to the naming of the team. So how does the term become more offensive with less use? My brother actually just bought a Merriam-Webster dictionary from the 30′s. The definition for redskin was simply “a native american indian”. The offensiveness of the word is all in people’s heads. It hasn’t really been used to offend people in 100′s of years. It’s most basic definition means “a person with redskin”. So unless there is something wrong with being a person with redskin, how is the word offensive at it’s most basic meaning? So unless it is actually used in a negative context, the word itself isn’t offensive. I know if you asked the majority (if not all) white people if they would have a problem with them being called the Washington Whiteskins, they wouldn’t have a problem with it. Why would we, we find nothing wrong with being white. I don’t see why anybody would have a problem with a team being called the blackskins either, but since i’m not black, I guess I couldn’t answer that. Why should they find a problem with it? There is nothing wrong with being a blackskin. All the words do is describe someone. There is no negative connotation in them unless they’re used in a sentence that describes negatives about being that way. Ask yourself these questions.

    1. What is the most basic meaning of the word?
    2. How is the word actually used in context within society today?
    3. In the context that it is being used, does it denigrate, demean or negatively portray others.

    The answers to those questions for Redskin

    1. A person with Red skin.
    2. Name of a football team.
    3. It is used to attribute a football team with adjectives such as courage, bravery and ability to fight. Used in a respectful way.

    These answers show whether or not the term is actually offensive. You decide for yourself.

  32. sjblvegas says: Jul 10, 2013 1:22 PM

    Lets be real controversial and insensitive, lets change the name to “Washington Bureaucrats”. But then they would have to learn to fumble on purpose and continually punt.

  33. titansbro says: Jul 10, 2013 1:30 PM

    I think this post is loaded.

  34. escapedconvict says: Jul 10, 2013 1:47 PM

    The Washington Tribe. Boom! That. Just. Happened.

  35. hearsaystaff says: Jul 10, 2013 1:52 PM

    The idea that 10% of all Native Americans are offended should be enough to change the name. The Redskins are admitting that individuals are indeed offended. Also, this is the same franchise who had a fake “Chief” so I question their polling methods. Usually when you have to question that something is offensive, then it is offensive.

  36. 4for4phillyguy says: Jul 10, 2013 1:53 PM

    Why not go with the Washington Senators? Since the National League baseball team took the stupid name of Nationals.

  37. aamboca says: Jul 10, 2013 2:01 PM

    I have been a diehard Redskins since my father took me to my first game at Griffith stadium in 1953. When the team moved to DC Stadium in the early 1960′s, we had season seats. The fan that had the season seat NEXT to me was a full blood Cherokee. When the team scored, he sang “Hail to the Redskins” (OLD version) as loud as any one. It seems he had no problem with the term redskins, so why is there one now? Six native Americans a few years ago tried to get the Redskins trade marks revoked because the term was “offensive”. Really… Does ANYBODY really believe that was their motivation? How many native Americans that say they have no problem with the name will it take before this issue goes away? Oh and for the motivation of the native 6… M O N E Y!!!!! HAD they been successful, a miraculous settlement would have occurred allowing the Redskins to continue using the name. It’s amazing how quick we are to jump on an issue that somebody sells us, without looking at the true motivation! Just look at the Redskins logo. It was drawn with respect! If one looks at all the Indian renditions the Redskins have used over their history, they have ALL been done respectfully. Has no one ever seen Chief Wahoo??? Now THAT is racist. Where is the controversy over that??? In case you don’t know who Chief Wahoo is, he’s the logo of the Cleveland Indians!

  38. rickyspanish says: Jul 10, 2013 2:08 PM

    Snyder is treating redskins fans like they’re stupid.

  39. dpj1022 says: Jul 10, 2013 2:51 PM

    Imagine that. The Redskins want people to know about the U of PA poll that showed 91% of Nat Amer surveyed were fine with the team’s name. That’s highly pertinent and something that the anti-name junta likes to ignore. So the primary premise of this article is inane. But putting that aside, the author should be thanked for further publicizing the poll that the Redskins are trying to publicize. It certainly helps what the Redskins are trying to do.

  40. duluthfan says: Jul 10, 2013 2:57 PM

    I think the vast majority of Americans (Native and otherwise) do not think the name as having a racist intention to it. I also think the majority of Native Americans do not find it offensive in the least.

    If you named them the Washington Honkys or Washington White Breads, I (as a white person) would not be offended in the least…I would actually find it amusing and would make the Washington Honkies my new second favorite team.

    This is not about racism, this is about over-sensitivity by a small group of people across ALL ethnicities.

    We are all Americans…some just happen to be red, some are black, some are yellow and some are white, etc…. Who cares…we are all Americans, right?

  41. fins33 says: Jul 10, 2013 2:58 PM

    I feel like reading these posts is a good representation of society, in general. A few logical individuals speaking softly while ignorant people are screaming at the top of their lungs.

  42. hsteacher says: Jul 10, 2013 3:05 PM

    I’m neither one way or the other on this issue, however, if they do a name change how about the Redtails? It’s a hawk.

  43. aamboca says: Jul 10, 2013 3:18 PM

    What are you 10 years old? The ORIGINAL name of the Washington Senators WAS the Nationals! When the National League and American Leagues merged into Major League baseball there were more National than American league teams, so the Nationals switched to the American league and were required to change their name. It went from Nationals to Senators. When baseball came back, they thought about 15 seconds about using the name Senators again and quickly threw that out the window and went back to the original DC baseball club name. The Senators were LOSERS!!! Why would the ‘skins even consider using that name at all? Learn your history son.

  44. fins33 says: Jul 10, 2013 3:50 PM

    I don’t think the name should be changed. I don’t think the team should have ever decided on the name, but I don’t think it should be changed now, necessarily. It’s not doing any damage it hasn’t already done, nobody is dying over it. I just want people to recognize that it is a word that people use to refer to a group of people and that group of people prefers to be called different names. In Enlgish we have words for that; Racist, offensive. People seem to think you have to either vote for agreeing it’s offensive and change it or deny it’s offensive and keep it.

  45. nativesupport says: Jul 10, 2013 4:30 PM

    The first known use of the word redskin to be published contemporaneously, as reprinted in Niles’ Weekly Register (Baltimore) for October 14, 1815, from an issue of The Western Journal (St. Louis) that does not survive. Shown is the first paragraph of the official translation of the speech that the Meskwaki chief Black Thunder made on July 20, 1815, in the treaty council at Portage des Sioux, Missouri Territory. Addressing Gov. William Clark according to Indian convention as “My Father,” he referred to Indians and Europeans in the Meskwaki language as “red skins and white skins.” These were idioms current in several Indian languages of the area which were translated into Mississippi Valley French as Peaux-Rouges and Peaux-Blanches, and from French into local English. Credit: Smithsonian Institution, Dibner Library

    Quote

    It doesnt bother me, Robert Green, the chief of the Patawomeck Tribe, told Woody. About 98 percent of my tribe is Redskins fans, and it doesnt offend them, either

    Quote

    Im a Redskins fan, and I dont think theres any intention for (the nickname) to be derogatory, said Kevin Brown, chief of the Pamunkey Tribe.

    The majority of the people in my tribe dont have a problem with it

    Quote

    I don’t have an issue with it, said G. Anne Richardson, chief of the Rappahannock Tribe. There are so many more issues that are important for the tribe than to waste time on what a team is called.

  46. ee00ee says: Jul 10, 2013 6:15 PM

    I’ve asked many of our tribe their opinion on this matter. 100% of the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe members asked were against this name and thought it was racist. Also, none of us were asked our opinion in that other poll, which I don’t think ever really existed anyway.

    To anyone who is against recognizing this racism because it’s always existed I hope they remember this: At one time women not voting, separate fountains, and segregated schools were also things that were “just the way it’s been so why change it”. Granted, those things are far more pronounced than this issue.

  47. nativesupport says: Jul 10, 2013 7:22 PM

    From Sports Illustrated, 2002.

    Asked if they were offended by the name Redskins, 75% of Native American respondents in SI’s poll said they were not, and even on reservations, where Native American culture and influence are perhaps felt most intensely, 62% said they weren’t offended. Overall, 69% of Native American respondents—and 57% of those living on reservations—feel it’s O.K. for the Washington Redskins to continue using the name. “I like the name Redskins,” says Mark Timentwa, 50, a member of the Colville Confederated Tribes in Washington State who lives on the tribes’ reservation. “A few elders find it offensive, but my mother loves the Redskins.”

  48. nativesupport says: Jul 10, 2013 7:26 PM

    Most American Indians say that calling Washington’s professional football team the “Redskins” does not bother them, the University of Pennsylvania’s National Annenberg Election Survey shows.

    Ninety percent of Indians took that position, while 9 percent said they found the name “offensive.” One percent had no answer. The margin of sampling error for those findings was plus or minus two percentage points.

    Because they make up a very small proportion of the total population, the responses of 768 people who said they were Indians or Native Americans were collected over a very long period of polling, from October 7, 2003 through September 20, 2004. They included Indians from every state except Alaska and Hawaii, where the Annenberg survey does not interview. The question that was put to them was “The professional football team in Washington calls itself the Washington Redskins. As a Native American, do you find that name offensive or doesn’t it bother you?”

  49. doskalata says: Jul 10, 2013 10:11 PM

    Is Columbus day still a national holiday? Yeah, I thought so… Well when congress realizes that and does something about that, then they can be all PC about the name.

  50. subliminalsteeler says: Jul 11, 2013 1:00 AM

    It’s just another team name. Get over it people!! Why does congress have anything to do with the name of an NFL team? This is the goofiest thing I’ve heard.

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