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Another high school looks at whether to keep Redskins name

Washington Redskins v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Getty Images

The list of non-NFL teams using the name “Redskins” could soon be resembling a countdown.

According to WIVB-TV, a high school in Lancaster, New York is taking up the question of whether a label used for 67 years should be continued.

As an initial step, a committee has been formed to consider whether the name should change.

“No decisions have been made at this time regarding the mascot,” Lancaster High School officials said in a statement.  “This school year, we will begin to have an exploratory dialogue about the use of the mascot, educating ourselves regarding the issues, involving multiple stakeholders and points of view.”

It will be locally polarizing and controversial, but the effort shows that as time passes more and more people are realizing that the name, when considered in isolation, raises real questions about its ongoing viability.

Against this developing background, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has said he’ll never change the name.  Maybe Snyder won’t, but his successor or his successor’s successor or his successor’s successor’s successor surely will.

Right or wrong and regardless of where anyone stands on this, most of the people populating this planet in 100 years will look back at this time in history and say, “Why did it take so long for people to figure out that the name needed to change?”

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53 Responses to “Another high school looks at whether to keep Redskins name”
  1. micknangold says: Jul 19, 2013 1:03 PM

    Since you can see 100 years into the future, are we gonna have flying cars? This all seems kind of pointless to worry about without flying cars.

  2. ShimSham says: Jul 19, 2013 1:05 PM

    Remember when Snyder filed a lawsuit against a small newspaper, claiming they were being anti-semitic because they drew cartoon horns on his head, while pointing out his anti-consumer business practices? I remember that.

  3. losangelesbillsofbuffalo says: Jul 19, 2013 1:13 PM

    In 2002, my high school changed it’s name from the Indians to the Eagles. The leading up to said name change didn’t make it to any national news outlets, nor was the fight to keep the name a long winded battle. We swallowed our pride and took the new, unwanted name like men. The high school was run by the community, hence, it was the community’s choice to make the change. Much like it’s the Washington Redskin organization’s choice to make whatever decision they feel is best going forward. Bottom line is this – no matter what the outcome of all this, let’s try to make a collective effort to stop whining like little pansies who can’t handle anything when the smallest thing doesn’t go our way. I can’t believe I am going to have to start referencing the ’90′s as “back in my day,” but by gosh people, come on.

  4. q1ller says: Jul 19, 2013 1:14 PM

    Let’s get real.

    There are names like the Chiefs and Braves which, in my opinion, could be viewed as somewhat of a tribute by native Americans. However, Redskins is a derogatory name describing a physical attribute of a people and it is insulting.

  5. cajunaise says: Jul 19, 2013 1:15 PM

    From Mike Florio’s post: “…most of the people populating this planet in 100 years will look back at this time in history and say, `Why did it take so long for people to figure out that the name needed to change?’”

    He’s right – this isn’t complicated. Emotion-laden, tradition-challenging, and hot-button pressing, maybe. But not complicated.

  6. sidepull says: Jul 19, 2013 1:16 PM

    “Against this developing background, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder has said he’ll never change the name. Maybe Snyder won’t, but his successor or his successor’s successor or his successor’s successor’s successor surely will.”

    Says who? You? Wishful thinking. No HS has the cash tied up in merchandising as the REDSKINS.
    Its easy for high schools to bow out under progressive pressure. Not so the Redskins.

  7. redskinpotatoes says: Jul 19, 2013 1:17 PM

    This blog post is ridiculous on a few levels. I understand the need to fill space during a dead time of the football off-season (and sports in general), but this goes well beyond.

    1. You dedicate yet another article to the name debate. And in this case, it’s a high school that’s only CONSIDERING changing the name.

    2. Your last paragraph where you talk about what people are going to say 100 years from now is absurd. We have no idea what people will think 100 years from now, and my guess is they’ll be wondering why national attention was being placed on the Redskins name (especially by Congress), when there are other, more important issues.

    3. I would venture to guess (since I’m not one of them), that even the people that support a name change see this as an unpersuasive argument: A high school, which is one of the most politically correct environments, in one of the most politically correct states in the country, is considering a name change. That probably means the Redskins should change their name. C’mon.

    Mike, your place in the history books is secured as “against the name.” You can relax.

  8. eleventyeight says: Jul 19, 2013 1:18 PM

    This is all getting ridiculous.

    No competitive sports franchise would call itself by any shameful or dishonorable name; why would they? There is no self-respect in calling yourself any weak or unsubstantiated title.

    The American Indian words and names so often used by American sports clubs are a tribute to the ferocity, tenacity, skill and dedication of warriors who- despite being overwhelmingly out-numbered and out-gunned- fought off and held back a tide of invading peoples for FIVE HUNDRED YEARS!

    How could any reference to that fighting spirit ever be “offensive”?

    America is slowly devouring itself in a frenzy of divisive, selfish name-changing and tribalization brought by an industry based upon finger-pointing and hurt feelings.

    Are we REALLY going to let our media work us into a frenzy so that they can keep jobs paid for by perpetual conflict?

  9. cfballfan1 says: Jul 19, 2013 1:21 PM

    and the campaign continues.

  10. steviemo says: Jul 19, 2013 1:28 PM

    They’re going to change the name to the “Blackskins” in order to avoid controversy.

  11. snowman36 says: Jul 19, 2013 1:33 PM

    Brian Orakpo went to a high school nicknamed the Redskins. Oddly enough it was the last time he was a game changer.

  12. 49erstim says: Jul 19, 2013 1:33 PM

    That’s all well and good, but the difference is that schools are owned/run publicly and The Redskins are PRIVATELY owned. Whether you agree with the name or not we cannot FORCE Dan Snyder to change it….unless we take the issue to Mike’s King in the White House.

  13. dubblelznhell says: Jul 19, 2013 1:33 PM

    Do you really believe football will be around in 100 years?

  14. lawrinson20 says: Jul 19, 2013 1:34 PM

    Could Snyder imagine a Native American owner of a team called the “Yellow Stars?” Or the “Üntermenschen?” He might have issue with that owner’s absolute refusal to entertain a name change.

    It’s Snyder’s “never” declaration that bothers me. He’s signaling that he’s done thinking about the topic. As someone who’s making this decision as a virtual representative of a city and all of the team’s fans, this is reprehensible. It’s always troubling when a member of one group makes choices regarding matters of ‘offense’ for another group. The sensitivity just isn’t there. And, in this case, it seems Snyder would need consensus to recognize the offense. The fact that that almost never happens doesn’t invalidate the offense.

  15. ezwriter69 says: Jul 19, 2013 1:37 PM

    I’ll say again, for all of you who feel you are moral authority enough to lecture other people on what should and shouldn’t offend THEM:
    Come with me into a couple of little bars just off the rez here in central Minnesota. Walk up to any Indian in the place, stick out your hand, and say “Hey Redskin, whassup”? If you’re willing to do so, let everyone here how that works out for you. If you’re not, then you just just proved that you’re full of bleep.

  16. mrx149 says: Jul 19, 2013 1:38 PM

    I can tell you why it wont change; 1) The native americans referred to themselves oftentimes — in treaty negotiations, in meetings with the early settlers – as Redskins. So it’s not a term that the white man created; it’s actually a term that the Indians themselves created. 2) The name Redskins was selected by the 1930’s head coach, who was a Native American. 3) By the early 1960s, the Redskins had dropped any reference to Indians in their logo, uniforms and merchandise. So Walter Wetzel, former chairman of the Blackfoot tribe and president of the National Congress of American Indians in the 1960s went to the Redskins office with photos of Indians in full headdress. He said, “I’d like to see an Indian on your helmets,” which then sported a big “R” as the team logo. Within weeks, the Redskins had a new logo, a composite Indian taken from the features in Wetzel’s pictures. As you can see, Native Americans are responsible for the creation of the term Redskin, are responsible for the team name Redskin, and are the ones who requested the logo. Too late to put the genie back into the bottle.

  17. cgravyboat says: Jul 19, 2013 1:39 PM

    The Redskins should just change their name to the JV Ravens.

  18. ShimSham says: Jul 19, 2013 1:40 PM

    sidepull says: Says who? You? Wishful thinking. No HS has the cash tied up in merchandising as the REDSKINS.
    Its easy for high schools to bow out under progressive pressure. Not so the Redskins.
    ————————————————
    Yeah, it’s hard being worth a billion dollars.

  19. my2cents27 says: Jul 19, 2013 1:42 PM

    I predict by 2030 they will be called the Red Fins or something different!! Snyder can’t live forever and he certainly cannot own the team forever!! Another owner with differing views could call it a wrap overnight!! My Prediction: It will eventually happen!!!

  20. ShimSham says: Jul 19, 2013 1:44 PM

    eleventyeight says: “How could any reference to that fighting spirit ever be “offensive”?”
    ——————————
    How could you construe the name Redskins to be a reference to a “fighting spirit?” It’s a derogatory, racist term for a huge number of different peoples.

  21. formyministy says: Jul 19, 2013 1:44 PM

    i think in 100 years, we’ll all be looking back and saying, “it’s wrong to refer to an entire group of people as ‘colored’…”

    so, when do you start your campaign against the naacp?

  22. lawrinson20 says: Jul 19, 2013 1:45 PM

    @eleventyeight:
    I’m sure, if you had the time or inclination, you could look back throughout history and find a good number of instances where sports teams DID indeed give themselves dishonorable names. You could also find, if you were able to recognize them, instances where appellations, terminology, and syntax has changed over the course of time. People need to evolve. A more sophisticated mind my recognize that sports franchise names are not etched in concrete nor need they be.

    What WAS acceptable years ago no longer is.

    And, I’m not sure how you became the arbiter of what terms ‘glorify’ a race. Native Americans, perhaps, no longer need or want to be represented as “warriors.” Nor may they want to have themselves represented by a caricature on a helmet, no different from the other subhuman species typically found on helmets and ballcaps.

    Sure. Blame it on the media. That’s cheap. I’ll tell you something. My parents are from the MD/DC area. I grew up, by default almost, as a Redskins fan in the 70s. The name has always bothered me, but like most people, it was accepted because it was established before i was born. Doesn’t make it right, and when i achieved The Age of Empathy, I realized how ridiculous it was. But, you know, there was no internet at the time, and it didn’t mean enough to me to start a petition. Now, though, we have more recourse for discourse. Technology has advanced, and so should we.

  23. bigjd says: Jul 19, 2013 1:45 PM

    100 years from now huh? What’s the Chinese translation for Redskins?

  24. sc711 says: Jul 19, 2013 1:51 PM

    The Chickasaw lost one time, which was the civil war, they fought the war for 2 months after the South quit, pretty much by themselves.

    The French Indian war, well people thank soldiers for their service, if not for Native Americans this forum could be in French.

    Issues of manipulation and trust are what grinds in the heart of Native Americans.

    There are good people out there, things have gotten better, this is an issue that will hopefully get resolved.

    No one thinks Mr. Snyder intended a slur, we simply hope that he sees the truth.

  25. 12444uggg says: Jul 19, 2013 1:55 PM

    Before long, people will forget the genocide that was Andrew Jackson “manifesting destiny” and all records of the Indians will be wiped clean, including sports teams names.

  26. minnesoulja says: Jul 19, 2013 2:08 PM

    Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t ethnicity seen as a rainbow?

    I remember all the anti-racism posters in the hallways at school had a rainbow to represent all of god’s children.

    Green was Irish, Red was Italian, Yellow was Asian, Red was Native …. etc etc

    Is their skin not a reddish tint, like the asians are somewhat yellow?

    This is a stupid arguement that should just end.

    If this is as big a issue as it is drummed up to be, it should have been solved by now, RIGHT?

    Let it be.

  27. minnesoulja says: Jul 19, 2013 2:09 PM

    I don’t know many natives, but I think the ones I do know are proud of who they are and what they are.

    Their SKIN is RED.

    Enough said?

  28. jacksonjames4 says: Jul 19, 2013 2:17 PM

    What a pathetic bunch of people this society has become. They could change it to the Lancaster Crackers and i could care less. The kids of our future are do screwed

  29. djstat says: Jul 19, 2013 2:21 PM

    Who cares what a high school does? At the end of the day, what the nfl franchise does is what matters.

  30. b1unt3d says: Jul 19, 2013 2:22 PM

    I don’t understand how any one can argue that the name isn’t racist. It is absolutely mind boggling. Would you all argue that it isn’t racist if the name was “blackskins” or “brownskins” or “yellowskins?” Absolutely ridiculous.

  31. b1unt3d says: Jul 19, 2013 2:23 PM

    And the people who argue it isn’t racist because their skin is red.. Are you guys literally that ignorant?

  32. vinloubar says: Jul 19, 2013 2:23 PM

    Change the team name to “Warriors.” The name works fine in the Bay Area (although we long ago gave up the Native American images originally associated with it), and “Washington Warriors” could have a strong tie-in with the US Armed Forces, etc. Keep the colors the same, put a generic spear on the helmet (maybe something like what’s on the USSOCOM shoulder patch), and then move forward proud of the team, the city, the nation, the troops, etc.

  33. ShimSham says: Jul 19, 2013 2:28 PM

    minnesoulja says: “If this is as big a issue as it is drummed up to be, it should have been solved by now, RIGHT?

    Let it be.”
    ———————————————-
    Said the South Carolina plantation owner in 1857. I mean with this attitude, people would operate as if the status quo were perfect. This attitude just perpetuates the idea that everything right now is great simply because if longstanding issues were actual problems then someone else would have fixed them in the past. This is a completely, astronomically, absurd lens to view the world through.

  34. august589 says: Jul 19, 2013 2:29 PM

    Until Red Mesa (Ariz.) High School–deep in the heart of the Navajo Reservation in Teec Nos Pos, Arizona–changes the name of its mascot from the “Redskins,” all other arguments for the Washington NFL club changing its name ring hollow. And, until that happens, I will listen to no other arguments.

    By the way, my Cherokee wife loves her new Redskins T-Shirt!

  35. charger383 says: Jul 19, 2013 2:36 PM

    Redskins for 100 years and then some

  36. fargovikesfan says: Jul 19, 2013 2:37 PM

    while we’re at it, lets change the Chicago White Sox name as well. I find that offensive. Especially if they are wearing sandals with them

  37. condor75 says: Jul 19, 2013 2:39 PM

    Just FYI, contrary to popular belief, the KC Chiefs are not named for indians at all, they were actually named for the mayor of KC at the time, whose nickname was “Chief”

  38. condor75 says: Jul 19, 2013 2:40 PM

    I don’t understand how any one can argue that the name isn’t racist. It is absolutely mind boggling. Would you all argue that it isn’t racist if the name was “blackskins” or “brownskins” or “yellowskins?” Absolutely ridiculous.
    Sadly some of the “open-minded ” people here would probably argue that

  39. jvkaimak says: Jul 19, 2013 2:45 PM

    90% of fans and native americans support the name. The only ones pushing for the change are those that are super sensitive or those who do not like the redskins as a team. I’m honestly tired of hearing about sh#t about this. Find something better to do with your time other than posting these articles and trying to keep fuel on a fire that was extinguished a long time ago.

  40. metalhead65 says: Jul 19, 2013 2:46 PM

    most people will look back and wonder why a douche who runs a site about pro footballs news decided to get into the pc police business and try and change a name that only means football to 99.9 percent of the people in this country. and they will also ask why if he is so concerned about native americans why he is only trying to change the name of a sports team instead of actually working to help the lives of the people he says he is representing.

  41. guinsrule says: Jul 19, 2013 2:52 PM

    Change it to “the first immigrants from Asia”

  42. Trey says: Jul 19, 2013 2:53 PM

    Appealing to the future is as fallacious as appealing to the past. Notice liberals almost always use such speculation because they can’t refute facts. It’s easier to invoke the imaginary had of progress and the future instead of making a cogent logical defense.

  43. micknangold says: Jul 19, 2013 2:55 PM

    @ezwriter: That’s a plausible scenario? I’m going to go all the way to Minnesota to get a weird look from a Native American who will probably be thinking “He knows that’s just a football team’s name, doesn’t he?”

  44. Abattoir says: Jul 19, 2013 2:58 PM

    Don’t politicians have bigger issues on hand, like the fact that the city of Detroit just declared bankruptcy?

    Political correctness is overtaking the country.

    Pretty soon, people will want the Packers to change their name because their logo and brand promote cholesterol and high levels of fat.

  45. b3nz0z says: Jul 19, 2013 3:08 PM

    “2)The name Redskins was selected by the 1930’s head coach, who was a Native American.”
    actually it was selected by the owner, as a “tribute” to the coach whose mother may or may not have been part native american. that coach was also fired within two years.
    “3) By the early 1960s, the Redskins had dropped any reference to Indians in their logo, uniforms and merchandise”
    maybe, but it was not until later that decade that the team was forced by the federal government to racially integrate. well after the rest of the league had done so without being forced.
    so the franchise has been showing contempt towards american minorities for many decades.

  46. formyministy says: Jul 19, 2013 3:19 PM

    august589 says:
    Jul 19, 2013 2:29 PM
    Until Red Mesa (Ariz.) High School–deep in the heart of the Navajo Reservation in Teec Nos Pos, Arizona–changes the name of its mascot from the “Redskins,” all other arguments for the Washington NFL club changing its name ring hollow. And, until that happens, I will listen to no other arguments.

    By the way, my Cherokee wife loves her new Redskins T-Shirt!

    ———-

    thumbs up x1000

  47. raiderapologist says: Jul 19, 2013 3:39 PM

    Right or wrong and regardless of where anyone stands on this, most of the people populating this planet in 100 years will look back at this time in history and say, “Why did it take so long for people to figure out that the name needed to change?”

    ————–
    Or they might look back at this time and wonder why something so few people really cared about became a crusade for some Internet hack.

  48. thirdistheworrd says: Jul 19, 2013 3:46 PM

    august589 says:
    Jul 19, 2013 2:29 PM
    Until Red Mesa (Ariz.) High School–deep in the heart of the Navajo Reservation in Teec Nos Pos, Arizona–changes the name of its mascot from the “Redskins,” all other arguments for the Washington NFL club changing its name ring hollow. And, until that happens, I will listen to no other arguments.

    By the way, my Cherokee wife loves her new Redskins T-Shirt!
    ________________
    Exactly. The media loves to talk about the schools that do change their names– in New York and Seattle– but what they don’t talk about are schools like Red Mesa in Teec Nos Pos, AZ and Teton high school in Idaho where proposals to change the mascot were met with massive, organized opposition by the local Native population. There’s also curiously little mention of the fact that of the 25 high schools still bearing the Redskins mascot, 19 are located in or around reservations. You’re welcome to your own opinion on the subject, but don’t pretend like the media doesn’t have a very specific agenda here.

    I won’t pretend to have any personal connection to any Natives: I don’t– all I know is that, whether or not the name is offensive, that question needs to be up to the Native community and no one else. And that’s why it doesn’t matter how many schools change their mascot or what case the media makes against the name

  49. grumpyoleman says: Jul 19, 2013 4:01 PM

    100 years from now people will wonder why the majority let a handful of tree huggers change the name of a football team when most of the Indian population had no problem with it.

  50. mark0226 says: Jul 19, 2013 4:21 PM

    MONEY will decide this issue, not the Media or Congress. Look which NFL jersey broke the record for the most selling jersey in NFL history. You guessed it, it was a Washington Redskins jersey. As long as people keep supporting the Redskins brand with they money, the name will stay the same.

    On another note, words in the English language have multiple meanings and only get their true meaning in context. Look up any word in the dictionary, pick one at random and look it up. You will see more than one meaning. So the word Redskins in the context of the NFL is simply the name and BRAND of the team. There is no negative or derogatory meaning.

    Even the N-word can be used without negative or derogatory meaning, as witnessed by the fact that people call each other this word daily. It only becomes negative when used in a negative way or when the media wants to sensationalize the use of the word to sell ads.

  51. ssong1969 says: Jul 19, 2013 7:29 PM

    My preference would be for the name change but there are hundreds more important issues I would like to see addressed to benefit us fans – eg. get rid of the blackout rules, seriously. I rarely feel that the media or the league really care about what matter to us fans these day…

  52. garcia7168 says: Jul 19, 2013 8:32 PM

    Change the name to Washington Sharknados and call it a day! Boom!

  53. defscottyb says: Jul 20, 2013 6:30 PM

    Even if every single high school in all 50 states drops the name the Skins will never change the name. High schools are slaves to public funding and pressure. NFL teams are totally different. “Red” in Redskins is a re: to Red War Paint worn in battle NOT skin color. Hail!

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