Washington Post reiterates opposition to Washington team name

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A misconception has arisen in the days since the NFL franchise owned by Daniel Snyder secured a definitive legal victory in the longstanding challenge to its federal trademark rights. Many believe that Washington won the case because the U.S. Supreme Court deemed the name to be not offensive.

That’s not the case. The Supreme Court ruled only that the government has no right or duty to refuse or restrict trademark protection based on concerns that the protected name is or could be regarded as offensive.

The editorial board of the Washington Post recently explained the difference while reiterating its prior call to change the name.

“Mr. Snyder can call his football team anything he wants without fear of losing the valuable trademark protection that is key to merchandising revenue,” the editorial board wrote. “But just because the First Amendment gives him the right to use a racial slur, that doesn’t mean he should. Why would he even want to? We understand the affection Mr. Snyder and some team fans espouse for the history embodied in the name, and we have never thought there is racist intent when fans hail the team’s name.

“None of that, though, changes the inescapable fact that the name is one that no one with any real sense of decency would ever think to call a Native American to his or her face. It is degrading. It does real harm, particularly in psychological damage to Native American children and teens. It should be changed — and then congratulations will be in order.”

This is far from a case of political correctness run amok or non-Native Americans telling Native Americans what should offend them. A Washington Post poll from 2016, however flawed and criticized it may have been, still showed that roughly 10 percent of self-identifying Native Americans find the term objectionable. Even if that number is low, what other NFL franchise carries a name that reasonably offends 10 percent of the group to which it refers?

And, please, don’t dust off the tired old refrain that “Giants” may offend large people and “Vikings” can be construed as an insult those of Nordic heritage. No other NFL team has a name that also has become a dictionary-defined slur, even if the term was regarded as acceptable for decades.

Charles Krauthammer, a conservative commentator, explained in 2013 not as a matter of politics but as a matter of linguistics that societal norms have shifted in a way that makes the term no longer acceptable, like so many other terms that gradually went from O.K. to not.

Often lost in the knee-jerk, I’m-right-you’re-wrong debate over the name continues to be the fact that groups like the National Congress of American Indians strongly oppose the name. Those who defend the continued name, some of whom become very upset and irrational when doing so, often refuse to acknowledge that plenty of Native Americans find the name problematic, pointing instead to Native American friends, acquaintances, or co-workers who have said they’re fine with it.

PFT’s policy and practice on this issue has evolved over the past few years to this: Each writer can decide whether to use or not to use the name. I won’t dub anyone who chooses to use it or who defends its use as racist or wrong-headed; I simply choose not to use it because there actually are Native Americans who are offended by the term, and I choose not to use the term out of respect to those persons. The same First Amendment principles that allow all American citizens to use the term, and that allows one of them to profit handsomely from it via federal trademark protections, surely allow others to choose not to use it.

60 responses to “Washington Post reiterates opposition to Washington team name

  1. Well, the majority of the country is white. But the only people I know who whine about the Redskins is liberals like you who are trying to persuade other ppl to be offended over a name that you have no idea on what it actually means. You really need a history lesson. The name stays. It’s over. Deal with it. Redskins.

  2. When the Supreme Court hands you lemons, the WaPo learns to spin it into lemonade Sprite to go with the nothing burger of a story.

  3. We’ve heard you repeat that same position about a million times now. We get it already. You have the right not to say any word you don’t wish to say. The rest of us are tired of a PC culture where being offended by something gives people the right to demand it be changed. Before the Supreme Court ruling I’m sure you and like thinkers would have been happy to supress the free speech of the Redskins and see them punished it they didn’t comply. Exactly who determines what speech is offensive? You? The fact that most native americans didn’t find it offensive didn’t seem to deter you in any way.Geez, even the liberals on the court rule against you. We are also tired of people in the media using their platform to tell the rest of us how to think.

  4. So ten…ten…ten percent of survey respondents said it was offensive,,my math says 90..90% percent DO NOT OBJECT, under your rational..if I can find 10% that object to YOUR NAME I CAN FORCE YOU TO CHANGE IT….RIGHT. RIGHT?

  5. The Washington Post has little credibility outside the beltway, so their opinion carries no weight with most americans.

    Personally, I draw a distinction between a slur and slang. A slur is meant to offend. Clearly a team name isn’t used this way. Redskins is slang.

  6. The Washington Post isn’t exactly a credible news source anymore. They’re right up there with CNN nowadays.

  7. The term explicitly denotes a race of people and whose origin was an epithet marking a people as distinct from whites, and directly ascribes warring, savagery.

    It is not complimentary.

    It perpetuates a derogatory stereotype of Native Americans as savages; a separate and lesser race.
    The history of the term’s
    use is as a marker and describer of racial distinctions between whites and non whites…

    It was a political term used for demonizing and propagandizing an entire people.

    US citizens of conscience rightly look at our conduct vis a vis Native Americans with profound shame at our treatment of them.

    It is well past time to retire the term.

  8. Well, Jeff Bezos, owner of the Washington Post, also owns the biggest on line retailer in the United States. It is named after a mythological race of Warrior Women and I find it offensive and hearby demand that the name Amazon be changed.

    Oh my god-I just typed the name of the company !

    I apologize to anyone I offended by using the term Amazon-oh no I did it again.

  9. If you follow this logic the state of Oklahoma should also change its name. Not doing the history lesson here on that but freedom of expression allows the team to call itself what it wants and everyone else to choose how to cover it, support it or not support it. Understand not wanting to offend someone but as Gran Ma Ma said “Sticks and stones may break your bones but words will never hurt you.”

  10. I live in Louisiana and am deeply offended by the NFL’s New Orleans “Saints” team name. “Saints” is a term directly tied to Christianity. I have three friend who are big football fans. Joe is a Buddhism , Tom is a Hindu, Fred believes in Islam, and I am personally an atheist. My friends and I will simply not be able to take one more year of NFL football with teams who choose offensive names. Native Americans are not the only people who can be offended. Still another case of “selective” outrage.

  11. It’s a major problem in this country. No matter what someone says or does, someone will be offended. And it’s the vocal minority (pantywaste liberals) that are offended the most.
    When the Redskins name was chosen, it was not to offend, it was to celebrate tough, noble native Americans. You libs twist and turn everything.

  12. I’m tired of the 5-10 per centers that want the worlds 90-95 per centers to change so they can be happy.

  13. If the National Congress of American Indians were to be granted even 1 percent of the Washington Redskins Franchise profits, I would guess their objection to the name would disappear.

  14. Well, at least it wasnt another story about that washed up QB that used to play in San Francisco.

    Hail to the R E D S K I N S!

  15. Well No Florio… Here’s a cheat sheet for ya…you cover the NFL, so it’s unprofessional to not acknowledge The Redskins.

    If you were acting in a movie that required you to say the N word, you either say the N word despite the fact that it still offends many in their community no matter how or why it was used….or you simply DON’T ACT IN THE MOVIE!!!

    Have you got it?

  16. The thing is that even thought the Supreme Court upheld Dan Snyders “right” to the franchise name, it doesn’t mean that journalist and individuals have to use the term, but rather should continue referring to the team as “Washington” as many do who find the term offensive.

  17. If groups were paid off like Florida State believe me all the “outrage” would disappear.

  18. I think it is time to reclaim the word REDSKINS. If it ever was at one time perjorative, it now no longer is. Where is the term REDSKINS used, outside of the NFL community?

  19. It doesn’t take much effort to see how the Packers name could be offensive to a certain group, even though the nickname is completely due to a meat packing company financially backing the team when they started.

    On that note, should the Packers have to quit because Vikings fans feelings are hurt ever year?

    Chiefs were named after a police Chief but that doesn’t matter to the Libs either.

    Time to grow up.

  20. I’m offended that you’re offended by the use of the name…..see….I can play the bogus victim too.

    BTW…..for all we know, Dan Snyder now “identifies” as an American Indian so it all may be good……lol….love when delusions and bending over backwards acquiesce to everyone can be used to the advantage of proving how utterly stupid it all is.

  21. djvh2 says:
    Jul 8, 2017 5:05 PM
    It doesn’t take much effort to see how the Packers name could be offensive to a certain group, even though the nickname is completely due to a meat packing company financially backing the team when they started.

    On that note, should the Packers have to quit because Vikings fans feelings are hurt ever year?

    Chiefs were named after a police Chief but that doesn’t matter to the Libs either.

    Time to grow up.
    ————————–
    The Packers were named after the Indian Packing Company. Totally racist and I for one am offended. Sick Em Mike!!

  22. Vikings was a derogatory term at the time, yet everyone Cala scandinavians “Vikings” and they say and take it with pride. I am not sure why native Americans can’t take the name as just a non-offensive term, especially because no one using it even uses as an insult. Kind of hard to call something offensive when no one using it ever means offense.

  23. There was a time long ago, in a galaxy far, far away when news outlets actually REPORTED the news, not manufacture it, and not use their influence to tell you that you are wrong unless you agree with them…

  24. Take a look at the percentages of the comments. That speaks to how the vast majority feel. Political Correctness, like Cultural Marxism are dangerous mechanisms. The last time Political Correctness ran unhindered was in Cambodia with the Khmer Rouge where millions were murdered. It was also loose during bad periods in China. Soviet Russia gave it face time while using the everyone is equal slogan from which the worst of bureaucrats profiteered and somewhere around 60 million Russians were murdered by the Cheka. One might want to look into who comprised the membership and maybe read some Solzhenitsyn.

    In any case… the name Redskins stays and knowing what I know about Dan Snyder there isn’t a snowball’s chance in Hell that he submits to pressure and changes the name.

  25. “I simply choose not to use it because there actually are Native Americans who are offended by the term, and I choose not to use the term out of respect to those persons. ”

    So what you are really saying is that you have no respect for the other 90% of people who find it offensive to not refer to the Redskins by their proper name.

  26. Serious question. How many of the white people offended by “redskins” don’t bat an eye when a group of black people refer to each other as “ni**er” 47 times in ten minutes? Willing to bet very very very few of you are as outspoken. Why is that??? If all of the white “redskin” name supporters grouped up and said that the term “ni**er” is highly offensive to hear, and it should never be said by anyone, would you support that? I doubt it… Living in an area where I am subjected to that word on a daily basis is beyond annoying, but since I’m a middle aged white guy (who isnt a liberal, I’m independent) I’m not allowed to be offended by anything. Period. I have often wondered what it would feel like to be allowed to be offended, or what it feels like to not be labeled racist just for my skin tone. But, that’s not something I’ll ever experience. Oh well…

  27. I got an idea. How about all you flakes just crawl back into your safe space and call them the Washington team- then you can just feel totally guilt-free and feel like your a vastly superior person compared to those that call them the Redskins. Oh, you already do that?

    The WAPO’s follow-up article will somehow pin this on President Trump. You know it’s has to be Trump’s fault somehow.

    Love watching Liberal main-stream media crash and burn.

  28. Not that I care but really the 49ers name is the most offensive because they are named affer the gold miners of 1849 who forcibly removed and murdered tens of thousands of Native Americans who were on on tbat land getting in the way of the white man’s gold. Also many women and children were raped. Funny how no one ever talks about tbat.

  29. When I think of Washington D.C. these days, the last thing I’m concerned about is the name of the football team.

  30. djvh2 says:
    Jul 8, 2017 5:05 PM
    It doesn’t take much effort to see how the Packers name could be offensive to a certain group, even though the nickname is completely due to a meat packing company financially backing the team when they started.

    On that note, should the Packers have to quit because Vikings fans feelings are hurt ever year?

    Chiefs were named after a police Chief but that doesn’t matter to the Libs either.

    Time to grow up.

    They will NEVER Grow Up.

  31. tonebones says:
    Jul 8, 2017 10:02 PM

    When I think of Washington D.C. these days, the last thing I’m concerned about is the name of the football team.
    _________

    Oh, you must still be concerned about the Russian Collusion- and you just might very well be the last person on the planet that is still sucking on the MSM teet. Or maybe you’re concerned that Hitlary is going to be wearing an orange jumpsuit sometime soon. Or maybe Obummer is exposed for spying on private citizens. Or concerned illegals aren’t invited to the party anymore.

    Keep on winning, baby!

  32. If they don’t like the Redskins, why don’t they just stop covering them?

    Oh they don’t want to lose money/subscribers. Some conviction they have there.

  33. It’s funny how the poll is considered “flawed,” because it didn’t give them the answer they wanted. There is no doubt that the WaPo worked hard to make sure it wasn’t flawed, because they didn’t want the name supporters to be able to make that claim.

  34. If we only used words that dont offend someone…sadly a lot of our vocabulary disappears. I think it all comes down to intent and context. If you use urban dictionary just about every word has been made into a slur. Cracker, razorback, the list goes on.

    Redskins, the intent is to represent a football team of warriors. Honestly the term to most and the non PC worrying crowd…means a football team. Not indians. Until the intent changes I’m fine with it.

    Hope you are aware of the fine line you are walking. Today its Redskins, tomorrow it could be something else. At some point you will fall victim to the pc crowd…And you will be forced to eat your own words.

  35. Dictionaries should reflect common usage. Easily the majority use of the word “Redskin” is a reference to a football player in Washington. It is time for the dictionaries to add a second meaning (as they do with so many other words) to reflect usage. To quote Kevin Sheehan, “if I’m at a restaurant and say ‘hey two Redskins just sat down behind you at the bar,’ what are you thinking? You are thinking ‘wow is it Kirk Cousins? Is it Josh Norman?’ No one is thinking 2 Native Americans are getting drinks.” As stated earlier it is really no longer a slur. Apparently with the majority of Native Americans it is unoffensive slang. Like the word “Honky,” most Anglos would find the word as slang and non-offensive. The data is clear at this point. But the argument is never about the data with this PCers. They have none to offer. “Clearly its a slur,” they say to you like you are out of your mind even though all the data suggests otherwise.

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