Washington franchise should change its name now

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This won’t be a universally popular opinion, but the time for caring about making everyone happy and/or pissing off the fewest number of people has ended.

As the NFL and its teams look for a way to transform words into actions, a simple, easy, and clear path to change for professional football would come from an immediate change to the name of the Washington franchise.

The team that is named for the nation’s capital, at a time when the nation’s capital has become one of the flash points for protest, should acknowledge that the franchise’s nickname is a textbook racial slur, that it genuinely offends enough Native Americans to make the name unacceptable, and that it should change. If it wasn’t already obvious, it should be given the reaction to the franchise’s failed effort to embrace #BlackoutTuesday.

If not in this moment, when will the name ever change? When owner Daniel Snyder sells the team to someone else? When he can barter a new name for a new stadium? When the league inevitably tells Snyder or his successor to do the right thing, possibly in exchange for a draft or a Super Bowl?

In this critical time of turning mere language into meaningful action, this is the opportunity for Snyder to show strength, unity, and sensitivity by acknowledging that the word is outdated, that it is racist, and that it should be abandoned. While it applies to a different race than the race that currently is screaming for equality and justice, racism is racism. Unfair treatment is unfair treatment. Native Americans continue to be marginalized by a word that offends too many of them.

How many is too many? One Native American genuinely offended by the phrase is too many. And it’s far more than one Native American who objects to the term, despite the efforts of the franchise to mischaracterize inherently flawed polls and other devices aimed at creating an impression that it’s OK to use the name, that it’s only a problem if an overwhelming majority of Native Americans object, and that the opinions expressed by “woke” media members who are trying to give voice to the Native Americans who are offended by the word should be disregarded as “virtue signaling.”

Fans of the franchise, who have somehow found a way to convince themselves that “Redskins” means only a football team and nothing more, will continue to loudly object and deflect, clumsily arguing that a change to the team’s nickname will force other franchises to follow suit, given that “Giants” offends large people and “Saints” offends Catholics and whatever else they’ll argue in order to avoid the fundamental question of whether repeated and regular use of the term “Redskins” is acceptable, especially when America is being pushed (perhaps against its will) toward ending systemic racism against all minority classes.

Again, racism is racism — whether practiced against African-Americans or Native Americans or any group that isn’t part of the white majority. For far too long, Snyder and his predecessors have ignored the simply reality that “Redskins” isn’t a universal term of honor but, at the very best, a term on which Native Americans are conflicted. So as the NFL gropes for a way to turn its word salads of statements into something real and meaningful, nothing would be more real and more meaningful than finally admitting in a loud, clear, and unambiguous voice that the term “Redskins” is wrong, and that it will immediately be abandoned for another name.

If the organization does anything less than that, any of its word or actions aimed at ending racism should be regarded as hollow, incomplete, and insincere.

62 responses to “Washington franchise should change its name now

  1. I think Washington Warriors has a niced ring to it. Could even keep the logo.

  2. This is how far the Washington football club has fallen. Native Americans never had an issue when they were winning Superbowls. Honestly I wouldn’t want to be associated with the trash we’ve gotten under Snyder the last 20 years either. Make that tightwad sell the team, he’s infuriated enough people.

  3. You can’t use “if only one is offended” as the threshold. You can find one person who believes anything.

  4. Oh and look, my profile name is that….I’m against changing the name. They have been called this team name for years, when they hear this word they think of an nfl team now, nothing else

  5. Washington went through changing a controversial team name once before and wound up with the “Wizards.” Let’s do better this time.

  6. I don’t totally disagree with you as my wife is Native American. But her opinion is one of indifference on this subject. It doesn’t offend her or anyone she knows from her tribe (Choctaw) or the local Tulalip tribe. The one thing she said that would be offensive is if they changed the name right now as she believes it would only be a reaction to the current issue rather than an act to change it because it’s the right thing to do. She’d much rather see it changed for it’s own merit rather than a reaction to what she just called “a much bigger issue than the name ‘Redskins'”. But that said, I think it does all tie together in the long run. But does that mean Cleveland’s baseball team should change as no one uses the term “Indian” anymore. Chief’s I think is fine as it’s not derogatory but if we’re going to examine one, we should examine all.

  7. Changing the name does nothing but change the name. That won’t end racism. The values, morals and integrity of an individual start and end in the home. It is the responsibility of the 2 adults who bring a child into the world to raise them as positive members of society and to help them reach their full human potential. Parent accountability. That’s how we end racism.

  8. I realize that the Washington Indigenous People of North America might be a lot to say, but it’s certainly not more difficult than what they have actually had to deal with for generations. The logo might be difficult as well.

  9. That would be an excellent, non harmful, peace gesture way for the NFL to not really have to do anything and score millions of points with the other half of the country. The people are out there asking for change, why not acknowledge their voices on this one issue.

  10. Seeing the Redskins post the black square on their social media was pretty funny. Funny as in sad and tone deaf.

  11. Change the name. The only people upset about changing it are the people with their heads stuck in the sand. Time to get over it.

  12. > They have been called this team name for years

    Yeah, and the Houston Oilers were the Oilers before they weren’t. Now “Oilers” sounds weird. And the Eagles wore Kelly green uniforms forever, and now they don’t for the last 20. And the Browns became the Ravens before the new Browns came back to Cleveland, and the name sounded weird before it didn’t. And the Washinton Wizards were the Bullets and the Washington Nationals were the Expos…

    Football fans who clutch their pearls and faint at the thought of a team changing their name really confuse me. Could someone explain to me why people react this way?

  13. How in the world is this team name getting through the mire. The only time I’ve ever agreed with AOC on anything.

  14. People will defend anything to maintain the status quo. Why are people so triggered by any proposed idea of change?

  15. The standard I use is: “would I ever call a native north American a redskin to his/her face” The answer is a hard no. Change the name.

  16. Thank you, yes. It’s long past time to end racist branding, naming, and the like. This Washington NFL franchise must change.

  17. It’s 2020 for cryin’ out loud – unfathomable that the league and the team think this name is A-OK.

  18. Thank you, Florio. As for expected blowback from off-put white guys who swear they are done with the NFL over this, don’t let the door smack you in the butt on the way out.

    Again, thank you, Florio.

  19. I grew up with Native Americans, If you cant use the name with getting punched there is something wrong with it.

  20. Would you call a Native American “Chief” to his/her face?

    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    The standard I use is: “would I ever call a native north American a redskin to his/her face” The answer is a hard no. Change the name.

  21. It’s clearly a racist term and for an NFL team to be holding onto it in 2020 is ridiculous. And no, Native Americans do not have a unified opinion on it, but there is no 100% opinion on anything.

    I think this is about as well-put as it can get:

    I am always right, right? says:
    June 3, 2020 at 7:48 am

    The standard I use is: “would I ever call a native north American a redskin to his/her face” The answer is a hard no. Change the name.

  22. Everyone knows the term is wrong – dead stop. I don’t care if you value the “tradition” and you think that the name was made to honor “Native Americans” The word and name is wron- If you defend it, you are part of the problem.

  23. Washington Redfins (it’s a type of Shark)

    You can still even keep the fight song, just change a few lines.

    Hail to the REDFINS!
    Hail to VICTORY!
    Blood in the water
    CHUM for old D.C.

  24. Thank you Mr. Florio for 41 years now I’ve grown up thinking everyone was okay with being racist to Native Americans… My children and their children should be able to grow up without this slur being okay because a few people have been rooting for a team!!!

  25. I get that the name means a great deal to the team’s fans. Who wouldn’t be upset if one’s favorite team suddenly changed a name it had been using to for 80 years? But in this case, the origins of this name are steeped in a kind of racism that, until recent times, was far too easy to sweep under the rug. To be sure, it’s a tough spot for both the team and its fans. But this situation is going to continue to escalate, and will abate only when Dan Snyder realizes that changing the name is the only plausible thing to do.

  26. You can’t use “if only one is offended” as the threshold. You can find one person who believes anything.

    That’s true, because the threshold should be “don’t name sports teams after ethnic slurs.”

  27. Whether some Native Americans are not offended by the name is not the point. Enough are to warrant the change of this name. The name of the franchise is a skin color and it is a poor 20th century choice. Let it go – it will be all right. These are people,not a mascot. Even Land O’ Lakes got rid of the Native American girl on their packaging.

  28. theprovoker says:
    June 3, 2020 at 9:21 am
    Let their season ticket holders decide.
    =======================

    In what world would this make sense.

  29. I’m from the area, have loved the team my whole life, and detested the Cowboys. But from a spiritual perspective, don’t want to cause just/righteous offense to any significant number of people, regardless of whether it is 20% or whatever number. Would still love to have a name associated with Native Americans, such as The Tribe, which is also respectfully tied to their culture. The logo is also respectful, and was originally the concept of a Native American, so let’s keep it.

  30. I’m actually very impressed with the number of people who say change it. I’ve been saying that for 21 years, and I’ve been a fan my whole life.

    There’s no reason not to, but you will find Snyder is playing owner with his favorite toy from his childhood. Inclusivity and progress are not his strong suit.

  31. Along the same lines of my earlier comment, the team could have in small caps on their jersey shoulders, ”A.T.N.” for American Tribal Nations. Then our ties to Native American culture would be an ongoing, respectful and deeply authentic one.

  32. It’s long past time for the racist name to be changed. I hope the protestors will go after Snyder and make him either sell the team or change the name. “Redskins” is an embarrassment and blatant bigotry.

  33. hawkwind8 says:
    June 3, 2020 at 12:01 pm
    The Washington Warriors have never won a Superbowl.
    ——————————————–
    Neither have the Redskins in nearly 30 years.

  34. The one thing she said that would be offensive is if they changed the name right now as she believes it would only be a reaction to the current issue rather than an act to change it because it’s the right thing to do.

    ————-

    Sometimes reaction change is why things get better…finally. It is why people protest in the first place…for change. How is change bad when it is a reaction to something big like this?

    I too have a Native American wife in the Seattle area and she would never say that. Change for good is change for good no matter what the catalyst is.

    Some change could never happen without big events like this.

  35. Dan Snyder changes the Name and the first response from the media will be “Took you long enough” It’s too late no one will be happy on either side

  36. Like Dan Snyder said….”The Name aint changing!” When will everybody get this through their heads!!!….Deal with it!!!

  37. “The Washington Snyders … hey, it worked for the Browns.”

    That would be really really funny…

  38. The hypocrisy on here is just amazing…..
    NOT EVERYONE will be happy no matter what is done…. if making EVERYONE HAPPY is the goal for change, good luck with that….

  39. I’m an Eagles fan and think the whole push to change the name is ridiculous. Stop with the “dictionary defined slur” nonsense. In the real world no one uses it as a slur. I’ve never met a single person who is offended by it. What they are offended by is the state of their franchise.

  40. The same people who want everyone to know that kneeling wasn’t *meant* as disrespectful to the country or veterans refuse to grant the same nuance to the team that the name Redskins isn’t in any way *meant* as a slur, but rather a symbol of strength, pride and teamwork

  41. Wasn’t there a suggestion back in the late 70’s or early 80’s to change the team name to the “Buckskins”?

  42. I agree Warriors is a good name, but change the logo. I would use the Ultimate Warrior’s Face Logo from WWE.

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