The Washington Redskins have faced controversy for several years. There have been calls to change their name. Owner Dan Snyder has staked his claim on the issue. He refuses to even consider a name change for his team. The term 'redskin' itself is a racial slur. It's something that sports fans, football fans, in particular, overlook when they cheer for Washington or other sports organizations in the U.S.
"Redskin" is an outdated term that other sports brands have gotten rid of. At the college ranks and in high school, teams have changed their names. Even right here in Illinois, Naperville Central High School changed their name from Redskins to Redhawks. Washington, and the NFL as a whole, has a ton of money at their disposal - it doesn't seem far fetched that they could hire a new designer to rebrand their team.
One defense that doesn't hold a lot of water is that names like "Redskins" honor native Indians. It's absurd to think a racial slur honors anyone. It separates itself from other team names like warriors or chiefs. "Redskin" doesn't honor a tribe or an individual like other sports names.
Dan Snyder thinks the tradition of the franchise is another valid argument. He hides behind the history of the team and considers it a solid reason to keep the name. It's all well and good to be passionate about a sports team you own. But it doesn't justify using an outdated and racist term like "redskins." Why would Native Americans care if the team has won 5 championships? What difference does it make if the name has been around for 80 plus years? That doesn't mean Dan Snyder himself or his players and coaches are racist, but the organization has a bad image when officials refuse the change the name.
There's a bigger picture to this controversy and Dan Snyder either can't see it or he refuses to see it. It goes beyond the game of football, and it is deeper than the passion of the fans. It's about cultural stereotypes that exist. Native Americans could be considered "warlike" with all the logos and mascots in American sports. The Redskins name and logo add fuel to the fire. At the end of the day, a term like "redskin" is outdated and creates stereotypes native Indians have always faced.
The Cleveland Indians recently ditched their Chief Wahoo logo. So, that's a good step forward. Hopefully, more professional sports teams create the kind of change that kills the negative stereotypes about Native Americans. Hopefully, Snyder and other NFL officials truly consider a name change for the football team in the nation's capital.
Opponents of a name change may simply say, "It's just a name, what's the big deal?" First, if it's just a name, then what's wrong with changing it? If there's no emotional attachment, then why not change it? Second, why offend anyone with a term like "redskin?" Why keep negative stereotypes alive? That's the big deal. A name change wouldn't be that catastrophic to D.C. football. It's sad that a name like this keeps stereotypes alive in American culture. What we see on T.V. truly has an effect on our culture and our perspectives.