It’s not often that politics and football overlap, but this is one of those times. The Washington Redskins were born the Boston Braves, and they may be on the verge of a name change once again.
For the past 70-something years or so they have been the Redskins and everything’s been fine, so what’s changed?
Well, given the media’s scrutinization of controversial topics such as this, it has definitely made political correctness a necessity for anyone and anything in the nation’s spotlight. The issue with Washington’s mascot has come up before and gone away, but now it looks like it’s come to a major tipping point.
Washington, D.C. city councilman Daniel Grosso is reportedly pushing to change the name to “Redtails” (per The Washington Post). He referred to the current name as “derogatory” and “racist.”
If you strip away all the football stuff, the word “redskin” can be definitely be construed as a racial slur, but that’s not what it was meant to be when the team made that its name.
There are a couple of theories as to why they were named the Redskins, but the most popular and likely reason is because of their head coach at the time, William “Lone Star” Dietz, who was of Native American descent.
While the origin of the name’s meaning may never be known, we do know what it’s become. Yes, the term “redskin” is derogatory when used directly toward someone, but what it was is not what it's used for today.
Regardless of how a large majority of the fans feel, there is still a chance we could see the Washington Redtails take the field in our lifetime.
Would changing the name really be the worst thing in the world? No, probably not. But for many fans, the Redskins are more than just a team. They are a representation of where they are from or even their childhood; we all know how people and family members bond over sports, especially football.
The Redskins are one of the most storied, longest-tenured franchises in the history of sports, and it would be a shame to see them change their name, although it is a completely understandable reason.
Personally, I am part Cherokee and I have no problem with the name. That being said, I am but one person. The views of the Native Americans who have an issue with Washington’s mascot are entirely understandable. They see the word “redskin” as equal with any other racial slur for any other race or religious practice, and they are right.
But, the context in which the word “redskin” is used in this instance is not a derogatory term at all. It is a symbol of honor of one of the team’s first coaches, and a great man in his own right.
Now, I’m not going to go deep into the politics of this issue because I’d barely have a leg to stand on, but the bottom line is this: changing the name to the Redtails wouldn’t be as bad as many fans may think.
In fact, it would probably be toughest on the big wigs of the organization, largely because of the mass amount of merchandise and other Redskins-branded things that has cost millions upon millions to produce.
There is a strong case to be made for a name change, but fret not, Washington. According to Ben Nuckols (AP), a poll by the Associated Press showed that 79 percent of Americans are just fine with the Redskins mascot.
The poll also showed that at least half of those in favor changing the name were Cowboys fans. Ironic, huh?
Regardless, there is a resounding answer amongst Americans when it comes to deciding whether or not to keep the name, and that is answer is yes. It looks like the Redskins will remain the Redskins for now.