Football’s Shameful Name

Football's Shameful Name

“Redskins General Manager Bruce Allen said Thursday that the team has no plans to change its name despite ongoing controversy and a recent spike in debate about whether it is offensive to Native Americans.

Speaking to reporters in Richmond after the groundbreaking ceremony for the team’s new training camp site, Allen said the Redskins do not see any reason to change the name.

‘We’re not a new franchise. We’re 81 years old. … There’s nothing that we feel is offensive, and we’re proud of our history,’ Allen said, according to 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen.”

— “Bruce Allen: No plans to change Redskins’ name,” Mike Jones, Washington Post blog


“The Redskins were founded and owned for 37 years by George Preston Marshall, a virulent racist and anti-semite who initiated the NFL’s gentleman’s agreement to not hire black players, and made the Redskins the last team to integrate only after being threatened by the federal government.”

— “The Redskins Really, Really Want You To Know Their Team Name Is About Pride,” Barry Petchesky, Deadspin


“Simply put, it’s not OK to rally behind a racial slur like ‘redskin.’ It’s not okay to depict an entire group of people (outside of the confines of humor or satire) as a literal cartoon, morphing them into your unfounded conceptions of a savage race prepared to take your scalp. ….

There are plenty of instances throughout the history of humanity where history has been left behind, rather than being saved, because it’s not consistent for what we should strive for as a society. Likewise, as a society, we should strive for something greater than needing to root for logos with generalizing, untrue, racist roots.”

 — “Native American Logos and Monikers Need to Finally Be Removed From Sports,” Zach Stoloff,

“If RGIII scored the winning touc’down in Super Bowl XLVIII wearing burgundy and gold with a “W’ on his helmet instead of the Redskins, would it matter then? Of course not, we have a Super Bowl parade to get ready for.”

–“4 Reasons a Redskins Name Change Should Not Bother You,” Kevin Ewoldt,


“‘I don’t believe anyone begins using any of these mascots with evil in their heart,’ said Lee Hester, an Indian studies professor at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma and a member of the Choctaw Nation. ‘But I think if they really understood, they would change their minds.’ Many other panelists echoed that theme, with several of them saying ‘Try putting yourself in our shoes.’

That sentiment loomed particularly large after the comments of Manley Begay, senior lecturer in the American Indian Studies Program at the University of Arizona and a member of the Navajo Nation. ‘I’ve been called a dirty redskin and a stinking red n—–,’ he said. ‘So believe me when I say those words are still very hurtful, including when you see them being celebrated in a sports context.’

Once you hear something like that, a team name or a logo seems pretty insignificant by comparison.’

— “Native Americans speak on sports imagery,” Paul Lukas,


“… the better this team gets and the closer they come to the Super Bowl, the more this name goes from a quietly uttered embarrassment to a full blown national conversation. Do you think the NFL and Roger Goodell, on top of answering questions about concussions, lawsuits and the dwindling number of black coaches, want to talk about anti-Native racism?

Even if Dan Snyder doesn’t want it to happen, it’s going to happen. As former Redskin Tre Johnson said, ‘It’s an ethnically insensitive moniker that offends an entire race of displaced people. That should be reason enough to change it.’”

— “Redskins: The Clock Is Now Ticking on Changing the Name,” Dave Zirin, The Nation blog


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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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