I usually cast a jaundiced eye at efforts to change the name of sports teams that refer to Native Americans. After all, I reason, fans love their teams, so there can hardly be anything demeaning in what they call them. I do understand tribal sensitivities in regard to mascots–misusing tribal symbols such as eagle feathers and perpetuating stereotypes–but I salute the Seminole Nation,for example, in affirming the dignified reference to their tribe by Florida State.
But Washington “Redskins”? Yeah, that’s pretty racial and hard to justify. Change is going to come eventually. So, if the name of the football team that represents our nation’s capital is going to change, what should it be? I am looking for suggestions both serious and humorous.
Never mind that the team is NOT considering a name change:
Washington Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said Thursday the team isn’t considering a new nickname, adding that it’s “ludicrous” to suggest that the franchise is trying to upset Native Americans.
“There’s nothing that we feel is offensive,” Allen said. “And we’re proud of our history.”
Opposition to “Redskins” has gained momentum following last week’s symposium at the Smithsonian that was heavily critical of the use of the word, citing its history as an offensive term. Local columnists and commentators have called for the team to change its name in recent days.
The Redskins have responded with website postings featuring interviews with officials from the 70 high schools they say still called themselves “Redskins.”