I’m a Washington Redskins Fan and I Think They Should Change the Name [OPINION]
I was born outside Washington, DC in Alexandria, Virginia. You could throw a rock and hit the DC border. I started rooting for the Washington Redskins as soon as I understood what football was.
When I moved to Indiana for business, I continued to be a Washington Redskins fan. I rooted for the Indianapolis Colts, but the 'Skins were my team. Then, when I moved to South Dakota, the same thing. I rooted for the Minnesota Vikings, except when the played the Redskins.
I own Redskins' shirts, hats, jackets, pennants, and more. I love the team.
And I would have no problem if they changed the name. Actually, I think they SHOULD change the name.
Let me explain. I root for the Redskins because they are my hometown team. It was the team I grew up rooting for. I rooted for them because they were the WASHINGTON Redskins, not the Washington REDSKINS. I could care less about what comes after the word Washington, as long as that's where it starts.
When the Washington BULLETS became the Washington WIZARDS, there were complaints. Mostly because the name "Wizards" is lame, but they didn't lose fans. They didn't lose money. People complained about tradition and such, but in the end, they were still the WASHINGTON Wizards.
Now, before we get to the elephant in the room, let me say this: I'm a white guy. I am as white as you can get. Middle-age, middle-class, married with children white guy. I'm also not an SJW (Social Justice Warrior). I voted for Ronald Reagan.
The name is "Redskins" is offensive. Plain and simple. If you look up the word "Redskin" in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary it leads with "Usually Offensive." I'm not going to get into semantics about is it offensive or racist (by the way, it's both).
Now, there will be arguments that the name was originally a postive reference. I'm not buying that.
George Preston Marshall was the "founder" of the football team and he was the most racist owner in football. The Redskins were the last team to integrate. The league began integratingin 1946. He didn't sign a black player until 1962. And that wasn't until the Interior Secretary Stewart Udall and Attorney Generay Robert F. Kennedy threatened to revoke the lease on their stadium.
Sort of ironic that the Redskins later stadium would be named... you guessed it... RFK Stadium.
So, the idea of a racist using a racist term to refer to his team comes from the fact that he probably didn't SEE it as racist (racists often don't).
And besides, things change.
At one point it was acceptable to refer to African-Americans as "negroes" - or at least whites thought it was OK. But what if we had a football team called the Pittsburgh Negroes. Do you think it would still exist?
What about the Kansas City Jews? Or the Arizona Wetbacks? Or the San Francsico Slopes? The Dallas Spics? Tennessee Crackers? Shall I go on? None of those would be deemed acceptable.
So why should "Redskins be any different? Just because a majority of "whites" don't find it offensive?
Now, I know people are going to point to a poll by the Washington Post that said that 9 out of 10 Native Americans don't find the name offensive. I'm calling BS on that one.
The poll was horribly flawed. First off the sample size was 504 people. There are approximately 5.4 million Native Americans in the United States. That's a sample size of 0.009%. Any statistician worth their salt would that is NOT a reflective sample size.
And it gets worse. The sample size consisted of those who "self-identify" as Native American. That means the people they talked to (over the phone) said they were Native American. My wife, who is about 1/25th Cherokee could technically identify as Native American, but she's as white as I am.
I could identify as wookie, that doesn't make it so.
So there is no way of really knowing if the person they were asking was actually Native American beyond accepting their word. What they should have done is conduct the poll on a Native American reservation. Guess what, there are a few of them in this country.
So you have a sample size that is too small, and is very, very flawed. So, let's just throw that poll out - though Dan Snyder, the Redskins organization and the NFL love to roll it out whenever there are questions about the name.
Here's the bottom line. If you don't think the name "Redskins" is offensive, I challenge you to head out to a reservation, stand in the middle of a crowd of Native Americans and call them "Redskins." Let's see what happens and then tell me if it's offensive.
Will the name change? No. No chance. In the end it all comes down to the Benjamins. And Dan Snyder and the NFL aren't going to change that name, ever.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Results Radio, Townsquare Media, its staff, contributors, affiliates or advertisers.