Editorial: The Washington Redskins Need to Change Their Name

Katherine Clark, Copy Editor

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The NFL Washington Redskins must change their name.

While many find the Washington Redskins’ logo and name racist, this topic of conversation is one that NFL lovers avoid.

Being such a controversial discussion all across the nation, many views on the name argue as to why it should be changed. Finding support from senators, President Barack Obama, the civil rights movement, and tribal organizations, those that oppose the name have long demanded they change it.

The word “Redskin,” is very much racist. According to Princeton graduate and journalist for the Washington Post, Ian Shapira said, “Native American activists who consider it a slur and those who insist that the name of Washington’s football team honors Indians rather than disparages them.” Dating back to the 18th century, the word comes as it sounds, literally meaning “a person with red skin,” also referring to Native Americans.

Acting towards the controversy hand on, protestors have shown their voice at tailgates and rallies. Representative Betty McCollum said at a protest, “we are here to tell the NFL there is no honor in a racial slur.” McCollum says that the pain of this brutal and shameful history is still with us, and that while many find the protests unnecessary and out of hand, the rallies have gotten their voice heard across the nation.

Declaring the Redskins’ name “an insult, a slur, no matter how benign the present-day intent,” NBC sportscaster Bob Costas made a public announcement on “Sunday Night Football” talking down on the team name. “Ask yourself what the equivalent would be if directed towards African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, or any other ethnic group. When considered that way, ‘Redskins’ can’t possibly honor a heritage or noble character trait, nor can it possibly be considered a neutral term,” says Costas.

Telling USA Today he will never change the name, Daniel Snyder, the team owner, wrote an emotional letter back in 2013, “I hope such individuals try to respect what the name means, not only for all of us in the extended Washington Redskins family, but among Native Americans too.

According to CBS Sports, it was found that if the Redskins do elect to change the name, it will have to be of their own volition. CBS Sports further said, “the Supreme Court recently ruled that the trademark case against the Redskins — which would have stripped them of the trademark due to ‘Redskins’ being a disparaging term — was unconstitutional.”

TIME Magazine wrote in an article regarding the NFL’s promotion for racial slur, “if your team name requires a landmark court order protecting racist hate speech, then it is a signal you should change your team’s name.” Even after the case made its way to the Supreme Court, Snyder declares he is thrilled over the response to the ruling.

While critics do argue that the racist word is somewhat offensive, many will say it cannot be perceived by its definition but only how you chose to receive the word.

If you hope to see a change in the name, sign the It’s Time to Change the Name petition vowing to change the name of the Washington Redskins with a total of 10,000 signatures. The organization will send the petition to team owner, Daniel Snyder, once the goal has been reached.

Having no plan on changing their team name whatsoever, this long and controversial debate is bound to end no time soon.

Washington Redskins helmet is worn by team quarterback, Kevin Hogan. Showing off the Redskins logo, team owner Daniel Snyder went to the Supreme Court on June 19, 2017, for complaints about the racist logo and name. (Keith Allison /CC BY-SA 2.0)