More on the Redskins Name


Since this struck such a chord on a weekend no less, I thought I would talk about it some more. I could be wrong, but this is why I think it is inevitable that we will eventually have to change the Redskins name.

1) It is difficult to argue that it is not racial offensive.  Even the logo isn’t particularly flattering with its depiction.  The only more racially insensitive logo in America is the laughing indian used in Cleveland.

2) The NCAA has taken the lead and is removing all native american names from its teams.  Lawsuits are pending in Kansas City, Atlanta, Cleveland, etc.  Because we have a precedent-centric legal system, there really only needs to be one court that breaks ranks to set off a possible chain reaction.

3) Once a critical mass of people find the name offensive, not only is it good PR to change the Redskins name, it is good business.  As I mostly jokingly referred to yesterday, a new name means new jerseys, hats, car flags, tail-gating tents, etc.  And admit it, as much as you want to hold out and dream of the Redskins name never dying, you aren’t going to stop being a fan of this team if they change their name.  You will protest.  You will whine.  You will wear your old Redskins jerseys to Fed Ex for awhile. But eventually you’ll want to wear the new colors or your jersey will wear out or you will just get over it or a new star will come to the team and you will buy a new jersey.  And soon, you’ll have the new tent, the new steak brands you use to tailgate, etc.

Like the confederate flag in the south, the Redskins logo is a tradition, but it is also a symbol of opression.  it will eventually go away.  Hop on board the train now, and it will feel better when it happens.

Anyway, my wife and I were batting around some silly ideas for new team names last night and I thought I’d share:

The Washington Federals- Many of you are probably too young to remember the USFL first hand.  But I was actually at the very first Federals game. How about an homage to the USFL?  Well, for one, the Federals lost their first 8 games, won only one of their first 11, and finished with a franchise record of 7-29.  But hey, at least they owner once referred to them as a “bunch of trained gerbils.”  How could you argue with that?

The Washington Generals- Again, those of you to young to remember the heyday of the Harlem Globetrotters may not remember the Generals.  But the Generals are the team that loses to the Globetrotters on a regular basis. Their record from 1953 to 1995 was 6-13,000 (estimated by Wikipedia).

The Washington Bullets- Hey, its not taken anymore.  And with the recent Supreme Court ruling overturning the DC handgun ban, it seems sort of appropriate.

The Washington Red Tapes- What is more associated with Washington than red tape?  And the best part is that we don’t lose our song:

Hail to the Red Tapes! Hail bureaucracy! This tape’s on the war path.  It covers old DC!

I’ll give some special prize to anyone who can clean that up a bit and maybe keep going into the “beat ‘em, swamp ‘em” section.

By the way, for those who are concerned about the lost tradition of the Redskins because of offensive issues, our very fight song has been altered once before because it was offensive.  For those who don’t know, these were the old lyrics:

Hail to the Redskins!

Hail Victory!

Braves on the Warpath!

Fight for old Dixie!

Run or pass and score — we want a lot more!

Scalp ‘em, swamp ‘em — We will take ‘em big score

Read ‘em, weep ‘em, touchdown – we want heap more

Fight on, Fight on — ‘Till you have won

Sons of Wash-ing-ton. Rah!, Rah!, Rah!

Talk about offensive!

Anyway, just some food for thought and hopefully some stuff that made you laugh and take it a tad less seriously.  I don’t know about you guys, but I’m a fan of the Washington football franchise, not the Redskins.  New name or not, I’m a fan for life.

-DW

Tags: Is The Redskins Name Offensive? Potential New Redskins Names Redskins

  • http://riggosrag.com/ Redskins Guy

    Bad enough that it might happen without you practically wishing it were so.   For shame! 

    I also don’t see how the logo is particularly offensive (no more so than any native american logo might be).  I agree with you about the laughing cleveland indian, and I can’t argue about the name “Redskin” being racially incensitive, but why is the logo worse than any of the others out there?

  • dwagner

    I’m not wishing it would happen, just making the appropriate mental adjustments for the inevitable.  And I guess trying to say what I don’t like about it aloud in an effort to come to terms with it.

    As for the logo, I think it has exagerated features in a very racially motivated way.  A very large nose with a borken or emphasized bridge, a sloped forehead, an unlikely skin tone in the real world.  It isn’t the picture of a native american.  It is the picture of 19th century white man’s view of native americans.  It is overly characterized and cartoony. 

    That said, while I’ve seldom been accused of being overly PC, I’m willing to take the label from those who think I’m reading too much into it.

    But I have to say, I’m increasingly uncomfortable defending the name to friends who aren’t Skins fans. For good reasons or wrong.  That’s how I feel.

    -DW

  • http://riggosrag.com/ Redskins Guy

    I guess I just don’t see anything wrong with the logo. I don’t see any discernable difference between it and the Florida State Seminoles depiction of a native american, which also isn’t a direct representation of an actual person (Why look! The person’s skin is pearly white; perhaps they are suggesting that this is some sort of subtle hint that Native Americans have become taken over by the white man!). If you look hard enough you can find a reason to be offended for just about anything.  I won’t argue the name but the modern day logo seems to be treated with dignity and great respect.  We don’t have a mascott for a good reason.  We don’t have silly cartoons or captions or a talking bubble next to the face.  It’s a symbol of pride and respect for the organization. 

    I guess I’d also have more sympathy if (1) it was a more mainstream representation of the native american population who was protesting instead of some tiny minority, and (2) I had never driven across route 50 through the midwest and New Mexico.  Every few miles you can see bugs-bunny era cartoon style Native Americans advertising “Indian Souveneers” and “cheap smokes” and “Injun Artifacts” and it would be considered the most offensive crap ever…if it wasn’t owned and run by Native Americans themselves.  I’m not saying that two wrongs make a right, but clearly a significant percentage of the population doesn’t mind the depiction if they’re using much worse for personal financial gain.

  • http://BloggingDirty Sean

    I am with all others that will stand against the political correct-ness that is spreading across the country. If you don’t like the logo or the name then find another team. There are 31 other choices. Don’t bow down to those non offensive jerks! Redskins forever!

  • Josh

    Here’s an interesting Sport’s Illustrated link on the subject (found it form wiki)
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/magazine/08/17/indian.wars030402/index.html

    I agree that if the name’s offensive….then it’s offensive, which is wrong, not to mention bad for business. It’s hard to tell, I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a Native American.

    But at the same time, you don’t name a sports team after a weak symbol. That is, any negative connotations with the word “Redskin” clearly aren’t intended in the name. I can’t imagine the original team owner (whoever that was) going, “I want to call my team the Redskins because they’re a bunch of wimpy cooky crazy people who were killed and humiliated – that’s what I’d like to use to represent my players.” Even if the word has negatvie connotations, I’d think that the team’s name gives it some positive connotations.

    As for name possibilities, I like the Reds, or something with “Red” in it.

    Knowing Dan Snyder, we just might end up with the Washington AT&T’s or Washington Starbuckses.

    How about The Knights – that’s kind of an untapped symbol for a football team.

    There are some more ideas if you check out minor league team listings.

  • http://landryhat davedallasfan

    wait, correct me if i’m wrong, but i always thought the redskin symbol was the same indian as the one on the back of the indian head nickel???? thus the circle around the indian head image????? i thought?????

  • http://landryhat davedallasfan

    piss on em boys, fight with everything you got, don’t let them take your redskin symbol away. it’s just another way a minority party is trying to control the majority. there’s a reason they’re the minority anyway. stand your ground redskin fans, remember there’s strength in #’s

  • Staubach

    Could always change the name to the “palefaces” or the “darkskins”. It is a little historically unflattering term.

    Some who use this type of mascot say they are honoring the native american. Not so sure, but it should follow the “Grandfather Law”. New teams try and use less racial verbiage in the names and let the Redskins name stand as it has been around for a long time. Worse case is just lose the “red” part ;-)

    Could not hurt to reach out to local native american tribes for dialogue to give your position on this issue. Heck, have a native american night at the stadium honoring notable native americans in history? 

  • Staubach

    It is called disarming your opponent :-)

  • http://riggosrag.com/ Redskins Guy

    That’s actually a really good idea Staubach. I don’t know why we don’t do more PR like that.  I don’t know if there’s any appeasing the people who are actually suing the Redskins, but I’d think that you could do something to help turn the tide of public relations while supporting some worthy causes all at the same time. 

  • Staubach

    Thanks RG. I actually understand both positions in these arguments. Maybe both sides could benefit from a compromise. Best solution always is try to heal wounds instead of making new ones.

    If you do change the name, how about the Washington Monuments? Sounds strong. Built to last.

    And maybe even use the Washington Monument itself as a logo. Cannot get any more manly then the cities phallic symbol displayed on a helmut. Pure testosterone ;-)

  • jeffxandra

    I’ve never been fond of the name, but assuming they could come up with a non-offensive name on the same subject matter (that sounds better than Native Americans, Original Inhabitants, or Indigenous Persons), why not go back to the <a href=”http://www.i-nflhelmet.com/washingtonredskins.html”>spear/arrowhead helmets</a>?

    Their version predates the Seminoles’ version and still looks pretty damn cool.

  • dwagner

    For those who have been asking, the Redskins became the Redskins after two failed seasons as the Boston Braves.  New coach (and native american) Lone Star Dietz renamed the team.

    The fact that the team was named by a Native American has often been used as an excuse for why the name is not offensive.  Though in 1932, many African Americans didn’t object to use of words like “darkie” so I don’t see this as an excuse.

    As for the discussion of whether the logo is the same as the “Indian Head” or “Buffalo” nickel, it is not exactly the same. One clearly inspired the other.  One will quickly note the braided hair, the “two feather head dress” and similar nose and facial structure. One will also note that the Redskins logo features a younger, less wrinkled face, raised cheek bones, and slight changes in the hair. I haven’t found any link to show that it was intended to be the same and these difference are unintentional.  But it is highly likely that the graphic designer who created the 1972 (to present with some interuptions) logo was staring at a nickel when he drew the thing.

    Anyway, right or wrong, that’s a bit more of the history and the logo.

    Oh, and Staubach, I really doubt we need the National Organization for Women after us if we change our logo to a giant phallus. :)

    -DW

  • Staubach

    LMAO dwagner! There’s an image for you.

    The other monuments were too tame. Who would be afraid of a helmut that had “Lincoln sitting down” down  on it

    But it would at least be PC :-)

  • LizKauai

    How about WASHINGTON REDS  ???

  • http://landryhat davedallasfan

    hell, no…..stay with the washington redskins. those bleedin heart sonsabithches can kiss all our asses. even we cowboy fans are behind you guys on this too. who the hell do these people think they are????? this is loyalty and passion for a football team, not a political arena. stay the hell out of football, and we’ll stay out of barnes and noble, and your local starbucks, assholes

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