The racism scandal surrounding Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has brought more focus on the Washington Redskins nickname. There is a sentiment that with racism being a hot button issue that this controversy may push the NFL and owner Daniel Snyder to make a move in changing the Redskins name.
The nickname “Redskins” is still considered to be a racial slur by many people, and some have inferred that by continuing to use the name that Daniel Snyder is promoting bigotry. But I’ll ask the question again, why would Snyder call his team Redskins if he meant it as a tool to disrespect Native Americans?
You don’t call your team something that you’re not proud of, so I don’t think continuing to use the name indicates any bigotry on the part of Snyder. However, I have also pointed out that in my opinion keeping the name isn’t worth all of the controversy and negativity that surrounds it. Mainly because it’s a constant distraction.
Former Redskins linebacker London Fletcher recently stated on profootbaltalk.com that he became uneasy about the name, and suggested that Snyder speak to Native Americans to understand how they feel about the name. Snyder recently started an Original Americans Foundation to help address issues that plague the Native American community.
However, this is seen by some critics as a diversion to keep from addressing the issue of the name being viewed as a racial slur. But I think the Redskins name issue and the Donald Sterling issue are two separate things. Sterling’s racism was overwhelmingly offensive to the majority of all fans, but it’s not quite as clear with the Redskins name.
Some Native Americans don’t find the name offensive, and I think most fans of the team don’t either. So the NFL and the Redskins aren’t nearly as compelled to make as drastic a move as the NBA made with Donald Sterling. However, regardless of how many foundations Snyder creates, this issue will continue to be a distraction for the team.