May 29, 2014; Ashburn, VA, USA; Washington Redskins players helmets rest on the field during organized team activities at Redskins Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The Redskins don’t use their name as a racial slur

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith recently stated he thinks the term Redskins is a name that reflects racial insensitivity.  Smith has joined others in publicly denouncing the name Redskins and calling for the Washington football team to change its name because it’s considered by some to be a racial slur.  Smith said:

“I have conveyed my thoughts on this issue both to Roger and to the team.  They understand our position and I believe that those conversations are most effective when they can remain private. As I have stated publicly, though, I do not believe anyone should inflict pain, embarrass or insult, especially given the racial insensitivity of the term ‘Redskin.’ As you know, I grew up here and like all Washingtonians I became a fan of this team. The beauty of sports and of the Washington football franchise is that it will always have the ability to bring this community together, regardless of what decision is made about the team name.”

And while I don’t dispute that some may indeed use the term Redskin as a racial slur, I will continue to state the opinion that the Washington Redskins are not using the term as a racial slur.  Again, I ask the question, why would the Redskins organization call their team a name it wasn’t proud of?

This is a team that seeks to make a profit by selling merchandise with the name “Redskins” emblazoned on it.  It wouldn’t make much sense to sell merchandise that you knew was definitely offensive to people.  And yet thousands of fans don’t seem to care, as the Redskins merchandise sales have ranked in the top ten of the league the past few seasons.

The popularity of quarterback Robert Griffin III might have a lot to do with that, but still the name Redskins isn’t stopping people from buying his jersey.  So even though I think Redskins owner Dan Snyder should still change the name because this fight is a constant distraction to the team.  I don’t think the Redskins are trying to offend anyone in the use of the name.


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  • trinity

    Why is it that the redskins organization and their fans seem so clueless? You guys are making fools of yourselves and it’s embarrassing to watch. What do you mean “they don’t use it as a racial slur”? Do you not realize how idiotic that sounds? Try to follow… does not matter what they intend to use it as, it only matters that it is a racial slur…..were you able to understand that? Ugh.

    • Maurice Barksdale

      Not everyone considers the word Redskin to be a racial slur, including some Native Americans. Would you say Native Americans who feel this way are clueless? Also, some words actually have multiple meanings, and are used in multiple ways. For example, some people use the word “bad” to mean good. Who’s to say those people are wrong?

      No one person or group of people owns a language and can dictate upon others how the words of the language can be used and interpreted. So just because the word Redskin means something bad to you, doesn’t mean the word can’t mean something good to that football team and many of it’s fans.

      And it’s like I asked before, do you really believe the Washington Redskins are intentionally trying to offend you or slur anyone by using the word Redskin? I’ve said it before, you wouldn’t name your team after something you don’t admire would you?

      • trinity

        And I’m saying that you’re missing the point entirely. Intent, admiration for the name, is completely irrelevant. A number of native Americans find it offensive. Simply because it is indeed a racial slur. Intent and well meaning intentions very simply do not change that fact that it is absolutely a racial slur. To argue otherwise is insane to me, and it’s making the organization and its fans look silly and not particularly bright.

        • Maurice Barksdale

          Who’s the one throwing around slurs here trinity? You are. You’ve stated I’m clueless, a fool, idiotic, insane, silly, and not particularly bright. For someone arguing about how the Redskins organization is offending others, you can’t seem to debate this issue without giving offense.

          But hey, you can use the English language however you choose to, just like Dan Snyder can as well. But maybe if some people could give a logical and compelling argument against the use of the name without resorting to telling fans and Snyder how idiotic and silly they are, then maybe he just might listen.

          • trinity

            Once again you’re leaving out a crucial fact. And that is the fact that people have already pleaded with Snyder and the organization in a diplomatic way, and you are wrong, because in fact he did not listen at all. Maybe it takes someone pointing out what an embarrassment the organization has made this. Maybe they need to hear that they appear thick, out of touch, insensitive, and lacking common sense. Maybe the fan base needs to hear that they lack the depth to look past a football game to a bigger, more important picture. But who knows if that is possible. Because it appears that the more it’s explained to redskins nation, the less they seem to understand it, and I find that sad.

          • Maurice Barksdale

            And a crucial fact you’re leaving out trinity is that you can’t win a debate by insulting your opponent. That tact only makes them even more resolute in their beliefs. People can’t and won’t be forced into changing their minds, sometimes only the passage of time can do that.

            And just for the record, I’ve been stating for nearly two years that Snyder should change the name. But not because it’s a slur, but because it’s a major distraction for the team, and it will only continue to get bigger.

            And I understand some of the points that you’re making, but they aren’t as definitive as you think they are. If they were, the NFL would have moved to have Snyder change the name by now. But the fact that they haven’t is because they know that most NFL fans and not only Redskins fans are on their side in this issue.

            There is no sweeping outrage, there is no overwhelming sentiment from the masses to change the name, and no threats from corporate sponsors to cut off funds. And until there is, a change won’t be made.

            All you can do is continue to hammer away at the argument, and hope that the tide will shift at some point, and maybe it will. But one thing is for certain, no one is going to bully or shame Dan Snyder into doing anything.

            The more politicians call out his name, the more he will dig in his heels on this issue. And politicians don’t have enough credibility on their own issues these days to sway the opinion of the average Joe when it comes to what they should believe about their entertainment choices.

  • SactoSteve

    “Hail to the Warriors. Hail victory. Braves on the warpath. Fight for old D.C.” There, wasn’t that easy? You don’t even have to change the fight song or logo.

    BTW, some of you may recall that the fight song used to be “Fight for old Dixie.” That was changed also.

    • SactoSteve

      Maurice, a question. Would you have been happy with “Fight for old Dixie”?

      • RetLaEnvEnp

        “Hail victory” in German is “Seig Heil”. Sing the song in German to show political correctness.

        • SactoSteve

          So now the song is wrong also? Change the team name to Warriors and move on. There’s even a limit to p.c.

          • Maurice Barksdale

            I would be for changing it to Warriors, but there’s already a Warriors in the NBA. You want something original.

      • Maurice Barksdale

        I don’t think Dixie would apply geographically any more for one thing, as there are other teams in the so-called Dixie region such as the Carolina Panthers, Tennessee Titans, and the Atlanta Falcons. So it doesn’t really make much sense any more from that perspective. And from a racially offensive perspective, anything glorifying the confederacy isn’t worth holding on to, so they were right to change it.

  • David Dorman

    Where have all of you offended people been in the past 80 years of this teams existence? I know the only reason people are even talking about this is because some politicians are trying to make it an issue and distract us from all of the major concerning issues right now. Do yourselves a favor and stop just doing what you are told or hear, do some research of your own on both sides and make up your mind based off an educated opinion. The Smithsonian has cited a study showing the name not to be a slur and the NFL just came out with a statement saying the same thing.

    • Maurice Barksdale

      Some people don’t want the truth. They just want to argue about something. Some of these politicians are extremely intelligent, but that doesn’t stop them from putting on the blinders and just focusing in the sensational aspects of this issue. Anything that has to do with racism is going to keep people talking about it. But I think most people understand that this issue doesn’t register nearly as high with some as the Donald Sterling issue, no matter how hard some try to make it.

  • Brian Willis

    If you ask 100 people on the street, in Los Angeles what a Redskin is, they will either not know what you are talking about, or tell you it’s a football team in Washington.